What began with a handful of vendors in the Armadillo World Headquarters music venue on a rainy Saturday afternoon in 1976 has grown into a seasonal celebration of Austin’s unique arts and music community and become an annual holiday event for many Austinites. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar features over 160 artists and artisans vending a wide variety and price range of gifts, live music and a full bar. This year's 38th Armadillo Christmas Bazaar will take place at Palmar Events Center, just across the street from it's original location at South First and Barton Springs at the now long-gone Armadillo World Headquarters. Open all the way up to 11 PM on Christmas Eve, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a favorite of last minute Austin shoppers. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free with parent. The dates for the 2013 Armadillo Christmas Bazaar are Wednesday, December 17 through Monday, December 24, 2013.
Takng it's inspiration from the annual Burning Man event in the in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, Art Outside is family friendly avant-garde art and music event featuring artwork, multimedia, large scale art installations, yoga, aerial acrobatics, fire spinning, music and workshops along the banks of the San Gabriel River northeast of Austin, Texas. Workshops and camping are included with the price of admission. Art Outside began in 2005 at at the Enchanted Forest, a 3.5 acre plot of land at the corner of South Lamar Boulevard and Oltorf Street in the heart of Austin. Logistical problems with the City of Austin led to the event being moved to Apache Pass in 2009. Though Apache Pass Festival Grounds in Rockdale, Texas is approximately a 90 minute drive from Austin, Art Outside remains a quintessential union of the Austin music scene and the Austin art scene. Apache Pass Festival Grounds consists of hundreds of acres of grassy camping areas shaded by large pecan trees and access to the San Gabriel River. There are facilities for showering, bathrooms, potable water, communal commons and access to charging stations for electronic devices. The dates for the 2014 Art Outside music and art festival are Friday, October 24 through Sunday, October 26, 2014.
The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival began in 1990 as a small contest with a few spectators and has grown over the years into the world's largest hot sauce festival and judging contest. The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival attracts as many as 15,000 spectators and more than 350 entries every year and is a major fundraiser for the Capital Area Food Bank based in Austin, Texas. The 2011 Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival raised over $17,000 and almost 19,000 lbs. of food. The 2013 Hot Sauce Festival took take place at Fiesta Gardens on the East side of Austin at 2100 Jesse E. Segovia Street instead of the usual location at Waterloo Park due to renovations being undertaken at Waterloo Park. Besides free hot sauce samples and food vendors, the Festival also features music from local Austin musicians. Entry to the festival is free with a donation of three healthy, nonperishable food items or a cash donation to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. The date for the 2014 Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is Sunday, August 24, 2014.
Set in downtown Austin Zilker Park, the Austin City Limits Music Festival is annual weekend music and art festival that has become one of the United States premier rock festivals. Approximately 130 bands on eight stages attract crowds of around 65,000 fans to listen to music including rock, country, folk, indie, Americana, hip-hop, reggae and bluegrass. Named after the public television show Austin City Limits produced at the KLRU studios at the University of Texas since 1977, C3 Presents licenses the “Austin City Limits” name for the annual festival. There is usually a brief and competitive pre-sale of discount price three-day passes about six months before the Austin City Limits Music Festival. The regular sale starts a few months later with gradual price increases as Austin City Limits Music Festival gets closer. Single day tickets go on sale about a month before Austin City Limits Music Festival. The best way to get tickets is to sign up for the ACL Fest email list for notifications on ticket sale dates and discounts.The Austin City Limits Fest expanded to a two weekend format in 2013. The 2014 Austin City Limits Festival takes place on October 3 through 5 and October 10 though 12, 2014.
Austin Fashion Week is a series of events in late August hosted primarily at retail and salon locations throughout Austin showcasing the work of fashion designers in clothing, accessories and jewelry from throughout Texas. Austin Fashion Week was founded in 2009 by Launch787, an event production company in Austin. Austin Fashion Week features both established designers, new designers and those launching their first lines as well as photographers, hair stylists, makeup artists and models working in creative teams. Over a hundred events take place during Austin Fashion week including runway shows, designer meet-and-greets, themed parties and benefits for Austin non-profits. Austin Fashion Week culminates with the Austin Fashion Awards recognizing the Austin fashion scene with both People’s Choice Awards voted online by the general public and Industry Choice Awards voted on by those working in the Austin fashion industry. The dates for the 2014 Austin Fashion Week are Thursday, April 24 through Saturday, May 3, 2014.
