Do512 Family Featured Babymaker, Virginia Woodruff from Great Moments in Parenting, shared a post with us about her favorite Austin spring time events. Read about what she considers to be the Magic Season here in Austin.
And lo, the “ice” cleared and the “snow” melted, and the old Texas sun came raging back to bless the people.
We are now entering the “magic season”—those two months between “winter” and summer (which will continue for the next half of the year). But what really makes it magical: no mosquitos!
This is the time to stay outdoors at dusk lying in hammocks, playing tag and eating popsicles without fear of a swarm of insects nibbling on your exposed flesh. This is the time to enjoy an afternoon walk on the trail without risk of being fried like an egg. Go, Austinites, go out into the wild while you still can. Go hiking and biking and camping and stand-up paddling. Get your butt in shape now because you will spend the following six months in a bathing suit in a public pool.
This is also the time for spring festivals, and, this being Austin, there are many:
This is one music festival it’s easy to bring kids to. Folk and bluegrass bands perform at the famous Salt Lick BBQ and Camp Ben McCullough right across the street. Some audience members also camp there (there’s a family-friendly camping area with a playground), so it has a casual, around-the-campfire vibe. Think: bluejeans, banjos, beards and beer. Take the kids to see the Youth Competition and they may be inspired to pick up a guitar and follow in the footsteps of breakout alums Sarah Jarosz and Grace London.
Zilker Kite Festival (March 2, 10 am – 5 pm)
The annual kite festival gets bigger every year, with a trail of families filing onto the great lawn to see if their kites will ride the wind. The contests include a 50-yard dash for kids ages 7 – 12. Local vendors will be selling food and drink as well. Charge the camera in advance because it’s usually a beautiful day and you can’t beat that skyline view filled with airborne toys. Don’t forget your blanket and sunscreen.
Rodeo Austin (March 1 – 16, carnival opens at 11 am)
Set in a fairground just east of Austin, this “weird meets Western” annual spectacle pulls into town the same time as SX, just to remind you you’re in Texas. If you can make it though the carnival, there’s a separate kid’s rodeo building where the younger set can ride ponies and pet farm animals. Not to be missed is the Swifty Swine Pig Races—you’ll be cheering on your favorite piglet to win the coveted prize: an Oreo cookie. And if your kids can sit still after a day of cotton candy and funnel cake, you’ll be able to take in the evening concerts, where country music headliners like Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn and Dwight Yokum sing to the bleachers amidst the dust of the rodeo.
South by Southwest (March 7 – 16; music section: March 11 – 16)
The one, the only, the mighty. This sprawling festival puts Austin on the world map at the peak of our weather cycle every year. Unless you’re a diehard music fan, don’t even worry about buying wristbands. Just grab a beer or a coffee and wander South Congress. So many bands set up on street corners and outdoor venues that you can hear an amazing variety of talent on every block. Best places to bring kids: SXSan Jose (in the parking lot between Jo’s coffee and the San Jose hotel), Guero’s Oak Garden, and Home Slice pizza.
Eeyore’s Birthday Party (April 27, 11 am – dark)
Eeyore’s Birthday Party offers a glimpse of Austin’s hippie past, where everything was groovy and you could let your freak flag fly. It started in 1963 when a bunch of UT English majors decided to through a picnic for the depressed donkey. Now it spreads across Pease Park with drum circles, egg tosses, arts and crafts for kids, costume contests, a May pole and a live donkey. It also offers a chance to donate to local charities and a most excellent day of people watching. And in true hippie tradition, it’s free to attend.
If you manage to cram all of these events into one whirlwind spring (thereby both entertaining and educating your family), you deserve to spend the rest of summer floating downriver in a tube. I’ll see you there.
– Virginia Woodruff