Austin Arts Event: The East Austin Studio Tour


There’s something about Central Texas that invites creativity. Maybe it’s the beauty of the Hill Country, the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of Austin or merely the history of creativity that’s been present in the area for decades; either way, there’s a lot of creative minds living, working and creating in Austin, and, this November, these creatives are celebrated at Austin’s annual East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) – a two-weekend event that showcases the best of local art and craftsmanship in the city.

EastAustinStudioTour

Photo courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

The East Austin Studio Tour – taking place this year the weekends of November 16th and 17th and November 23rd and 24th – is a free, self-guided tour of the artist studios, galleries and event spaces on Austin’s east side. Hundreds of art spaces open their doors these two weekends, and for many of them, EAST is the only time of the year they are open and available to everyday folk to see. This year, more than 400 artists are participating in EAST, and there are a number of cool events and activities happening both weekends of the event, including out-of-the-box events, projects, art competitions, traveling performances, art parties, site-specific projects and more.

East Austin Studio Tour

Photo courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

EAST comes with its own catalog, which is a free, full color tour guide that comes with a tour map. They’re out and available on the east side the two weekends of the tour, or can be picked up at all 22 Austin Public Library branches beginning November 6, as well as select other locations around town.

Wurstfest: Sausages, Beer and Texas-German Fun


The first ten days of November, New Braunfels will host the city’s largest and most popular event – Wurstfest: an annual celebration of the German heritage and culture that remains in the city from the influx of German immigrants to Central Texas in the 1850s. The ten-day celebration is rich in Alpine and Bavarian culture, with great food, German, Texan and domestic beer, live music, dancing, carnival rides, games and more.

Plum Creek Kyle TX

Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post

The event runs daily from November 1st to November 10th. On weekdays, Wurstfest opens at 5 p.m., and 11 a.m. on the weekends. Tickets to the event are $8 before Halloween, and $10 after.  In addition to the Wurstfest event itself, there are a number of other local events happening in New Braunfels and beyond, including “Frankenwurst,” at the Circle Arts Theater, the ARToberfest art show at the New Braunfels Art League, and the 45th annual Wurstfest Regatta in Canyon Lake.

Plum Creek Kyle TX

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Wurstfest has been a staple in New Braunfels since 1961 when the event began as a promotional event for the city’s sausage-making industry. Since then, Wurstfest has exploded into one of the largest cultural events in the state. Recently it was rated the #3 event in the state of Texas, behind San Antonio’s annual Fiesta celebration and the Texas State Fair.

For more information about Wurstfest and to purchase tickets, visit www.wurstfest.com

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 Austin.com

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!

Pumpkin Patches, Haunted Houses and More Halloween Fun Around Central Texas


Halloween is less than a week away, and we’re sure that by now, your house is decorated, you’ve watched The Nightmare Before Christmas at least once or twice, and you’ve mastered your costume, or at least have an idea of what to do. If not, you can always scrape together something from Goodwill or your closet, right?  If you’ve done all of the above (or even if you haven’t) and you’re looking for some fall and Halloween-related activities, there are a TON of things to do in Central Texas to help get you outside and into the spirit of the fall.

Plum Creek, Kyle TX

Photo courtesy of the Kyle United Methodist Church Facebook page

One great way to do so is to visit a pumpkin patch. Kyle has its own at the Kyle United Methodist Church, which is open for your pumpkin pleasure until Halloween day. The patch’s hours are 2:30 p.m. to dusk, Monday – Friday; 9 a.m. to dusk, Saturday; and noon to dusk on Sunday. When the season started, KUMC had over 1,300 pumpkins to choose from, and, with such a starting collection, there are still plenty of pumpkins for you and your family to carve or paint. If you’re up for more of an adventure, or just want to get out-of-town for some fun, Sweetberry Farm in Marble Falls and the Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop both offer more fall fun than just pumpkin patches. Sweetberry Farms’ festivities take place 6 days a week (save for Wednesday) and includes scarecrow hayrides, corn mazes for all ages, a petting zoo, ice cream, picnics and more. Parking and entrance to the farm is free, but there are some small charges for the activities. More information about Sweetberry Farm is available here. And info about Barton Hill Farms’ fall festivities, here.

Plum Creek, Kyle TX

Barton Hills Farm Corn Maze via Hilltop Views

Haunted Houses are also fun ways to get in the spirit, and the area around Kyle is known for having some scary ones. Up in Austin, the House of Torment was recently voted one of the scariest haunted houses in the NATION by Haunt World. Three different haunted houses make up the House of Torment, and general admission to all three of them is just $24.99. House of Torment is open nightly until Halloween, and after Halloween they’re open on Fridays and Saturdays until November 16th. You probably want to keep the kids at home for this one though, as it’s a pretty rough ride – but maybe you’ve got a trooper with nerves of steel who can handle the spookiness Other area haunted houses include the Shivers Haunted House and the 13th Floor Haunted House, both a little further away in San Antonio.

