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.

 

 

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Microbreweries and Brewpubs in Central Texas – For Those Hot Summer Days


Central Texas is fast becoming known for its craft and local beer scenes, and in the past decade many have cropped up in Austin and throughout the Hill Country. This summer, a nice cold locally-crafted beer offers the perfect way to cool off when the temperatures rise. And now that the Texas legislature has signed the Texas Craft Beer Bills into law, microbreweries can now sell beer on their premises to customers, as well as to wholesalers and beer distributors. This means that many microbreweries will start extending their hours, and there will be more opportunities to tour and taste craft beers from the source!

There are multiple resources for finding the best local and microbreweries around Central Texas including the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, which lists the names and locations of its members on its website, and the annual Texas Craft Brewers Festival, taking place September 28, 2013. The Austin event is the perfect opportunity to sample and try some of the best craft beers in Texas, but, until then, here are some local breweries, micropubs and other craft beer supporters in Central Texas in close proximity to Kyle.

Plum Creek, TX

Photo courtesy of Thrillist

Just outside of Wimberley, Middleton Brewing sells their own homebrewed Belgium and American style ales on Ranch Road 12. The brewpub is open seven days a week, and you can sample 5 beers in a beer flight there for only $6! They regularly host beer tasting groups, beer classes and other special events; and they’re huge supporters of the home brewing scene. In fact, they run a homebrew shop upstairs above the pub.

In San Marcos, Darkside Fermentation is a one-man nanobrewery located in the basement of the Root Cellar Café. It’s the only brewery / brewpub in San Marcos, and they specialize in Belgian-style, bottle-conditioned ales. Four beers are available there, including a gluten-free beer! The Root Cellar Café itself has robust lunch and dinner menus, and a rotating gallery of local art is featured on the walls of the restaurant!

Plum Creek, TX

Photo courtesy of Do512

A little further south, three microbreweries call New Braunfels home, the Faust Hotel & Brewing Company, the Guadalupe Brewing Company and the New Braunfels Brewing Company, while Austin and the area immediately north of Kyle is replete with places to grab a local beer. In South Austin, Jester King, Thirsty Planet, the South Austin Brewing Company and Independence Brewing Company are good options for Kyle-ites looking to trek north (but not too north) for a craft beer. Some of the breweries even have special events and tastings planned, like Groovy Sundays pictured above at the South Austin Brewing Company!

For more information about local and microbreweries in Central Texas, there are many articles and round-ups on the topic, and the aforementioned Texas Craft Brewers Festival in Austin is a great place to start as well. Tickets to the festival are now on sale online and General Admission is only $20! But remember, be safe when trekking around Central Texas in search for a good local beer. Responsible drinking is paramount. So once you’ve got your DD – cheers and happy drinking!

Plum Creek, TX

Photo courtesy of Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Rock the Porch Public Art Rocks Kyle


Plum Creek, TX

The Tertiary Man by Negley Elementary School’s Garden Club

After months of suspense on our part, and much creativity and hard work on the part of our participating artists, Plum Creek’s Rock the Porch public art initiative is now complete and out in the community!  As of early August, thirteen Kyle-made rocking chairs were placed in locations around Plum Creek and Kyle for people to look at, appreciate and enjoy. Each chair has its own unique personality, and we love the variety of people, concepts and artistic realizations the initiative brought along.

Plum Creek, TX

Pictures of each chair, along with information about each of the participating artists is available at the Plum Creek website: www.plumcreektx.com/rocktheporch. All of the chairs are out in the community, and they’re there for you to interact with and appreciate. So send us your pictures, and tell us what you think about the chairs when you come across them in Plum Creek or in Kyle. We’d love your feedback! We’re also currently sharing information about Rock the Porch on Plum Creek’s Facebook Page, so like us to learn more about the initiative!

Plum Creek TX

The S.S. Adventure by the City of Kyle’s Parks & Rec Adventure Summer Camp

 

Summer Activities in the City of Kyle


Plum Creek TX

Ahhh summertime. Lightning bugs. Lemonade. Later and later sunsets. It’s the time of year for family reunions, having fun and enjoying the great outdoors (in a pool of nice, cold water that is). The last day of school for Hays CISD students is June 5th, and, for a couple months, kids in the community are free to expend their energies playing games, exploring and having fun instead of studying for those pesky spelling tests. To help keep you and your kiddos entertained this summer, the City of Kyle has a number of fun activities available for the whole family.