Sponsored by the Austin Independent School District, the Annual Austin Powwow and American Indian Heritage Festival is the the nation's largest annual school event and largest American Indian annual gathering in Texas. Hundreds of Native American Indian dancers, singers and drummers gather each year in Austin on the first Saturday in November to celebrate American Indian culture. Dancers of all ages in full American Indian regalia compete for prize money and vendors sell traditional American Indian cuisine, including buffalo stew and roasted corn, and wares such as jewelry and pottery. The annual Austin Powwow and American Indian Heritage Festival always takes place on the first Saturday in November. The date for the 2014 Austin Powwow and American Indian Heritage Festival is Saturday, November 1, 2014.
Austin Psych Fest is a annual music event in April featuring psychedelic, garage and experimental music. Psych Fest is produced by the members of Austin band the Black Angels and presents both contemporary and classic psychedelic rock. One past favorite at the Austin Psych Fest has been legendary sixties musician and Austin native Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators. The event is held at Carson Creek Ranch and camping passes are available. The dates for the 2014 Austin Psych Fest are Friday May 2, Saturday May 3 and Sunday May 4, 2014.
Austin Reggae Festival began as the Bob Marley Fest in 1994 and is an annual Austin event benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank. In 2012, the Austin Reggae Festival raised over $200,000 to help feed hungry people and families in Central Texas. Austin Reggae Fest features live world music from internationally known bands with food, arts and crafts vendors and takes place at Auditorium Shores alongside Lady Bird (Town Lake) in downtown Austin. The dates for the three day 2014 Austin Reggae Festival are Friday April 18, Saturday April 19 and Sunday April 20, 2014.
Searchable by date and type of event, the Events Calendar on the Austin Visitors Center website offers a comprehensive and extensive listing of events in Austin, including children and family events, culinary events, film festivals, holiday events, annual event, concerts and music events and theater and dance events.
The free Austin Trail of Lights at Zilker Park is an almost fifty year tradition in Austin and features more than fifty displays and exhibits including more than 100 trees wrapped in lights and three lighted tunnels. More than one million light bulbs spread over 1.25 miles illuminate the Trail of Lights. The free Trail of Lights event was started in 1965 by the City of Austin Parks Department, the annual event was cancelled in 2010 and 2011 due to budget constraints, but has come back bigger and better since 2012 thanks to corporate sponsorships. The 2013 Trail of Lights features live music from local, regional and national headliners including Ray Benson of Asleep at the While, Vallejo, The Whiskey Sisters and Austin High School Ballet Folklorico, performances from local community groups and schools, North Pole area featuring Santa's House, food courts, food trailers and lots of great iconic photo opportunities throughout the Trail. Capital Metro bus service as well as shuttle service from three locations around Austin is available. A limited number of parking passes are available online at the Trail of Lights website. General admission is free and gates open at 7 PM nightly. The dates for the 2013 Austin Trail of Lights are Sunday, December 8 through Sunday, December 22, 2013.
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar was started over ten years ago by Blue Genie Art Industries, a nationally recognized firm specializing in large-scale commercial fabrication of creative projects including museum exhibits, sculptures and specialty signs. The first Bazaar consisted mostly of items made by Blue Genie Art employee's, but the Bazaar has come to feature unique gifts and artwork from over 130 artists selected through a jury process from a large pool of applicants every year. The items available at this family friendly event range from fun and kitschy to serious art and include paintings, sculptures, jewelry, clothing, accessories, glassworks, ceramics, prints, photography and plenty of weird and quirky gifts you won't find anywhere else. The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is organized more like a gallery or retail store than a traditional holiday market in that each artists creates their own display, but there are central cashier stations manned by Blue Genie staff members and artists are not required to be present at the show. In addition to shopping, there are special art and music events throughout the nearly four-week show. Refreshments and a full bar are also available. Admission to the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is free and free parking is available. The dates for the 2013 Blue Genie Art Bazaar are Friday, November 29 through Tuesday, December 24, 2013.
Carnaval Brasileiro in Austin began in the late 1970's with Brazilian students attending the University of Texas and has grown to what is billed as the largest indoor Brazilian Carnaval party in the world, Every year more than 5000 costumed revelers converge on the Palmer Events Center for dancing, drumming and general revelry. Music alternates between two Samba bands: annual winner of the Brazilian Press Association's "Best Brazilian Band in the USA" award Beleza Brazil, formerly Grupo Saveiro, from New York City and Austin's own Acadêmicos da Ópera, or Austin Samba School, a group of over 100 drummers and dancers. Many attendees wear costumes, but not all, and face and body painters are available charging a modest fee for their services. This is an all ages event though it may be overwhelming for children younger than 12. No food is served. The focus of Carnaval Brasileiro in Austin is dancing and drinking. The date for the 2014 Carnaval Brasileiro is February 1, 2014.
