Alright, y'all. This weekend's gonna be a doozy. Are you ready for it?
According to a press release from the City of Austin, "[a] total of eight special events take place on Saturday in and around the downtown area, setting a record for the most simultaneous events on the same day." They're warning us about parking, but we're warning you about all the fun you're about to have.
A book festival, a film festival, a bike ride, a food trailer festival, a Day of the Dead parade and more will make downtown a destination for fun and showcase the creative energy that makes our city so great. Don't mind all the out-of-towners; they're just jealous they don't live here year-round.
In case you've missed our announcements about The Texas Book Festival, you'll want to check out the listings of the 80+ authors that will be in attendance ranging from children's book to cookbook to essay to fiction writers. Housed mostly around and inside the State Capitol, attendees will primarily occupy the north end of Congress Avenue and the surrounding streets both Saturday and Sunday. All of the events are free to the public, so everyone is invited to come enjoy the thrill of this nationwide celebration.
Just down the street, the Austin Film Festival will be rolling out the red carpets for celebrities and attendees alike celebrating writers from big and small screens. The conference panels begin Thursday and run through Sunday, primarily at the Driskill and surrounding hotels, while the film screenings continue until next Thursday at theaters around town. You'll need to have a badge to get into the conference events, but you can tickets for the movies (if they are not already full of badge-holders). The badge is definitely worth it for the parties and the opportunities to see celebrities like Johnny Depp, James Franco and Mike Judge. With its close proximity to the Book Festival, this is a fun way to combine your two passions of film and literature.
For the outdoorsy folks of Austin, The New Belgium Brewing Tour de Fat stops in Austin on Saturday during their nationwide trip to promote goodwill toward biking. Starting at Fiesta Gardens and meandering along Red River and Town Lake, anyone passionate about bike riding is invited to come register and join in the fun. After the ride, live music, games and food will be offered for everyone that took part on this yearly celebration of the bicycle.
In celebration of Dia de los Muertos, the Mexic-Arte Museum is hosting the 28th Annual Viva la Vida Fest on Saturday as well. Vendors and performers will be set up along the 5th Street and Congress Area, dressed in beautiful colors and ghostly makeup to honor those who have passed on. Family activities take place at Plaza Saltillo, and the Grand Procession of masks, costumes, floats and signs moves along East 6th Street beginning at 6pm. All events are free and the whole family is welcome. It is truly a sight to see.
Over at Auditorium Shores, along the south side of Lady Bird Lake, most of Austin's favorite food trailers will be lined up for The Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival. All of your favorite crowd-pleasers will be in attendance like Torchy's, Gordough's and Hey Cupcake! And this is a great way to discover new trailers that are gaining popularity. Enjoy contests, live music and acitivities for the kids and pooches. Just make sure to eat small bites so you don't fill up too fast... there's too much good stuff to miss out on.
To celebrate the 100th birthday of American sculptor Charles Umlauf, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum is throwing him a party and inviting everyone to attend this Saturday. The Umlaufaloopa Family Arts Festival will feature children's art activities, live family-friendly music and plenty of great food and wine. Their might even be a birthday cake, but that's a lot of candles, even for a sculpted cake masterpiece.
Another monumental celebration takes place Saturday night at the W Hotel when ZACH Theatre honors Artistic Director Dave Steakley for 20 proud years of service to Austin's cultural scene. As the driving force of artistic vision at ZACH, Steakely has mounted hit after hit in ZACH's two primary stages, and will continue to do so with the completion of the new state-of-the-art Topfer Theatre. Many of Steakley's most celebrated performers will be in attendance to recreate a retrospective of favorite numbers from the past two decades of musicals.
Finally, for Oktoberfest revelers loving this time of year, Saturday is the first day of Austin Beer Week. Restaurants, bars and even the Alamo Drafthouse are offering specials, prizes and once-a-year menus to showcase the best in independent and craft beers that Austin has to offer. The events are too long to list here, so check out the full calendar of events. There are enough offerings to please any palate or paycheck. Just make sure you wear your liederhosen and deign a designated driver.
Like we said: It's a really busy weekend. So don't waste any time. The fun is already kicking off downtown. What are you waiting for? Get your comfy walking shoes on, bring plenty of costume changes and get ready to party. Just be prepared for a little traffic.