The Kyle Parks and Recreation Department is the master-mind behind many of the city’s summer activities. They have youth and teen day camps available throughout the summer, to help keep the kids away from the TV and the ever addicting video games. Instead, they’ll explore new places and ideas, and will engage with other Kyle area kids through physically and mentally exciting field trips and on-site activities. Field trip destinations include Blazer Tag, Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, rollerskating, bowling and more. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the camp too, through the Hays CISD summer feeding program. Camps run from Monday to Friday each week of the summer, from June 10th to August 9th, with the exception of the week of the Fourth of July.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of Peter French

In addition to Parks & Rec summer camps, the department is also offering special programming at the Kyle Pool this summer. The pool is open daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, offering times for free swim and swimming lessons. Special night swims occurring throughout the summer including Teen Night at the Pool June 7th, Family Night June 21st, the Dive in Movie at the Pool July 26th and a Back to School Swim and Supply Drive August 9th. Each of these events takes place from 8:30 – 10:30 p.m.

Another special summer feature from the Parks and Recreation Department is the city’s monthly Movie in the Park. Four times throughout the summer, the city will erect its 282” inflatable movie screen at Gregg-Clarke Park to show a G or PG-rated movie 30 minutes after sunset for the Kyle community. The 2013 schedule includes Here Comes the Boom June 14th, Madagascar 3 July 12th, Finding Nemo (at the Kyle Pool) July 26th and Jumanji on August 16th. The movies are free and open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and snacks.

Plum Creek TX

Photo courtesy of the City of Kyle

The Kyle Library is also offering summer activities, including their Summer Reading Program which will take place in June and July. Registration begins Monday, June 3rd. In addition to the traditional summer reading log, the Summer Reading Program features fun, family-friendly events and activities such as the Kay Cassidy Book Scavenger Hunt, Zombie Day, Science Rocks and more. More information is available on the Kyle Library website.

We can’t forget, of course, the City of Kyle’s annual Fourth of July Firework Show, taking place at the Plum Creek Golf Course in Plum Creek. The golf course will host a golf tournament after lunch on the big day, and from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. live music, hot dogs and snacks will be available at the golf course clubhouse before the firework display.

With all these activities at your disposal from the City of Kyle, plus all the things available in Plum Creek and Central Texas in general, there’s no limit to the fun you can have this summer. Enjoy it!

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

Earth Day in Central Texas


This year is Earth Day’s 43rd anniversary; and in that time, the eco-friendly observance has grown from a U.S.-only celebration (of only 20 million participants) to an international day of awareness, with an estimated 1 billion people from countries across the globe celebrating the day each year. This years’ Earth Day occurs next Monday, and, this weekend, there are a number of ways you and your family can celebrate nature and further benefit and support the environment in Central Texas.

Twenty minutes north of Kyle, up in Austin, the weekend is filled with earth-friendly events, including Austin Earth Day Saturday April 20th, and the East Austin Urban Farm Tour, Sunday April 21st. Both events take place in Austin’s east side, and serve to showcase some of the city’s most eco-friendly businesses, farms and restaurants, musicians and non-profit organizations. Austin Earth Day takes place on Saturday in the “Historic Browning Hangar” in Mueller (off of Airport Blvd) from 12 – 7 p.m. The event features live music, (including an interactive drum circle!) speakers and presentations on topics like “Austin’s Progress Toward Becoming a Sustainable City” and “A Crash Course on Composting” as well as exhibitions and booths from over 50 Central Texas-based organizations, businesses and nonprofits. Food and drink will be provided from a number of Austin-based establishments, and there will be a Kid’s Zone for the young ones, with face painting, a petting zoo, an interactive storytelling stage, and more. The event is free and open to the public, which makes it the perfect way to spend an eco-friendly Saturday with the fam.

Plum Creek, Texas

On Sunday, the East Austin Urban Farm Tour showcases four of Austin’s urban farms in the Govalle neighborhood off Airport Boulevard, near 183. The guided tour provides attendees with the opportunity to experience the farms and produce fields of Boggy Creek Farm, HausBar Farms, Rain Lily Farm and Springdale Farm while learning about each of the farms and the way in which they operate. Additionally, chefs from a number of local restaurants who source from these farms will provide a sampling of food items, with accompanying beverages as well. Tickets to the event are $45 and can be purchased in advance, here. The East Austin Urban Farm Tour has sold out the past two years, so buy yours now!