Cherrywood Art Fair is an annual two day Christmas holiday shopping event in December showcasing over 100 artists along with food, live music and fun stuff for kids to do in a family-friendly environment. All items sold at the Cherrywood Art Fair must be original artwork and artist vendors are selected through a juried process. The Cherrywood Art Fair takes place at Maplewood Elementary School in the Delwood neighborhood of Austin and there is always a silent auction to raise money for the school. Admission to the Cherrywood Art Fair holiday shopping event is free. The dates for the 2013 Cherrywood Art Fair are Saturday December 7 and Sunday December 8, 2013.
Chuy's Children Giving To Children Christmas Parade is an annual Austin holiday toy drive that takes place on the Saturday morning following Thanksgiving. The inspiration of Chuy's Mexican Food restaurant co-owner Mike Young, the first Chuy's Children Giving To Children Christmas Parade took place in 1989 with Chuy's friends and employees riding alongside Austin musician Marcia Ball on a flat bed trailer and has grown into an yearly Austin family tradition. The Chuy's Children Giving To Children Christmas Parade benefits Operation Blue Santa, a non-profit organized by the Austin Police Department with support from the Texas National Guard, the Austin Fire Department, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and Austin Energy to provide needy Austin families with a full holiday meal and wrapped Christmas gifts for each child under age 14. The parade begins at 11 AM and lasts for approximately an hour and a half beginning at the south side of the State Captiol, proceeding south down Congress Avenue and ending at the Congress bridge. The parade features giant inflatable balloons, festive holiday floats, famous children's characters, live music and dancing, marching bands, classic cars and of course a real Santa Claus. At a designated time during the parade procession, all units stop to collect unwrapped toys brought to the parade by the parade spectators. The Chuy's Children Giving To Children Christmas Parade is a free event although spectators are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for the toy drive. The date for the 2013 Chuy's Children Giving To Children Christmas Parade is Saturday, November 29, 2014.
The East Austin Studio Tour is a self guided tour of working art studios located east of I-35, west of 183, south of 51st Street and north of Town Lake. Begun in 2003 as a one day event with only twenty-eight studios, the East Austin Studio Tour is now a two weekend event with over 100 artists and studios participating. The East Austin Studio Tour usually takes place in November. Look for the red numbered signs that mark all the studios. Maps are available from the studios and are also distributed around town in the weeks before the tour. Funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division, by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the East Austin Studio Tour is a unique opportunity to see the working spaces of artists and visit with the artists themselves. Admission to the East Austin Studio Tour is free. The dates for the 2013 East Austin Studio Tour are Saturday November 16 and Sunday November 17 followed by Saturday November 23 and Sunday November 24, 2013.
In 1963, UT English professor Lloyd Birdwell Jr. started a Winnie the Pooh-inspired picnic dubbed Eeyore's Birthday as a springtime party for his students before final exams. Eeyore's Birthday Party has since become an Austin tradition and is held the last Saturday in April every year at Pease Park, with costume contests, relay races, face painting, and other events for adults and children, including drum circles that spontaneously form across Pease Park. Eeyore's Birthday Party is sponsored by a nonprofit officially called the Friends of Forest which raises money through beer sales, T-shirts and temporary tattoos. Food stands are operated by other local nonprofits and staffed by volunteer crews. Admission to Eeyore's Birthday Party is free. The date for the 2014 Eeyore's Birthday Party is Saturday, April 26, 2014 and will be the 51st annual free party in Pease Park.
Billed as "Explore UT: The Biggest Open House in Texas," Explore UT has been an annual open to the public event in Austin at the University Of Texas Austin campus on the first Saturday of March since 2001. Explore UT is an opportunity for the Austin community, especially the young people of Austin, to see what the University of Texas is all about and to motivate schoolchildren from all over Texas to aspire to higher education. In 2011 more than 17,000 students between kindergarten and 12th grade from 302 schools in 106 Texas school districts attended Explore UT with their teachers. It is also used as a recruitment tool for the University of Texas and allows prospective students and their families to see the University’s literary and art collections, learn about its cutting-edge research, experience its history and traditions, and interact with faculty members, staffers and students. More than 400 demonstrations and activities are presented on the day of Explore UT including a campus scavenger hunt, campus walking tours, a children's international festival, marching with the Longhorn Band and special tours of the UT Tower. Explore UT is a free event. The date for the 2014 Explore UT is Saturday, March 1, 2014.
