Classic Fairy Tales is the theme of this year’s Gingerbread Village at the downtown Four Seasons. This yearly tradition is created by the hotel’s pastry chefs. The village is on display in the center of the hotel lobby through Christmas Day.
Bill observed that I hadn’t been writing much about what it’s like to live in downtown Austin, so let me answer some of the questions that I’m asked most often…
The third annual Creek Show celebrates Waller Creek, a small stream that runs on the east side of downtown and empties into Lady Bird Lake. This free outdoor art show is sponsored by Waller Creek Conservancy, a non-profit group which is working with city officials to create “an extraordinary urban place that connects, surprises and inspires all of us.” The five installations are set up between Fifth and Eighth Streets and open nightly from 6 to 10 PM through November 19.
Austin’s Veteran’s Day Parade began promptly at 9:30 AM as the first of many color guards stepped off the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. A huge American flag was suspended via fire truck ladder above the north end of the bridge. Former Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell was the Grand Marshall. In addition to numerous veteran’s groups, participants included city municipal departments, Junior ROTC units, marching bands, Jeeps, Corvettes, horses, a plane, and a garbage truck. The parade headed north on Congress Avenue, and ended with an 11 AM Veteran’s Day ceremony at the Texas State Capitol.
One of my favorite downtown walks is around the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Over 20 unique and interesting monuments and statues can be found on the 22 acres surrounding the huge capitol building. Many are war memorials, some are for the Civil War. I’ve attended dedications for the Tejano Monument and the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument. By year-end, a new Texas African-American History Memorial will be unveiled.
In spite of overcast skies, the 21st annual Texas Book Festival attracted large crowds on both Saturday and Sunday. For the first time that I remember, the House and Senate chambers were not used. Sessions were held in nearby churches (First Methodist, First Baptist, and Central Presbyterian), Omni Austin Hotel, Paramount Theatre, and large outdoor tents. Capitol Extension rooms were also used, but many of those sessions reached their room capacity. The children’s area was relocated to Congress Avenue. The C-SPAN2 tent was moved to just south of the capitol grounds, so traffic noise was no longer a problem.
Community Altars: A Celebration of Life is an annual exhibit held at Austin’s Mexic-Arte Museum on Congress Avenue. Ofrendas (altars) are created to honor deceased members of the Latino/a and Mexican communities, in conjunction with the Catholic Holy Days of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 1 and 2). These colorful ofrendas will remain on display at the museum through November 13.