Sunday, May 2, 2010

"Mona Lisa"

Austin is a very active town.  With the University, and the State Capital, and the number of music performance venues and events, plus all the organizations that sponsor 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathons, there is ALWAYS something to do in Austin.  Some of the events are pretty straightforward and traditional like the races and concerts, some are more quirky like the Kite Festival, Eeyore's Birthday, and SXSW (South By Southwest - a uniquely Austin music event).  And those are just a few.  Weekends are chock full of events in various parts of the city and that is pretty cool.

Like most folks who live here, we don't go to everything!  In fact, the events that we actually attend are few and far between.  But the events go on without us very well! 

Through a quirk of scheduling the last two weekends we managed to attend events during both.  Its also kind of odd, considering how few we go to, that both weekends, we went to Art Festivals.  The one last week was the "fine arts" one sponsored by the Austin Arts Alliance.  This weekend was the Pecan Street Arts and Crafts Festival. 

I don't know if these kinds of shows are prevalent all across the country, but they had them in CA and now here.  Its the kind of thing that takes place in a park or by blocking off streets and having artist booths all lined up in the streets with food booths and entertainment stages thrown in.We first discovered this kind of festival when we lived in CA. 

The one last weekend was a juried show with an entrance fee.  The exhibitors were by invitation only, so the quality of the artwork displayed for sale, was quite high.  This weekend's was free and open to any vendor.  It tended more to crafty kinds of things like jewelry, stained glass, and really odd combinations of items like sun-catchers and hummingbird feeders, ceramics, and leather goods. 

Last weekend's show was a lot smaller, but nicely spread out over the street that was blocked off, not crowded at all.  We saw some beautiful pieces and several that we would have loved to have purchased, had we had a little more "discretionary" funds hanging around.  Of course the numbers of attendees were smaller too, making it easy to get to each booth and to linger looking at their work. 

This weekend's was HUGE, probably the largest we have ever been to.  According to their website, the Pecan Street event's attendence is usually around  (take a deep breath) 300,000 people over two days!!   I couldn't swear to it, of course, but I am pretty sure that all 300,000 were there this afternoon!!  It was packed, curb to curb people....and their dogs!  It was hot, crowded, and very, very loud. 

[Aside:  Why, oh why, do so many bands insist on keeping their speakers cranked up to a nearly intolerable level??  I love music, really I do, but not when it is so loud that I get an instant headache!]

Last week we saw just about every booth and explored almost the whole thing in about 2 1/2 hours.  Today, we only lasted about an hour and only got to about a third of it.  Then we went off and had a lovely lunch at the historic Driskoll Hotel.

Unfortunately we didn't come across an undiscovered "Mona Lisa" or a discounted Rodin sculpture at either event and so we came home empty handed.  Ahh, well, maybe next year!


  1. We have some big art fairs here in the Indy area. I have friends who attend every eyar and yet- I've never been!! One of these days I will go.

  2. Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, you get the drift, have these shows/festivals on a recurring basis as well. Just not in June, July or August! LS

  3. How fun! I really do need to check out one or both of those festivals next year.


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