The Circuit of the Americas on the southeast side of Austin is currently the home of the only Forumula One Grand Prix race in the United States. Situated on a 1000-acre site, the racetrack is approximately two miles from Austin Bergstrom International Airport and a short drive from downtown Austin. Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1, are a series of races known as Grands Prix held throughout the world on purpose-built circuits and public roads. The results of each race are evaluated using a points system to determine two annual World Championships, one for the drivers and one for the constructors of the cars. The F1 race cars reach speeds of around 220 miles per hour. The inaugeral Formula One Grand Prix at The Circuit of the Americas was November of 2012. The Circuit of the Americans was the first racetrack built in the United States for the express purpose of Formula One racing, but has the capacity to hosts all classes of racing. Besides the 3.4 mile motor racing circuit, Circuit of the Americas is also home to the Austin360 Amphitheater, a music concert venue built at the base of the raceway observation tower. The dates for the third United States Formula One Grand Prix in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas are Friday, October 31 through Sunday, November 12, 2014.
Presented by Transmission Entertainment, Fun Fun Fun Fest is an independent genre based annual three day music festival in early November featuring many progressive and underground musicians with a focus on indie rock, punk rock, hardcore and hip hop and DJ music. The first Fun Fun Fun Fest was in 2006 at Waterloo Park in downtown Austin. Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014 is taking place at Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake adjacent to the Palmer Events Center. However, The City of Austin will close Auditorium Shores after this year's Fun Fun Fun Fest for a multimillion-dollar renovation with funds provided by ACL Fest organizers C3 Presents. Since the renovations will take at least a year to complete, Fun Fun Fun Fest will once again have to find a new home for Fun Fun Fest 2014. Along with a wide mix of old and new acts presented on multiple stages, Fun Fun Fun Fest is also reknown for it's mix of comedy, food, action sports, and poster art. The 2014 Fun Fun Fun Fest is Friday, November 7 through Sunday, November 9, 2014.
An outgrowth of the Honk Festival established in Somerville, Massachusetts in 2006, Honk!TX brings together a nationwide community of activist marching bands and community-rooted union of art, activism, and music for a three day event in several different venues located in East and Central Austin. Austin’s own Minor Mishap Marching Band organized the first HONK!TX along with other local arts and culture groups for it's debut in 2011 and continues to be the driving force behind this annual event. Community street bands range in size from 4 to 40 members usually performing in public spaces without amplification or stages wearing band colors and home made uniforms and playing original, traditional, and borrowed music on a wide variety of instruments while encouraging lively audience participation. The repertoire and inspiration for community marching band music comes from a diverse set of folk music traditions, including New Orleans second line brass bands, European klezmer, Balkan and Romani music, and Brazilian Afro Bloc and Frevo traditions, as well as the passion and spirit of Mardi Gras and Carnaval. Honk! Texas events take place all over downtown and central Austin and are free. The dates for the 2014 Honk! Texas festival are Friday, March 21 through Sunday, March 24, 2014.
Each May and June, tens of thousands of Austinites and visitors from all over the world make the two hour drive from Austin to converge at Quiet Valley Ranch in Kerrville for eighteen consecutive days of traditional folk, bluegrass, acoustic rock, blues, country, jazz, and Americana music. Founded by Rod Kennedy, the Kerrville Folk Festival has run annually since 1972 and is the longest continuously running music festival of its kind in North America. Many visitors camp at the ranch during the festival and almost all the staff are volunteers. One of the most unique aspects of the festival happens after the official shows when fans, volunteers and performers play music by the campfires, sometimes till dawn. The 2014 Kerville Folk Festival is scheduled for Thursday, May 22 through Sunday, June 8, 2014.
Lonestar Rod and Kustom Roundup is an annual custom car and hot rod show that takes place primarily at the Travis County Expo Center with related events on South Congress Avenue at the Continental Club and other venues in the area. Registration for the car show is limited to 1963 automobiles and earlier traditionally-styled american hot rods, custom cars and traditionally-styled bikes. The Lonestar Rod and Kustom Roundup at the Expo Center has live music, vendors, carnival rides, food, an automobile related swap meet and custom cars and hot rods from all over the United States on display. Events on South Congress Avenue usually include music at The Continental Club and free music and movies at the outdoor stage at Jo's Coffee House. The dates for the 13th annual 2014 Lonestar Rod and Kustom Roundup are Friday, April 5 and Saturday April 5, 2014.
