The Trees and T’s are BACK!
I’m Amy, Native Austinite and self-proclaimed expert about the Whimsical and yes, WEIRD, decorated trees on Loop 360! I’ve named this one-of-a-kind weirdness AustinTree60.
The decorated juniper and cedars along Loop 360 usually start appearing in mid November, although it seems to be earlier every year. (10-12 popped up over the weekend 11/10/17))
To my knowledge the first tree was decorated in 1988 as a tribute to a breast cancer victim. Her famiy stealthily decorated a tree in her honor and the ATX tradition was born.
After that year, additional honor trees appeared, the number steadily increasing, a few each year. About 6-7 years ago the number of trees decorated really surged and the whole hillside between Hwy 183 and FM 222 seemed decorated!
Since then AustinTree60 has expanded at a MUCH faster rate… decorated trees can now be seen from Hwy 183 all the way to RR 2244 and even along Spicewood Springs and FM 2222. Although many of the trees are still honor trees – decorated in honor of a loved one, or a cause, or a group SOME of them are ADVERTISEMENTS… stop that!
After the holidays the undecorating is done by volunteer groups (ie: me and my neighborhood kids, Scout groups and other helpful people) and sometimes people come back to undecorate their own tree.
On weekends during November and December AustinTree60 is covered with people taking photos and generally having fun.
Keep it Weird ATX!
PS: 2017 update ~sigh~ like many of the best things about ATX, this tradition has gotten too big, too out-of-hand and has become a tacky mess in some places. It’s also pretty terrible for the area creeks and wildlife. So I love(d) it… but now… not so much. AND I have never, ever decorated a tree; only cleaned up.