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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

This sounds like a lot of fun, but it ends Jan. 16, so hurry!

Update, Dec. 17: The 2021-22 version kicks off New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31 and runs through Jan. 16, 2022. More details to follow!

Here’s something to get you safely out of the house and lift your post-holiday spirits: The Tacoma Light Trail, a new walking/driving light show in downtown Tacoma through Jan. 16.

More than 50 artists, arts organizations, businesses and downtown spaces have joined to create a free exhibition of light installations including projection mapping, video, illuminated sculpture and sheer blasts of light – with available music, poetry or sound to go along with it.

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.”

Each light art spot has an uplifting theme: 40 illuminated whale lanterns frolic in the glass front window of the Foss Waterway Seaport; a giant chrysalis and glowing stars of hope are featured at the Seymour Conservatory; and First Night illuminated puppets and a light-up dragon will inhabit Broadway storefronts.

Other art spots include special colored lights on the Martin Blank sculpture outside the Museum of Glass, a big projection of “The Urban Nutcracker” by Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center on the wall of Tacoma Art Museum, backlit skateboarders above Alchemy Skateboarding, pulsing light squares at Alma Mater and illuminated ballet scenes in Tacoma City Ballet’s ballroom windows.

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

Those partaking on foot are of course asked to wear masks and keep a safe distance from other groups.

Tacoma Light Trail: details

The Tacoma Light Trail will run 5-9 p.m. nightly, Dec. 30-Jan. 16. Full details and locations here. Boundaries of the event are roughly Hilltop and Dock Street, Wright Park and UW-Tacoma.

Published Dec. 28, 2020

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About the Author

Julie Hanson

Julie Hanson is the website editor for Seattle's Child. She is a longtime journalist, South King County resident and mom to a 14-year-old girl.