Austin Events This Weekend: Austin Film Fest, Texas Book Festival and Austin Beer Week

Looking for something to do this weekend? Austin has three, count them – three, festivals happening this weekend – the Austin Film Festival, the Texas Book Festival and Austin Beer Week. So, if you’re bored and want to watch a movie, buy some books or drink some local beer (and who wouldn’t?), head up to ATX for a weekend of fun, just 20 minutes north of Kyle.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of Austin Film Festival (2012)

The 20th annual Austin Film Festival runs October 24-31, with film screenings taking place at theaters across the Austin area. Badges and passes are available for access to all eight days of the fest, but individual tickets are also available for some of the films. Unfortunately, they’re only sold 20 minutes prior to a film’s screening, and only if there’s still space available once all badge and film pass holders have been seated. So, it’s a bit of a gamble, but there are some awesome films being shown this year, including Innocence, La Navaja de Don Juan, Finding Neighbors and more. If you don’t want to risk it though, the Film Festival is also hosting a Family Film Series that is FREE and open to the public. Here’s the schedule of movies in the Family Series.

Also in Austin this weekend is the Texas Book Festival, taking place on October 26th and 27th in the area immediately around the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin. The festival is one of the nation’s largest celebrations of literature and authors’ contributions to the field – bringing hundreds of authors from a variety of different genres to the city for two-days full of readings, books signings and panel discussions. The event is free and open to the public, and both days of the festival are chock full of events and activities for everyone in the whole family – so check out the schedule and broaden your mind!

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of 365

This weekend also kicks off Austin’s 4th annual Austin Beer Week – a 10-day celebration of Austin’s craft brewing scene. Austin Beer Week is a multi-day, multi-event, brewer-centric showcase of all things independent, craft beer, with dinners, parties, tastings, happy hours and more happening across the city. Participating breweries and restaurants include Austin Beerworks, Banger’s, Black Star Brewery, Eden’s East, The Gingerman, (512) Brewing and many, many more. Check out the ABW calendar for details about events happening this weekend and next week.

So, whether you want to watch a movie, see R.L. Stein read in person or try some new, local beers, there’s a lot going on up in Austin this weekend. So pop in the car for a quick drive north, and enjoy yourself!

Zilker Botanical Garden’s Annual Zilker Garden Festival

The first Saturday and Sunday of April, April 6th and 7th, the Zilker Botanical Garden hosts its 56th annual Zilker Garden Festival, which offers Central Texas and Austin residents the perfect introduction to spring. The family-friendly event takes place amidst the beautiful 30-acre Zilker Botanical Garden grounds, which are located near Lady Bird Lake on a diverse topography that is well-suited for showcasing different the types of native, hybrid and exotic plants that thrive in the climate of Central Texas. Themed gardens – such as the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden – are sprinkled throughout the facility, and are interconnected with streams, waterfalls and Koi-filled ponds, which create a peaceful, serene environment for enjoying nature, wildlife and the great outdoors.

Plum Creek, TX

The Zilker Garden Festival is the Zilker Botanical Garden’s most high-profile and anticipated annual event, and all proceeds support the Zilker Botanical Garden. The event is co-sponsored by the Austin Area Garden Council and the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department.

Highlights from the Zilker Garden Festival include gardening talks and information sessions, shopping and food offerings, as well as an array of kid-friendly events and activities. Additionally, live music is available both days of the Garden Festival from local Central Texas artists from the likes of Harps of Many Colors, The Better Halves, and The Siekers, among others.

An array of garden talks and other information sessions from local flora and fauna experts are available at the Garden Festival as well. Topics range from “Care for Drought Stressed Trees” to “Rainwater Harvesting” to “Cacti & Succulents,” so festival-goers can receive a wide-range of area-specific information about Central Texas gardening from local, knowledgeable gardening experts.  These informational garden talks are included in the Festival as a part of the City of Austin’s Grow Green program – which promotes sustainable landscaping practices by addressing hot button topics such as water quality and conservation, recycling and sustainable pest control. Additionally, an array of vendors from across Central Texas will fill the Zilker Botanical Garden the two days of the Garden Festival to sell a variety of plants and garden-related items, including garden-themed arts and crafts, ceramic pottery, jewelry and herbal products, baskets, birdhouses and colorful garden benches, among others. These items, along with the informational gardening talks, create the perfect recipe for gardening success this spring!

Plum Creek, TX

Additionally, a Flower Show in the Zilker Botanical Garden Center with three special exhibits – featuring Bonsai, Cactus and Orchid plants – will showcase the best local horticulture in the area and will be judged by 6 accredited judges. This is the 55th annual Zilker Flower Show, hosted by the Violet Crown Garden Club and the Capital City Judges Council, which has been in existence since April 1958. Now, that’s a lot of flowers.

For the kiddos in your family, the Zilker Garden Festival features a number of kid-friendly events and activities in their Kid’s Corner as well. Here, the young ones can get their face painted, build their own birdhouses or bird feeders, make butterfly wings and masks, and will receive a free plant to take home and grow themselves. Additionally, the City of Austin will host an array of children’s activities in the Rose Garden, and near the “Faerie Homes” on the Escarpment Trail.  There will also be food products available at the Garden Festival, from the likes of Amy’s Ice Cream, Crepe Crazy, and Texas Tradition BBQ, among others, who will offer spring food items for your Garden Festival experience.

Plum Creek, TX

For more information about the Zilker Garden Festival, including location, activities and features, please visit the Zilker Botanical Garden website. And happy gardening!

It is March – which means that spring has officially sprung.

This weekend, head up to Austin to welcome the warm weather at the Zilker Park Kite Festival, where thousands of colorful kites will grace the skies above the Great Lawn from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 4. The annual event, always held on the first Sunday of March, is the kick-off to the hundreds of springtime activities in Austin.

Bring your own kite to fly, or simply come to enjoy the warm weather and some great people watching. There will be a Kite Making Workshop, as well as numerous kite vendors on hand in case you didn’t come prepared and you get the itch to fly during the event itself. (Don’t kid yourself, you know you will!) Other offerings at the Kite Festival include moon walks, rock climbing, face painting, bungee jumping and other fun kid-friendly activities.

Bring your dog, a picnic and the whole family for a great day outdoors, welcoming spring back to Central Texas.

For more information about the event, visit: