The temperature is dipping down, heralding the arrival of Austin's beloved Festival Season: that time of year where portions of our city get infiltrated by enchanted out-of-towners from far and distant lands.
Get ready for it, Austin, because this will be your reality for the next six months. You will be loved, whether you like it or not.
This weekend, the festivals are relatively contained to very specific subsets of our population. There are maybe only a few of us that fit the demographics of each of these goings-on; and it's a real bitch for us that they all fall on the same weekend...
First up, we've got strange visitors from all over the world communing at the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse for seven straight days, drawn by the siren song of fantasy, horror and sci-fi cinema. It's finally time for Fantastic Fest 2012, the largest genre film festival anywhere in the world, and maybe the most epic event that the Alamo puts on every year.
With over 100 movies screening throughout the week and amazing premieres with celebrity special guests in attendance, plus the all-night parties at The Highball, you cannot imagine all the fun you'll be missing if you didn't get a badge immediately. Please don't say that dorks don't know how to party, because they will be schooling all of you this weekend, Tolkein-style.
Giving them a run for their party money will be Central Texas' colorful queer population, who will be celebrating Austin PRIDE this weekend at various locales throughout the city. Now that PRIDE is in September instead of the former first weekend in June, the weather is cooler and more welcoming to join in all of the official (and unofficial) events.
In the early morning, PRIDE will kick off with the Rainbow Run 5k outside the Long Center. Participants will get blasted with rainbow dust and glitter as they pass certain checkpoints, and end up looking as fabulous on the outside as they do on the inside. Then it's over to Fiesta Gardens for the PRIDE Festival, with performances by Peaches and the queens from Rupaul's Drag Race. Finally, at 8 p.m., the PRIDE Parade sashays down Congress Avenue and all over creation, letting the world know just how gay of a city we really are. Hooray!
And while The Texas Tribune Festival may not have as many drag queens or head explosions at its events, we can guarantee it will still get your blood pumping and your mind racing during the three days of lectures and panel discussions regarding public policy, law and human rights in Texas and beyond.
Rep. candidate Ted Cruz, San Antonio Mayor Julian Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry will all be present on the University of Texas campus as keynote speakers, and you'll have a chance to ask them the tough questions and learn of new opportunities to get involved with politics in your community.
And just because these major festivals are happening throughout the weekend, it doesn't mean we can forget a few other major fundraiser events taking place this weekend as well.
Friday, Ballet Austin invites you to the Driskill to dance the night away at the fabulous annual Fete & fete*ish fundraiser. This two-in-one gala event is THE black tie affair that kicks off the whole gala season in Austin, and features fine dining, dancing, entertainment and a preview of the upcoming Ballet Austin season. Afterward, it's the throwdown party of the gala set, with former Salt N' Pepa DJ, Spinderella, providing the DJ dance set for the night.
Finally, I Live Here I Give Here hosts The BIG Give on Sunday night, again at the Driskill Hotel. This annual event assembles the many nonprofits that fall under ILHIGH's umbrella into one exciting party atmosphere, to have fun and meet potential donors. Everyone is in a fantastic mood, enhanced by great food and drinks and the huge prizes made available by Whole Foods Market and Mercedes-Benz.
The question we have for you, Austin, is: Are you ready for some festivals? Because, like or it not, they're headed in your direction in a major way.