Bill and I attended the 11th annual Mueller Tower Lighting on a chilly evening earlier this month. Formerly the site of the old Austin airport, the 700-acre Mueller development is now a planned community containing stores, restaurants, a hospital, a children’s museum, and various businesses. Construction continues, but eventually over 13,000 people will live in the condos, apartments, and homes here.
Most traces of the old airport are gone, but the blue control tower still stands. This eight-story structure was built in 1961 and was adorned with a lighted NOEL during the holiday season. This tradition continues, and has been expanded to include a small celebration and lighting ceremony. And an ice carver, who created a frozen replica of the tower.
The field around the control tower was muddy, so the event was moved to nearby John Gaines Park. A temporary stage was set up for dancing to music by the Nash Hernandez Orchestra.
Once the energetic Reagan High School Drumline took over, there was no extra room on the dance floor.
Free coffee, apple cider, and cookies were available, and a few food trucks were parked nearby. A kitchen blowtorch was used to slightly melt these tempting S’mores on a Stick.
After two brief speeches, a large switch was pulled, and the word NOEL lit up near the top of the tower. Yes, that switch setup looked fake, and the actual lighting was underwhelming, but it was still a nice little community event.
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