For a little tamer Halloween fun, the Kyle public library is hosting a Halloween movie night and a Halloween story time  the Tuesday and Wednesday before the big day. And the “R We There Yet Mom” blog has a robust list of family-friendly events taking place throughout the month across Central Texas, including the Halloween Children’s Concert from the Austin Symphony on October 27th, Goblins in the Garden at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in South Austin and the Umlauf’s Pumpkin Sculpting Competition.

So here’s to fall fun, being scared and eating lots of candy. Hope you and yours have a very Happy Halloween!

Labor Day Festivals and Events in Central Texas


Monday is Labor Day – meaning the end of the summer, the beginning of fall, and a three day weekend to help ease you into the season. For Central Texans, Labor Day is usually still a scorcher, but there are many things you can do to celebrate in Central Texas, either for the day or for the weekend.

About an hour and a half west of Kyle, the Kerrville Fall Music Fundraiser celebrates the spirit of songwriting and drink-making at the Quiet Valley Ranch, Friday August 30th, to Sunday September 1st. The three-day event features tastings and seminars from some of Central Texas’ premiere wineries and breweries, along with performances from a number of local and regional songwriters. Performances will take place during the days and at night; but the wine and beer booths will only be set up during the night performances, from wineries and breweries hailing from all over the state – including Fredericksburg’s Pedernales Brewing Company, Austin‘s Independence Brewing Company, Messina Hof Winery, and Becker Vineyards, among others.

Plum Creek, Kyle TX

Photo by Susan Roads, courtesy of KerrvilleMusic.com

East of Kyle, the Fayette County Fair takes place in La Grange Thursday through Sunday on the Fayette County Fairgrounds. In its 86th year, the annual festival is an iconic Central Texas event, featuring agriculture and livestock shows, live music, a beauty pageant, a BBQ cook off, carnival rides and more. Tickets to the fair are $15 and include access to everything but the carnival rides. The carnival is open every evening from 6:00 to close, and all-you-can-ride wristbands are $35. On Sunday, bring 4 canned goods for the AMEN food pantry and get $5 off the carnival wristband, too. The perfect family-friendly Labor Day activity, just a little over an hour away from Kyle.

Plum Creek, Kyle TX

Photo courtesy of The Katy News

For those who wish to stay in town this Labor Day, there are countless ways to celebrate at home, with the family and the neighbors. The Kyle Pool is open from 11-5 until Labor Day, after which it closes for the season, and, for Plum Creek residents, there is always Fergus and McNaughton Pools. Or you can have one final summer grill out with the neighbors.

 

 

Celebrate the Fourth of July, Central Texas Style


July 4th is around the corner. And various cities around Central Texas have some wonderfully patriotic events planned for the big day and the weekend afterward so you and yours can celebrate our country’s independence Central Texas style – with pet parades, rodeos, art exhibits, WWII reenactments, horse racing and more.

Plum Creek and the City of Kyle have some great activities planned for 4th of July itself including a firework display at the Plum Creek Golf Course. Before the official city activities begin, though, the Golf Course is hosting a 4-person scramble Fourth of July Tournament that will start at 3 p.m. Its $38 per person to play, but this includes the green fee, cart fee, prizes, celebratory finger food and an up-close-and-personal perspective of the fireworks. Teams can register by calling the Plum Creek Pro Shop at (512) 262-5555.

Plum Creek, TX

The official City of Kyle Fourth of July celebration takes place at the golf course as well, with live music from the April Hall Band as well as food and drinks from 6-9 p.m. The event itself is free and open to the public, but all proceeds from parking ($5) and the available food stuffs will benefit the Kyle Masonic Lodge. When it gets dark enough, around 9:30 p.m., the real show begins, with fireworks launching from the PCGC driving range.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, a variety of events are taking place throughout the Hill Country, including Wimberley’s annual VFW Pro Open Rodeo, which has occurred every Fourth of July weekend for the past 68 years, and was once the largest outdoor rodeo in the world! This year’s festivities fall on Thursday July 4th through Saturday July 6th with gates opening at 5:30, the first Mutton Bustin’ at 7:00 p.m. and the rodeo taking place at 8 p.m. Rodeo events include bull riding, bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, women’s barrel racing and more. Food and vendors are available on the grounds, and there is a dance after Friday night’s show.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of the Hill Country Current

On Saturday, Bastrop has a number of family-friendly activities including their 8th annual Pet & Pal Parade and the Bastrop Patriotic Festival. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. and takes off from the Bastrop County Courthouse. Pets of all shapes and sizes can strut their stuff, everything from goats on leashes to bearded dragons. Judging occurs in seven categories including: the most patriotic pet, most creative pet costume, most unusual pet, best trick, best decorated pet vehicle, best pet / owner look-alike, and the best overall pet. Proceeds benefit the Bastrop County Animal Shelter. Later in the day, the Patriotic Festival occurs in Fisherman’s Park, with music by the Bastrop Community Chorus and Band beginning at 6 p.m. followed by music from the Austin Symphonic Band. People can picnic and relax in the park during the festivities, and fireworks will begin at dusk. For more information about the Bastrop Independence Day festivities, click here.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of The Gloss

