“We do get donations, but they haven’t been enough to really help us improve Walkway of Lights or increase the amount of sculptures,” chamber Executive Director Jarrod Metzgar told DailyTrib.com. “Everything is more expensive.”
Admission to the 2023 lights display at Lakeside Park is still free and donations appreciated, Metzgar said.
A rapid increase in the cost of materials was one of the main factors in the chamber’s decision to charge admission next year.
“The prices of materials for Walkway of Lights — especially the rope lighting — have more than doubled in the last couple of years,” Metzgar said.
Costs associated with switching the roughly 2 million lights from incandescent to LEDs also had an impact.
“It gets rather expensive and time-consuming,” Metzgar said. “We’ve got about 275 sculptures right now, and if I was going to guess, about 60 percent of them are LEDs. We still have 40 percent to go.”
Renovations at Lakeside Park, which were completed in 2020, spurred the push to add to and upgrade displays.
“The park is bigger and better,” Metzgar said. “Now, we want (Walkway of Lights) to be bigger and better.”
Money raised from 2023 donations and 2024 ticket sales will solely fund Walkway of Lights.
“We felt like a minimal fee could double the amount of money going into Walkway of Lights, which would allow us to make Walkway even better,” Metzgar said.
The Marble Falls Christmas display first opened in 1990, the brainchild of Horseshoe Bay Resort employee Ron Mitchell, Marble Falls Realtor Pat Burton, and over 50 Highland Lakes residents. Walkway of Lights has grown over the years to include more than 2 million lights and about 275 sculptures.
The 2023 display at Lakeside Park, 305 Buena Vista Drive, is open from 6-10 p.m. each night through Dec. 31.