From downtown Austin to the Texas hill country and everywhere in between festival season has officially begun. Festivals are a way to celebrate, learn, and experience new cultures. They’re also fun, family-friendly, and an awesome way to spend a day or weekend. Yes, here in Austin and beyond festivals are popping up all over this spring. Similar to our state’s flower the bluebonnet. Their small blue heads started peeking out this year at the end of February. And, like festivals they’re in full bloom throughout spring in Texas.
There’s something very special about festivals. They celebrate and pay homage to rebirth, the rite of passage, and nature. From bluebonnets to lavender to the Golden-cheeked Warbler to Earth Day, this year’s festivals celebrate the glory of the season. Save the dates for these fun outings all spring long!
Earth Day festivals
Earth Day ATX is the granddaddy of Earth Day festivals in Austin. This zero-waste event honors the environmental culture of the city. It takes place on Saturday, April 13 from noon to 6 p.m. at Huston-Tillotson University. Through in-depth programming and engaging exhibitions the large and open to the public for free event teaches and entertains. With over 100 environmental exhibitors and sponsor-free workshops there’s plenty of opportunities to learn. Topics include how to lower your carbon footprint and ways to conserve, recycle, and upcycle. Some noteworthy events during the festival include World of Biking, the Earth Stage, and the Community Justice Hub. Changemaker’s Café & Bookstore and the Sustainable Goods Market are also great choices. Plenty of activities for the kids including the Eco Discovery Zone and the Outdoor Activity Zone.
Get in shape and commit to a great cause during the 2019 Earth Day 24,901 Mile Run/Walk Challenge. The event is seeking walkers and runners that want to join forces to see how many times they can run the distance of the equator. Which by the way is 24,901 miles. The event needs 415 participants to make it around at least once. Each participant will be required to walk or run at least two miles a day beginning April 1 and ending April 30. Participants will log their daily and weekly mileage via the official results page. The challenge is free to participate. However, if you would like a bragger’s medal, an official T-shirt, and a pack of wildflower seeds there is a fee to register.
Festivals that celebrate flowers
Blue is everywhere at the annual Bluebonnet Festival, April 12-14 in Burnet. This annual free festival celebrates the flower in a big way. In its 36th year, Burnet’s annual tribute to the Lone Star state’s official flower has something for everyone. For three-days you can indulge in great food, attend the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower show, or shop for Arts and Crafts. Also, live music nightly, a Rod and Classic Car display, the Mighty Thomas Carnival, and children’s activities sponsored by the Science Mill. On Friday, April 12 attend the festival’s official Opening Ceremonies from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
As the official Red Poppy Capital of Texas, the city of Georgetown has been celebrating the flower since 1990. Every year for the past 20 years the Red Poppy Festival continues to grow. And, it all started when a package of poppy seeds sent from Europe after World War 1 were planted at the home which is now 507 E. 7th Street. As nature can be the force of all things great, the seeds were spread around town. The rest is history. This year’s festival takes place April 26-April 28 in and around the city’s historic square. Daily live music, food courts, artisan’s booths, contests, children’s activities, and more. Highlights include the Red Poppy Festival Parade on Saturday and the Red Poppy Festival Car Show. Free.
Seas of purple lavender plants grace the fields of Blanco, Texas during the 15th Annual Lavender Festival, June 7-9. Visit local lavender farms, shop the Lavender Market, listen to local live music, enjoy great food, and learn all about lavender. The festival’s Speaker’s Pavilion is featuring experts that will offer tips on how to grow and use lavender. Additional topics include general horticulture, beekeeping and much more. Free.
Bird watching and nature tours
The Balcones Songbird Festival 2019 is a celebration of nature and the opportunity to experience the habitat and nesting habits of the Golden-cheeked Warbler. The three-day event takes places April 26-April 28 at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. Through a series of interpretive events you’ll get to know all about this endangered migrant songbird that calls the refuge home during its nesting season. During the festival small group tours will be led by leading names in the industry. Registration is required for the free tours. The 25,000 acre refuge houses over 215 bird species throughout the year. Some of the more popular species include the Painted Bunting, Black-crested Titmouse, Vermilion Flycatchers, Black-throated Sparrows, and Canyon Towhees.
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