AUSTIN, Texas - The streets of Downtown Austin were filled with holiday joy on Saturday evening during the Downtown Austin Alliance's 29th annual Tree Lighting, Sing-Along and Stroll.
Thousands gathered at the State Capitol singing Christmas carols while waiting for the official countdown for the tree lighting, surrounded by family and friends.
"Feels like a big family, and we are all together, and we can mix all kind of different people and to cover all kind of different and nice things so it's real nice," said Austin resident Gabriel Brascher.
Brascher and his family were among the first people to take part in this year's event, and like many others, this was their first time at the event.
"It's our first Christmas here in Austin and it's very important for us to be here," Brascher said.
"I think it is really great that they are out here doing that especially cause if it was colder, I don't know if as many people would come out," said Austin resident Isaak Cuevas.
Austin-area vendors with plenty of gift options and holiday entertainment filled Congress Avenue between 9th and 11th streets on Saturday from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.
"So, I’m finding a lot of really cool and unique items like that jacket store down there, they quilted all like different materials and different jackets all together which I found really cool," said Cuevas.
"That's great to help the local vendors and also get something unique that we can find only here," said Brascher.
The event also featured photos with Santa food trucks and performances, a memorable experience for those in attendance and the small businesses selling their wares.
"There is just a wonderful sense of community and support, so it is just really really fun to be a part of. This is the first time that I have participated in this market," said Danielle Nichols, owner of Lovela and Company