By Holli Fourniquet
The holidays are here, and Tyler is alive with holiday shoppers and the sights and sounds of Christmas. One of our family’s favorite traditions is driving around looking at Christmas lights in the neighborhoods. Not only is it a fun little drive around town, but there is a lot of holiday spirit to be found in Tyler.
For the past couple of years, in the spirit of this tradition, Visit Tyler has been inviting homeowners in the Azalea District to join them in celebrating the season by lighting up their homes for Christmas in an event they’re calling: The Azalea District Trail of Lights.
You’ve seen the beautiful colors of the Azalea District during spring; now see the Azalea District come to life with color once again but this time during the holiday season! The historic homes are decorated for the season with lights and decorations. This is a self-driving or walking tour through the Azalea District neighborhood.
“Though raised in Tyler as a teenager, I had forgotten how stunning some of the homes in the Azalea District are,” Treva Wilcox said. “We loved seeing the beautiful homes, and the Christmas lights were just the cherry on top!”
There are several streets in the Azalea District that are just beautiful, but you’ll want to make a special visit to Dory’s Garden located at the corner of Rusk and Augusta. Here you’ll find a holiday photo spot that is perfect for a family Christmas photo.
The event is completely dependent on homeowners’ participation, and each year the event continues to grow. Homeowners are invited to compete with one another for the chance to win one of three prize baskets valued at over $700 each.
The winners of this year’s contest are:
-Dabney Richey for “Most Spectacular” located on Rudman Road
-Ashley Welling for “Best Reason for the Season” located on Mockingbird Lane
-The Florence Family for “Best DIY” located on S. Chilton
There will also be a People’s Choice award given at the end of the season. Join the “Azalea District Trail of Lights Facebook group to vote for your favorite home and to see photos posted by members of the group.
“Each year the homeowners get a little more competitive,” Susan Travis, Visit Tyler’s Vice President of Tourism said. “It’s just a friendly competition that the entire public gets to enjoy.”
This year, you can also participate in a “Gift Box” hunt while you’re out and about. There are six gift boxes hidden at select homes in the Azalea District. Anyone who finds all six gift boxes will be put into a drawing for a prize. Join the Facebook Group for more information on rules and how to submit your form. The deadline to be entered into the drawing is 5pm Thursday, January 3rd.
With the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers in town, it’s a great season to show off Tyler. This event will give shoppers and others the chance to slow down and take a stroll through one of the most beautiful areas of town. For some, it’s a family tradition to visit the Trail during the spring; now it will be a family tradition to visit the Trail during winter as well.
Whether you live in the Azalea District and are helping with the magic of the season or you plan to visit the historic area during this time, one thing is for sure: this year Christmas in Tyler’s Azalea District will be the most colorful one yet!
For more info on the Azalea District Trail of Lights please contact Visit Tyler at (903)592-1661 or go to visittyler.com/rosecitychristmas. You can also join the Facebook group “Azalea District Trail of Lights” for more information, photos, and a map of the area.
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