Fredericksburg, – a little further away from Kyle to the west – has a number of Fourth of July festivities occurring throughout the weekend as well. On Friday night nearly a dozen art galleries in the city will stay open until 8 p.m. for the city’s First Friday Art Walk, which will feature show opening receptions, artist demonstrations, meet and greets and more. Other events throughout the weekend include concerts by Roger Creager Friday night and Saturday, multiple performances of the Fredericksburg Theater Company’s rendition to “Oklahoma” and a USO style Hangar Dance that is 1940s themed and will feature big band music from Bill Smallwood and Lone Star Swing. Even more, they’ll have WWII reenactments and two days of live pari-mutuel quarter horse and thoroughbred horse racing. More information is available at the Visit Fredericksburg website.

With all this available, in town, and to the west and the east, there are endless opportunities for authentic Central Texas fun next week and weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Plum Creek Introduces Local Public Art Initiative + Front Porch Days, May 4-5


Chicago had its cows. Austin had its guitars. And Kyle – we’re getting rocking chairs.

Plum Creek, TX

This summer, Plum Creek is launching a public art initiative similar to the Cow Parade of Chicago and Guitar Town up in Austin called “Rock the Porch” that will manifest in the creation of 15 artistic rocking chairs that will be placed in the public spaces of Plum Creek and within the greater Kyle community. We’re looking for people, groups, organizations and artists from around Plum Creek, Kyle and Hays County to participate in creating these innovative public art pieces to beautify and enhance the neighborhood and the greater Kyle community. They’ll be placed in high traffic areas in the neighborhood such as the Plum Creek dog park, the Community Center, the pools, and around the city of Kyle, like in front of the library, City Hall and Lake Kyle.

These won’t be ordinary rocking chairs, though. We want them to be creative, innovative and thought provoking. Something worth talking about. Think something like a fur-covered chair placed at the Plum Creek dog park, or one that looks more like a children’s playscape than an actual chair. Or one that is completely reassembled and upside down! Do you have some creative ideas for a unique, sculptural rocking chair? We’d love to see what you’ve got! We’re accepting applications from local individuals, artists, groups and organizations. Just fill out the below application, and email kelsey@lookthinkmake.com to submit, or if you have any questions or feedback.

Rock the Porch Artist Application – Applications are due by May 15th so there’s plenty of time to get involved!

Plum Creek, TX

The temporary public art exhibition is designed to provoke thoughts of what it means to be a neighbor, to be neighborly and to inspire conversation among people. We picked rocking chairs as the symbol because it encapsulates what Plum Creek is all about: a friendly place where you can sit outside on the front porch, watching the fun and activity of the neighborhood with a neighbor or a friend, rocking to the beat of the passing breeze and enjoying life. Plus, they’re practical – offering you a place to sit while you watch your dog in the dog park, or after you’ve picked up your favorite book from the Kyle library.

Plum Creek is launching “Rock the Porch” at our annual Front Porch Days next weekend May 4th and 5th. At Front Porch Days, we’ll have an rocking chair on display to inspire and get people excited about the initiative. It’ll be a weird example that embodies the kind of creativity and fun we’re expecting from the public art initiative. We’ll also have applications available at the booth, the opportunity for you to nominate your creative friends, and for you to submit ideas for chair locations in Plum Creek and Kyle.

We didn’t want to leave the kids of Plum Creek out of the rocking chair fun either. So, we’ll have a number of fun crafts at our Front Porch Days booth for the kiddos of Plum Creek and Kyle to enjoy. Kid-sized rocking chairs will be available for families to purchase and decorate with paint, glitter and more, as well as little clay pots and bird houses for decorating as well. We’re donating all the money we raise from these items to Kyle nonprofit Hope & Love 4 Kids.

Plum Creek, TX

Hope & Love is a local children’s nonprofit that serves kids in and around Hays County. Founded in 2006, they provide basic necessities to children in the community, and comfort and uplift them in their time of need through services and outreach. Their programs include school supply drives, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, the Angel Tree program during the holidays, the Hendricks Scholarship Foundation which awards three different types of scholarships to Hays County students, and more.

So, bring some cash and those creative juices to Front Porch Days, and don’t forget to stop by our booth to learn more about “Rock the Porch.” We think this is a wonderful opportunity for Plum Creek to become even more involved in the greater Kyle community, and it’s the perfect way to showcase the creativity and talent of Kyle-area artists.

And if you have some ideas for a creative rocking chair, APPLY! We want as many different people and perspectives involved. So show us what you’ve got. Fill out the below application and email it to kelsey@lookthinkmake.com. Email if you have questions or would like more information as well.

Rock the Porch Artist Application