Friday, December 24, 2010

Some say 37th Street has less sparkle

Updated: Thursday, 23 Dec 2010, 10:47 PM CST
Published : Thursday, 23 Dec 2010, 9:44 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) - A decades old holiday tradition is still going in Austin although some say not as strong as in years past.?? But those who put on the the 37th Street Lighting just off Guadalupe Street say despite the dimmer display the crowds are bigger than last year.

Without the Zilker Park Trail of Lights this year families searched other places in Austin to find that Christmas spirit.
That brought many to 37th Street but they got a different view than in years in past.
For the last 20 years, people say it's been magical on 37th Street.

"Every year grandparents would come to town and we'd come down 37th Street," said resident Will Hale.

Hale has lived on the street for the last year and now lights up his bungalow style home similar to what he saw when he was a kid.

"It is definitely a lot of work," said Hale.

But some long time residents have grown tired of the tradition, some key players in the annual lighting have moved off the street, some homes became rentals and some are now vacant.?

All factors that make the street a little less festive than in years past.

"it's changed a lot for sure.? It's definitely fewer lights I think and definitely the neighborhood has changed, said visitor Eric Mischke.?

Mischke and his family came from Cedar Park to see the lights.

"Toned down for sure--more traditional now," he said.

There are fewer political messages, fewer backyard displays and some say a lot less Austin funk.

"it's a good tradition we want our kids to grow up having that some? funky weirdness from Austin," said visitor Keri Stern.

Ginger Boreing started renting in the neighborhood earlier this year.? She's part of a core group trying to keep the lights going.

"I? think hopefully when more people move in and more of us? participating it will get back to where it once was," said Boreing.

As much as we can count on Christmas to come--we can count on change to come.? This neighborhood tradition may be different, but many are hopeful it will continue.??

"I don't think it will be like it used to be but as long as there's a handful of people to keep it going--it'll do well," said Hale.

One problem that many of the neighbors experienced in the past were long lines of traffic.? Those lines still back up onto Guadalupe Street as people turn onto 37th Street.
Despite the fewer lights to see many we spoke with say 37th Street is still worth a visit.

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