It’s the first weekend of fall–hooray! Get outdoors and enjoy concerts in the park, dancing under the stars, exercise, art, and one of the longest-running arts/crafts and music festivals in the country. The whole weekend is packed with FREE family fun!
A big thanks to our sponsor, the Asian American Resource Center Nonprofit. This weekend, Austinites have the opportunity to meet NY Times bestselling children’s book author and illustrator Grace Lin as she reads and signs copies of your favorite books! The first 300 guests will receive goody bags, plus there will be refreshments from local businesses, face painting, and a chance to win prizes. This FREE family-friendly event runs from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Asian American Resource Center. Lin’s books will be available for purchase at the event by BookPeople, who will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the AARC Nonprofit. Tickets are available here. A suggested donation of $5-10 for guests ages 12+ will be collected at the door, which will go directly to the AARC Nonprofit, which has helped improve the quality of life of Asian communities in the Central Texas area. This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
Weekend Top 10 Free Events in Austin:
- KUTX Live @ Mueller – Friday from 7-9:00 p.m. Rock the amphitheater at Mueller Lake Park with another round of family friendly concerts curated by KUTX and Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. The fun starts at 7:00 p.m. with kid-friendly act SaulPaul, followed by rock and roll for the grown-ups by Sarah Jaffe. It’s food trucks, fun, and live music on the lake. FREE! Mueller Lake Park, 2016 Simond Ave, Austin.
- Flamenco Under the Stars (RSVP) – Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. A’lante Flamenco wants to share their art with Austin. Flamenco Under the Stars presents some of A’lante Flamenco’s most compelling dance works from the last six years, all beneath the branches of Zilker Park’s oak trees and the big, bright Texas stars. Bring a picnic, a blanket, and plenty of friends to enjoy a fiery flamenco show featuring the 10-member company that has twice earned the “Best Dance Ensemble” award from the Austin Critics’ Table. This FREE show is appropriate for all ages. RSVP to receive updates and free music downloads from A’lante Flamenco. Zilker Hillside Theater, 2206 William Barton Dr, Austin.
- Meet Grace Lin (RSVP) – Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Join award-winning and NY Times bestselling author and illustrator Grace Lin as she reads and signs copies of your favorite books! The first 300 guests will receive goody bags, plus there will be refreshments from local businesses, face painting, and a chance to win prizes. Lin’s books will be available for purchase at the event by BookPeople, who will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the AARC Nonprofit. Tickets are available here. Tickets are FREE but a suggested donation of $5-10 for guests ages 12+ will be collected at the door, which will go directly to the AARC Nonprofit. This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Rd, Austin.
- Stronger Austin Day – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to noon. This FREE community event will feature an opportunity to shop the Central Texas Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry, a Community Service Provider Expo, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, cooking demos, on-field kids’ activities, Zumba class, health screenings, WeViva bootcamp, raffle prizes, and more. Join District 1 Austin City Council member Ora Houston for a 1-mile community walk and hear keynote speaker Ray Jackson (founder of Rising Stars Academic and Athletic Program, former Michigan Wolverine, and ‘Fab Five’ legend). FREE! Turner-Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Dr, Austin.
- Pecan Street Festival – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. This juried street festival attracts hundreds of local and national artisans offering original handcrafted creations in a variety of mediums, from metal, wood, fiber, clay, leather, glass and stone to repurposed materials of all kinds. Nearly 50 of Austin’s top musical acts will perform on three stages. Thirty food vendors located throughout the festival will offer both indulgent and healthy options. Kid-friendly activities include rides, a petting zoo, face-painting, interactive workshops, street magicians, and more. For a complete lineup of events, click here. Admission is FREE! E 6th St (Old Pecan St), between Sabine St and San Jacinto Blvd, Austin.
- Sparky Park Project (RSVP) – Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. VSA Texas and Body Shift are excited to that announce Stephan Koplowitz, an award-winning director/choreographer/media artist known for his work on stage, film, and site, is creating a site-specific work for people of all abilities in Austin at Sparky Park. The Sparky Park Project is a creative laboratory and introduction to site-specific work which will engage the community of local performers accompanied by live music. Site of a former electric substation, Sparky Park was created through the efforts and vision of neighbors. Lovely old trees and a unique art wall make this pocket park something special. Reserve your FREE ticket here. Reservations are not required to attend, but are preferred. Sparky Park, 3701 Grooms St, Austin.
- Rocktoberfest – Saturday from 3-9:00 p.m. Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with live music, food, beer, and stein hoisting. Admission gets you access to the festival (which is kid and dog friendly) where you can enjoy beer, live music from Mike Kinkead, Zeale, and Southtown playing throughout the day, food tents, a stein hoisting competition, and live graffiti mural art with Austin artists Lucas Aoki and Cody Schibi. Admission is FREE, but donations for Austin Pets Alive! are encouraged. Domain Northside, Rock Rose Ave, Austin.
- Southpark Live with The Peterson Brothers – Saturday from 7-9:00 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, kids, and friends to hear some of the most talented musicians in Austin. FREE! Southpark Meadows Shopping Center, 9500 South IH-35 Frontage Rd, Austin.
- 8th Annual Puppy Mill Awareness Day – Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Puppy Mill Awareness Day of Texas aims to bring awareness to the problem of puppy mills throughout the state, while encouraging local residents to adopt and not shop for their next companion animal. More than 30 animal rescue organizations will be on site with rescued pets available for adoption. The event will begin with a heartwarming “Blessing of the Animals” by Cedar Park Police and Austin Police Chaplain Rabbi Marie Betcher and will continue with live music from Russell Mayes, several giveaways, and a raffle for a brand new Cannondale bike from Nelo’s Cycles. It will also feature an obedience demonstration from Texas Differently-Abled Dogs (TDAWG), which provides training and obedience classes for deaf and blind dogs. Leashed, well behaved pets are welcome to attend. FREE! Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin.
- Austin Civic Orchestra: The Composer is Dead! – Sunday from 3:15-6:00 p.m. Bring your family to enjoy an amusing whodunit. Composed by Nathaniel Stookey, the piece is accompanied by text written by Lemony Snicket. ACO Assistant Director W.P. