With the Austin sun blazing over the Long Center, Austinites gathered to celebrate keeping our city weird. And they did that.
The Keep Austin Weird Festival and 5K, kicked off at 2 p.m. outside the Long Center for the Performing Arts, with a VIP lounge inside. On the Long Center’s patio, vendors set up booths, selling food, merchandise, and informing patrons about their causes.
The Festival, organized by Bounce Austin, benefited the Austin Parks Foundation, the organization that keeps our Austin parks cleans and donates money to improving and maintaining the natural beauty of Austin.
While walking around the festival, I ran into my friends at MudPuppies. Besides having a booth, MudPuppies, the official dog sponsor of the event, also had a fun stop during the 5K. At the MudPuppies booth, groomer Jane Pate brought out her poodle Winter, who was all painted up supporting MudPuppies and keeping Austin weird.
There were a wide variety of businesses represented at the festival. From jewelry to clothing, to upcoming races, many of the businesses that were represented at the festival had a mission of social responsibility and giving back to the Austin community.
An organization that especially touched my heart was Hidden Meaning. Hidden Meaning is a unique pendant that has all the letters of the alphabet stacked on top of each other. It originally came from stacking each letter in the phrase, “love is all you need,” and it has turned into so much more. For every pendant someone purchases, the organization gifts one to the Dell Children’s Hospital. Taking that one step further, the organization allows the children to create their own inspiration method using message cards.
One of my favorite parts about the festival was seeing all the weird and unique costumes people dressed in for the festival and 5K. There were a group of women who dressed as ducks, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made an appearance, as well as superheroes, pirates, and even a “devil”ed egg. The style trend of the night was definitely tutus.
The 5K took off at 7 p.m. With more than 1,000 runners, a mass left the starting line. It only took about 15 minutes for the runners to start finding their way to the finish line. The first 25 male and female runners received koozies as a prize.
Throughout the event, different bands took the stage. Christy Hays kicked off the event at 2 p.m. The headliner was Semi-Precious Weapons. The band took the stage after the 5K around 8:30 p.m. The glam rock ‘n roll band has previously opened for Lady Gaga.
Despite the heat, the Keep Austin Weird Fest was a great way to get out and see Austinites in their element. Staying weird.