Seattle's Child

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Tacoma Light Trail

TVs at Alma Mater. (Photo courtesy of Alma Mater)

Tacoma Light Trail: a fun way to explore Tacoma by car or on foot

Lighted art installations and special events run through Jan. 19

Here’s something to get you out of the house and lift your post-holiday spirits: The Tacoma Light Trail, a free walking/driving/biking light show running through Jan. 19, 2023.

The event, in its third year, is essentially a “trail of light art” through downtown Tacoma, accompanied by music and poetry (the Sound Trail). There also are live performances and a lighted bike ride.

The event’s mission is described as: “The Tacoma Light Trail uses light art to bring light to dark times, to lift up diverse voices and bring the community together through things we all share – truth, hope, justice, peace – symbolized by light.”

Among the features: illuminated whales, a 10-foot dragon with sparkling aqua wings, a twirling, rainbow light ball, a giant “Nutcracker” projection and a video window.

“This is such a dark time of the year,” said Rosemary Ponnekanti, director of Tacoma Ocean Fest, who conceived and organized the collaborative event. “I wanted to do something that would bring hope, unity and joy to the community, and I knew other arts groups and businesses felt the same way.”

Organizers say the light spots will be easily visible whether walking, bicycling or driving. A QR code with each installation will link to more information.

The Foss Waterway Seaport maritime museum also is participating, with Sarah Lovett’s “Sea Dragon” hanging from the rafters.

Tacoma Light Trail: details

The Tacoma Light Trail will run 5-9 p.m. nightly through Jan. 19, 2023. Here’s the map and guide to the art installations.

Here are the special, live events:

6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, lighted, family-friendly bike ride begins at Alma Tacoma. (Materials provided to decorate bikes and attach reflectors.)

6-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6 and Saturday, Jan. 7, performance in Tollefson Plaza featuring music, dance, interactive light art, projection mapping, art-making, candle labyrinth, free hot tea and food trucks.

Indoor concerts, Jan. 13, 14 and 19; times and locations vary.

Going by bike: Read this special guide, including safety tips and a suggested route.


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About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 15-year-old girl.