To many across this great land, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, prompting plenty of outdoor activities like camping, grilling and swimming. It's not like it hasn't already felt like summer for the last month, but now people can start complaining of the heat without being reminded about how much worse it's about to get.
It's also called Memorial Day because the last Monday in May is when we observe and thank all of the armed servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of protecting our country. It started with Union soldiers honoring their compatriots after the end of the Civil War, and it still carries weight and significance today.
Finally, Memorial Day is the time when proper Southern ladies will tell you that it's okay to start wearing white shoes again. So slap on those bone-colore pumps, and let's make this weekend a blast.
There are two great music festivals to enjoy this weekend, one closer to home than the other. The Kerrville Folk Festival kicks off at Quiet Valley Ranch in Kerrville, TX, on Friday afternoon and goes for a little over half a month. Over 100 singer-songwriters will perform, along with music workshops and overnight camping.
If you've got less time to commit to driving and camping and a week of jamming out in the country, how about just one day of rockabilly music at Revival Fest 2012? The Reverend Horton Heat is the main headliner of this steel guitar-heavy festival set to take the stage in the make-shift stage on Seventh Street and Trinity.
If you'd prefer your music more classical in nature, we recommend the amazing combination of opera music and Elgin sausage at the cleverly named 2012 Sausage and Opera Festival. You probably already knew that Elgin is the "Sausage Capital of Texas," but it's also the home of the Franco-American Vocal Academy, who will be performing the soaring Peruvian-based opera La Perichole on Friday and Saturday night while you enjoy the savory flavors of Elgin.
If the idea of a "sausage opera" tickles your funny bone just a little, you might enjoy chuckling along with the movie mockmasters of Master Pancake on Friday and Saturday who will be serving up Memorial Day gems during their dismantling of The Sound of Music. While you enjoy the visions of dancing German children frolicking about the lively hillsides, Jon Erler and crew will have you rolling in your seats with their made-up dialog and spot-on commentary.
If laughter is your thing, then you'll want to quickly get on board for Austin Sketch Fest, which is already in full swing. Some of the country's leading sketch comedy teams join local favorites as they present their latest and greatest work to packed audiences at ColdTowne Theatre and the 29th Street Ballroom. Stand up comedian Paul F. Tompkins is the headliner on Saturday and Sunday night, and you don't want to miss this guy.
And for something completely different and totally Austin, make sure not to miss The Austin Bike Zoo's production of Midsummer in Motion, a "circus commedia gender-bending" version of A Midsummer Night's Dream... on bikes. Many of Austin's premiere experimental theatre artists will perform alongside members of Sky Candy Aerial Arts and the lovely band, The Inheritance. Hop on a bike and head to Republic Square Park; this is a night that you won't soon forget.
These are just some of the great events happening all around our great town this weekend to supplement your Memorial Day celebrations with friends and family. Get outside for at least part of one of the long weekend and appreciate that it's not 100 degrees yet (we hope).
And remember to bust out your bright white sandals, cuz you only get to wear those until Labor Day...