The man who promised Austin a 2012 Trail of Lights says he will deliver.
Local running shoe store owner Paul Carrozza, through his RunTex Foundation, tells KUT News that he has put together the pieces of a $1.2 million dollar financing package. "We've raised enough to make it happen," says Carrozza. He says grocery chain H-E-B made the biggest commitment, followed by Dell, Samsung, Seton, and Vista Equity Partners. More sponsors are in the works.
"I felt strongly that we should keep it free to the public, and keep it free to the taxpayer, and that the community would support it through corporate underwriting, business sponsorships, and individual giving."
"It's absolutely a team effort," Carrozza says of the Trail's return. He credits the City Council and Mayor Lee Leffingwell in helping bring back the event they killed off for budget reasons four years ago.
2008 was the last year the Trail of Lights was held in its entirety. Dramatically scaled down versions have been held since. The new Trail of Lights will attempt to faithfully recreate the popular holiday event, including its 43 individual scenes.
Organizers are planning additional activities, including "elf night" and an attempt to set a world "caroling" record with 15,000 singers.
The Trail of Lights will run from December 16 to 23, in Austin's Zilker Park.
Carrozza says he's planning to bring back the event year-after-year.