The following Saturday, April 27th, San Marcos hosts another Earth Day celebration at the San Marcos Springs. This event features live music performances from local bands “Green Mountain Grass,” “Albanie and her Fellas” and “Those Nights” as well as educational booths, green vendors and a kid-friendly talk from Doc Edwards from the Edwards Aquifer Authority and Karson, his Texas Blind Salamander puppet sidekick. The event benefits the Hays County Food Bank, and if you bring a non-perishable donation to the celebration, you can receive $2 off a glass bottom boat ride that day!  San Marcos also hosts a weekly farmers market every Saturday throughout the year where attendees can get local produce, sustainable products and other food items from a number of Central Texas-based farms and green organizations. For other Farmers Markets in the area, check out Edible Austin’s list of Central Texas farmers markets and resources.

Plum Creek, Texas

 

If you’d rather celebrate Earth Day on your own, there are many ways for you and yours to help and benefit the environment. Try to walk or ride your bike to school or work instead of getting in the gas guzzler, make a bird feeder from a milk carton or an empty liter soda bottle, plant a tree or flowers at home, or spend an afternoon outside walking around Lake Kyle or one of Plum Creek’s many parks. Or you can practice Earth Hour by turning off the lights, and the TV, and the computer, etc. in your home for one hour. Use the time to chat with the kids about sustainability, or do something fun by candlelight like reading a book.

In Plum Creek, the New Urbanist community located in Kyle, being green is easy, as the neighborhood privileges alternative modes of transportation, and there are countless ways to get out and enjoy the environment in the neighborhood! The streets are designed to slow traffic, and sidewalks offer residents the perfect space for taking a stroll and stretching those legs. Additionally, homes, amenities, schools and businesses are located within walking distance from each other, so you can virtually get anywhere in the neighborhood without the car. If that’s not green we don’t know what is!

Plum Creek, Texas

Art City Austin


Art is everywhere in Austin, in galleries, museums, and in parks and other public spaces throughout the city. This weekend it’s taking over the streets of downtown Austin too, through Austin Art Alliance’s annual Art City Austin – a two-day outdoor art festival and block party that will transform Cesar Chavez Street and the hip 2nd Street District into an artistic and cultural mecca this Saturday and Sunday, April 13th and 14th. So pile the family into the car for a short jaunt up north for a day full of art, culture, food and live music out on the streets of downtown Austin.

Plum Creek Texas

Photo courtesy of Austin 360

Art, of course, is front and center at the event, with two different kinds of art browsing experiences available for attendees this year. As in past years, Art City Austin features more than 100 temporary outdoor art galleries set against the streets, plazas and open spaces along Cesar Chavez Street and in the 2nd Street District. These galleries feature an array of art types and mediums, and you’re given the opportunity to meet the artists themselves at the event, too. New to the festival this year, though, is the People’s Gallery inside Austin City Hall, on Lavaca between Cesar Chavez and 2nd Street. This part of the festival is made possible by the Cultural Arts Division of the Austin Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office and features only Austin-based artists and creatives, to showcase the regional talent and creativity available in Central Texas. And we all know there’s A LOT of that!

Additionally, festival-goers are given the multiple opportunities to watch art in action over the course of the weekend. Articulture Designs will create and install living art pieces throughout the festival site to beautify and set the stage for the festival, while local artists from the Hatch Workshop will weld a sculpture from unusable bike parts in the middle of the fest. Once complete, the sculpture will live at one of Austin’s many bike shops.

Articulture Design

Photo courtesy of the Articulture Designs Facebook page

While these galleries and exhibits are geared toward the teenage plus crowds, Art City Austin doesn’t leave out the kiddos. In fact, they’ve got a whole Kid’s Block that is chock full of fun, arts-related activities. Activities include making action paintings with marbles with Abrakadoodle, making masks with the Mexic-Arte Museum, crafts with the Mexican American Cultural Center, face painting, decorating bags, street chalk and more.

Two other activities at the fest unite the creative talents of many into group artworks.  These include Building a City with the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, where kids are given a single ceramic tile to decorate, which will then be assembled and featured at the Sculpture Garden during the May 5th Umlauf Family First Sunday; and the massive origami peace crane installation. This eventual art piece will incorporate colored twine and the origami peace cranes made at Art City to create a public art installation that will revitalize and transform an ordinary alleyway in downtown Austin. The installation will be on display on 9th street between Congress and Brazos through May 5th.

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Riders Against the Storm, courtesy of Do512

In addition to these art activities, Art City Austin will feature live music and food from a number of favorite Austin food trucks. Five different bands perform each day at stages that are a part of the outdoor block party. The musical selection is diverse and eclectic, ranging from Texas folk, to positive hip hop, to world music in order to reflect the diversity and quality of Austin and Texas’ music scenes. For more information about the musical performers, visit the Art City Austin music page, for band bios and to listen to some tunes.