Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011: A Month-by-Month Guide To Partying In Texas

2011 is a big year for a big state! There are some milestones and anniversaries to celebrate. On August 29, it will be 20 years since Austin City Council passed a resolution adopting `Live Music Capital of the World' as the official slogan. South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, turn 25 and 10, respectively - kind of. According to the Austin-American Statesmen, SXSW was actually born 24 years ago and ACL Fest in 2002, but this year marks their 25th and 10th events. Apparently, celebrating is more important to Austin than facts.

2011 will be huge for Austin! There are lots of events planned besides honoring made-up anniversaries. Here's some of the highlights for the year, so plan your trip now!


Annual Tenant Show - various art works including sculptures, photography and jewelry are available at the Guadalupe Arts Center. The work is local and the prices are right - all art is priced under $500!

Appleseed Marksmanship Clinic in Davilla, TX - Y'all fixin' for a pistol party? This here's a celebration of shootin', marksmanship, and guns. Compete to be the most feared gunslinger in Texas by consistently striking a 20 inch target at 500 yards. Everyone is welcome, from the novice to the experienced shooter, so bring your kids and gun-safety learn them good!


Carnival Brasileiro - Did you know this festival ranks among the biggest celebrated outside of Brazil? Neither did I! Costumes, samba, food, merriment! I bet there will even be some nudity.

Motorola Marathon - For all the athletes, The Austin Marathon. Probably the nicest place to run a marathon in February, if that's your scene. And you get to run around the lake!


Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo - HOEDOWN! Put on your boots and your Texas tie and get to this two week even! Rodeo clowns! Bull-riding! Hog-tying! CHILI DOGS!!!

Doesn't it look like Texas is fighting the U.S.? That's because they are.

South by Southwest (SXSW) - Get.Here.For.This. Over one thousand acts perform. The population floods. This will be my first SXSW. Native Austinites have listed "under the 1st Street Bridge", "the Shell Station on South Lamar" and "the railroad tracks" as among their favorite places to see bands. Because every place in Austin is a venue during SXSW.


Zilker Garden Festival - Zilker Botanical Gardens flower festival for all the hippies and families and plant enthusiasts. Food, music, arts, crafts, children's games, the proverbial pausing to sniff the fauna.

Old Pecan Street Spring Arts Festival - Did you know that before 6th Street was the place for $2 Jager shots, AC/DC cover bands, and drunken girls riding mechanical bulls that it was named "Old Pecan Street" and was a place for art and music? NO MORE. This festival promises to take back the street from those licentious college students, if only for a moment, with arts and crafts vendors, street performers, a petting zoo, pony rides and over 100 live bands.

Cake and Sugar Art Competition and Show
Austin Fine Arts Festival
Texas Uke Fest
- A celebration of all things Ukelele! I guess that is only one thing.
Old Settlers Music Festival
Austin International Poetry Festival


Taste of Mexico - NOTHING TASTES BETTER THAN MEXICO, I ASSURE YOU. Celebrate our favorite neighbors at the Mexic-Arte Museum with a multitude of traditional Mexican dishes provided by your favorite restaurants in the region! What could you possibly have to do otherwise?!

Free Sunday Concerts - runs from May til August. Every Sunday evening at the Long Center (they recommend you bring "picnicfare" -- ooooooh! Don't mind if I do!).

Austin Writers Downtown - The Writers' League of Texas hosts a week-long literary showcase of Austin writers during Texas Writers Month, including book signings, refreshments and daily door prizes. Yours truly will certainly be there, signing my blog.


Texas Greek Festival

Annual Young Latino Art Exhibition

Republic of Texas Biker Rally - The largest motorcycle event in Texas (THE LAND OF FREEDOM, WHERE HELMET LAWS DO NOT APPLY). Entertainment includes concerts and bike tricks, possibly anguish and suffering.


Fourth of July Fireworks and Symphony at Town Lake

Midnight Madness - It's too hot to be out during the day, so we get our kicks at night. "Midnight Madness, starting at Slick Willie’s Family Pool Hall, is a treasure race taking clue-seeking teams throughout Austin. Teams of up to six players try to get ahead of competition to reach the final clue leading them home. Prizes go to winners, but all players can expect food and fun for their registration fee." HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!


Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival - Whether you are looking to spice up your dishes or go on a hallucinatory spirit quest, the Hot Sauce Festival is sure to add put a fire in your belly. Enter your best sauce and compete against amateurs and pros for the "Ohmigod-I-Can't-Feel-My-Lips" Title.

Batfest - Na na na na na na na na BATFEST! Come see the Mexican Free Tail Bats, who live under the Congress Street Bridge and are the largest colony of urban bats in the world. They come out every night at sunset to protect you from evil mosquitoes. Shop locally for bat crafts.

Austin Ice Cream Festival - I went last year, and all I can say is that is worth every damn penny. Play games, bring your dog or your kid, eat ice cream. Be happy.


Austin City Limits Music Festival - Now that I'm a true Austinite, I can't mention ACL without bristling. But if it's your thing, you probably aren't from Austin, want to stand in 110 degree heat to hear bands from Clear Channel radio play incredibly short sets while drinking $10 waters and destroying my favorite park. I'm obliged to mention it as it brings the city millions of dollars in revenue. I've heard its possible to have a good time, theoretically.

Old Pecan Street Fall Festival - So nice, they hold it twice. Just like before, but a month long.

Free Day of Yoga - It's kind of a slow month.


Austin Film Festival - One of the country's most revered film festivals, hosted by independent venues such as the Paramount Theatre and The Alamo Ritz and Drafthouse.

Maker Faire - Travis County, let's craft talk. A celebration of Do-It-Yourself! Boasting fun for "tinkerers, inventors, builders, crafters, hackers and all creative souls." Bring your knitting needles and get to work on some booties.

Halloween Inspired Revelry:
Halloween on Sixth Street

The Horror Haunted House and Dementia

Haunted Asylum Nightmare Factory Haunted House


Chuy's Christmas Parade - The Saturday following Thanksgiving, "Chuy's Christmas Parade features giant inflatable balloons, holiday floats, classic cars, marching bands and Santa." Chuy's is a Tex-Mex restaurant in South Austin that apparently really likes Christmas.

World United Music Festival and RMA Radio Conference - Over 150 performances over 3 days featuring Country, Western, Blue Grass, Blues, Jazz, Roots Rock, Zydeco, Tejano / Latin, World, Reggae, Western Swing, Roots / Americana Country, Roots Gospel and more. Hosted by Roots Music Association and the United States Entertainment Force. I had to Wikipedia Zydeco, and am currently learning this dance.


Armadillo Christmas Bazaar AND(!) Keep Austin Bizarre Christmas Bazaar - shop local for your presents.

Trails of Lights and The Lighting of the Zilker Christmas Tree - A month-long festival of lights in Zilker Park. I do love decorative lighting.

Thanks to Austin World Guides and EventGuide Austin for the tips!


  1. O man those lights are so 1968. I think. I don't exactly remember.

  2. You + Me + Zydeco dancing = one amazing time