Taking place on a Saturday and Sunday in both the Spring (May) and the Fall (September) on East 6th Street in downtown Austin between Congress Avenue and IH-35, the Old Pecan Street Festival has been a family tradition event for more than thirty years featuring arts and crafts exhibitors, vendors, live music and multicultural performers in the middle of Sixth Street in downtown Austin. Admission is free. Artisans from all over the United States display and sell homemade arts and crafts at this juried arts and crafts festival. Local musicians provide entertainment on five stages. Sponsored by the Pecan Street Merchants Association, the Old Pecan Street Festival selects several local non-profit organizations each year to benefit from proceeds. The Old Pecan Street Festival is the largest art festival in Central Texas attracting more than 300,000 per event. Pecan Street refers to original name of Sixth Street. When the street plan for downtown Austin was first laid out, north-south streets were given the names of Texas rivers in the order in which they appeared on the Texas map and the east-west streets were given the names of native trees. Years later, numbers replaced the tree-named streets and what was Pecan Street became today's 6th Street. Admission to the Old Pecan Street Festival is free. The dates for the 2014 Spring Old Pecan Street Festival are Saturday, May 3 and and Saturday May 4, 2014. The dates for the 2014 Fall Old Pecan Street Festival are Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28, 2014.
SXSW Interactive is a five day conference featuring presentations on cutting-edge and emerging technologies, networking events hosted by industry leaders and showcases of new websites, video games and startup ideas. SXSW Interactive primarily takes place at the Austin Convention Center with related events all over the downtown Austin area. SXSW Interactive has a reputation as a launching pad for new ideas and creative technologies and is credited with being a part of the success of Twitter in 2007 and Four Square in 2009. Past speakers at SXSW Interactive include Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Hotels in the downtown Austin area that are designated as official SXSW hotels require all SXSW reservations to be booked through the SXSW Interactive Conference and Festival. The 2014 dates for South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival are Friday, March 7 through Tuesday, March 11, 2014.
The Texas Book Festival was created in 1996 under the guidance of then Texas First Lady Laura Bush, a former librarian who has made it one of her life’s missions to promote literacy and the love of reading. The goal of the Texas Book Festival is to honor Texas authors and to benefit public libraries in the State of Texas. The Texas Book Festival hosts more than 200 Texas and nationally known authors every Fall and more than 40,000 visitors enjoy author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, activities for children and musical entertainment at the State Capitol in Austin as well as in other venue locations around downtown Austin including the Paramount Theatre and United Methodist Church. The Texas Book Festival is free and open to the public. The dates for the 2013 Texas Book Festival at the Texas State Capitol Building and Capitol grounds are Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27, 2013.
Spinning under the Zilker Park Christmas Tree is one of the best fun, free things to do during the holiday season. The Zilker Tree is 155 feet tall with 39 streamers of multicolored lights arranged in a spiral pattern around the Zilker Park Moontower. The Moontower at Zilker Park is one of the original Moontowers placed around Austin in the 1800's as a system of artificial street lighting. The moontower at Zilker Park was moved to it's current location from Emma Long Metropolitan Park, replacing the replica tower that was originally used for the Zilker Park Christmas Tree starting in 1967. The Zilker Park Christmas Tree is the largest man-made, free-standing holiday tree in the world. On the opposite side of Barton Springs Road from the Trail of Lights, the Zilker Christmas Tree features food venders and entertainment nightly from 6 PM to midnight. Free on-site parking will be available at the Zilker Christmas Tree December 1 thru 5 and December 22 thru 31 only due to activities related to the Trail of Lights. The dates for the 2013 Zilker Park Christmas Tree are Sunday, December 1 through Tuesday, December 31, 2013.
Hundreds of kites fill the sky the first Sunday in March at the Zilker Park Kite Festival. This annual event is free to enter and categories include the smallest kite, the largest kite, the highest flying kite and the most creative kite with both adult and children's divisions. Only homebuilt kites are eligible for competition, however you don't have to enter the competition to fly a kite during the festival. Sponsored by the Exchange Club of Austin, concessions are available and proceeds are donated to local children's charities. The Zilker Park Kite Festival always takes place the first Sunday in March. Admission to the Zilker Park Kite Festival is free. Free parking and shuttle rides are available from the state parking garage at 17th and Colorado. The date for the 2014 Zilker Park Kite Festival is Sunday, March 2, 2014.