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Summer and Fall Events in Austin

Can’t-Miss Festivals in the Texas Capital

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Austin is known for its festivals. From the Austin City Limits Music Festival to South by Southwest, this city’s special events put it on the map. But there are a lot of lesser known festivals, such as the Pecan Street Festival and Eeyore’s Birthday Party (yes, that grouchy old donkey is involved) that are well worth your time. Here’s a breakdown of the annual festivals and special events you must check out in Austin.

JUNE

Austin PRIDE

Austin has a thriving and proud gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community. And that’s celebrated during Austin PRIDE, a weekend of events that includes live music, film screenings, a 5K run, parades and more. Held at the Long Center for the Performing Arts and downtown Austin locations; (512) 330-1002; www.austinpride.org

Night of the Bat

Austin is batty for its bats, so it only makes sense that it would host a Night of the Bat event featuring a film screening of Batman, a 5K run, live music and of course a viewing of the bats’ nightly exodus from under the Congress Avenue bridge. The event is free. Paramount Theatre and Congress Avenue Bridge; www.ci.austin.tx.us/events/bats/default.htm

Republic of Texas Biker Rally

If you’re in Austin in June and it sounds a little louder than usual, it could be because it’s ROT time. Every year, the Republic of Texas Biker Rally rolls into town, offering a wonderful gathering of bikers for parades, special events and live music. Many ROT-associated events are free. Travis County Exposition Center and 6th Street; (214) 904-8456; www.rotrally.com

JULY

Fourth of July Fireworks & Symphony

This free, family friendly event features wonderful patriotic music from the Austin Symphony and an incredible fireworks show over Lady Bird Lake. More than 100,000 Austinites attend the event each year. Bring a blanket and grab a spot on the grassy hill on Auditorium Shores. Music begins at 8:30 p.m.; fireworks start around 9:30 p.m. Auditorium Shores; (512) 476-6064; www.austinsymphony.org

AUGUST

Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

As if you needed August to get any hotter, this annual festival spices it up even more with fantastic hot sauces and salsa from around the region. Expect free samples and a hot sauce competition. Since Texas is home to some of the best salsa makers in the world, you know it’s going to be good. Waterloo Park; (512) 454-5766; www.austinchronicle.com

SEPTEMBER

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Drawing more than 130 artists from around the world on eight stages, this event quickly became one of the premiere Austin attractions. Expect huge crowds, wonderful music, major heat and an unforgettable experience. Zilker Park; www.aclfestival.com

OCTOBER

Austin Film Festival

Sure, there’s SXSW, but the Austin Film Festival is another great chance to learn about local filmmakers and see Austin and Texas films. It’s regularly recognized as one of the best film festivals in the nation, with a variety of free and low-cost events. Paramount Theatre and various locations; (512) 478-4795; www.austinfilmfestival.com

Texas Book Festival

Meet some of the greatest writers in the world and attend their readings at this highly respected annual event that draws thousands to the Austin area. There’s also live music, a children’s tent and poetry readings. Texas State Capitol; (512) 477-4055; www.texasbookfestival.org

NOVEMBER

Chuy’s Christmas Parade

Think the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade on a smaller scale, with giant balloons, marching bands, celebrities, floats, vintage cars and other special attractions. The event is free. Congress Avenue; (888) 439-2489; www.chuysparade.com

Fun Fun Fun Fest

National touring indie rock, hip-hop, punk, electronica and metal bands join at Austin’s favorite urban park for a two-day celebration of music. Comedy, screen printing, shopping and food are also available. Waterloo Park; www.funfunfunfest.com

Zilker Tree Holiday Festival

The biggest draw to this annual festival of lights is the 153-foot-tall Zilker Tree. There’s also a winding trail of lights, holiday concerts, a yule log, carriage rides and more. Admission to the tree is free. Zilker Park; www.cityofaustin.org/tol

DECEMBER

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Need to wrap up your Christmas shopping? Here’s your chance. This annual festival features dozens of vendors with fabulous gift items and local entertainment. Admission varies depending on when you go, but it’s less than $10. Austin Convention Center; (512) 447-1605; www.armadillobazaar.com

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