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Top 10 things to do in March: SXSW, Rodeo Austin and more

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76th Annual Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo March 8 – 23 Courtesy of Austin Rodeo
Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Pages_SXSW_music Day 3_march 2012_garyclarkjr
SXSW 2013 March 8-17 Photo by Jessica Pages
Austin Photo Set: News_shannon_what to do march 2013_austin rodeo
Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Pages_SXSW_music Day 3_march 2012_garyclarkjr
Austin Photo Set: News_shannon_what to do march 2013_family matters

SXSW may be impending but that doesn't mean it has to rule your world. March has plenty of other cool events to suit just about everyone's fancy, so get out and enjoy the cool weather because those dog days of summer are not far to follow.

First Thursday
March 7

On the first Thursday of every month, the shops along South Congress Avenue — roughly from Barton Springs Road to Elizabeth St. — stay open late, offering merchandise sales and, often, free drinks. The “block party” begins around quitting time and parking is, of course, pretty scarce.

5th Annual International Women’s Day Awards
March 8, 6 p.m.

In honor of International Women’s Day (IWD), Ten Thousand Villages fair trade store is celebrating women who have made a significant contribution to positive social change in Austin. This year’s nominees were chosen by a panel of judges comprised of former IWD winners, as well as leaders in the local nonprofit community. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on March 8. Although the event is free, an RSVP is required to attend.

"Fritos® Pie: Stories, Recipes and More" Exhibit
Weekdays through June 31

Many people believe that Texas is the unofficial king of barbecue, although some may argue that the state, in fact, holds another title — Fritos Pie Capital. The dish consists of three principal ingredients (Fritos, chili and cheese) and was popularized by the C.E. Doolin family of San Antonio as a marketing scheme for the brand.

More than 80 years later, the dish still stands as a staple of Texas' culinary culture. The original recipe for Fritos Pie, along with a slew of other unconventional corn chip concoctions, appear in the new book “Fritos Pie: Stories, Recipes and More,” by Kaleta Doolin. An accompanying exhibit, which includes various memorabilia and materials from the book, will be on display at Texas Folklife through June.

TGIS! Improvised '90s Sitcoms
Saturdays in March, 8:30 p.m.

If you grew up in the ‘90s, chances are you were a disciple of Friday night television programming — “TGIF” — and came of age under the guidance of sitcoms such as Full House, Boy Meets World and Family Matters. Although these shows now reside somewhere inside the realm of our collective unconscious (and late-night re-runs), the gang at Coldtowne Theatre is working hard to revive them.  

Every Saturday through April 27, Coldtowne offers back-to-back improvised episodes of Boy Greets World and Buddies Austin! These shows are performed live in front of a studio audience and come bearing canned laughter, applause signs and even some cameo appearances.

76th Annual Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo
March 8 – March 23

Even if cowboy hats, country music and cow manure aren’t your thing, many Texans feel an odd sense of duty (hehe) to attend the annual rodeo. Aside from the predictable livestock events, the 76th Annual Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo also features concerts, food tastings, children’s programs, shopping, and, of course, a professional rodeo.

SXSW 2013
March 8 – March 17

Love it or hate, the annual trifecta of technology, film and music, otherwise known as South By Southwest (SXSW), brings thousands of tourists and millions of their dollars to Austin every March. Many long-time locals have cashed in on the mayhem by subleasing their houses or apartments for the week, while others go about business as usual, avoiding downtown at all costs.

Then, of course, there are the brave few who dare to delve into every party, RSVP to every event, and walk among the tourists as an undercover tourist, themselves. After all, there is no other week in which Austin becomes less like itself.

Texas March for LGBT Justice & Equality Texas Lobby Day
March 10 – March 11

The Texas Legislature meets every other year, convening on the second Tuesday in January, for a maximum duration of 140 days. This year, hidden among more than 3,000 proposed bills, there are a handful of pending proposals that could greatly affect the lives of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Texan community. Among these bills is HB 1300, which relates to authorizing same sex marriage; HB 1696, relating to education programs regarding homosexual conduct; and HB 1146, relating to the prohibition of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Join GetEQUAL TX at Austin City Hall on Sunday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m. for a peaceful march to the Texas State Capitol. The following day, Equality Texas hosts “Lobby Day,” in which participants have the chance to come face-to-face with representatives. Both events are free to the public, although the latter requires advanced registration.

St. Patrick’s Day with The Celtic Cultural Center of Texas
March 17, 12 p.m.

This St. Patty’s Day, bypass the emerald beer, creepy leprechaun costumes and puking frat boys for the greener pastures of true Irish tradition courtesy of the Celtic Cultural Center of Texas. The day-long celebration features music from the Irish band Goitse, as well as the local styling of The Tea Merchants, Jeff Moore, and the Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums, among others. Additional events include traditional fare, beer, dance and Irish language lessons. 

Eric Clapton with special guest the Wallflowers
March 17, 7:30 p.m.

If you’ve got anywhere from $83 to $650 to spend, consider blowing it all on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Eric Clapton and Jakob Dylan perform on the same stage. Clapton, whose Austin performance marks his first in 18 years, will perform with a full band, including the veteran talents of Doyle Bramhall Jr. and Steve Jordan. The Wallflowers, fronted by Bob Dylan’s son Jakob, will open.

Wild Texas Weather
Daily showings

Experience the best (and worse) of Texas weather with the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum's IMAX presentation of "Wild Texas Weather." The 22-minute immersive theater experience features modern and historic footage, including hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, droughts, and flash floods. Special effects add to the experience and an all-Texas music score sweetens the punch.

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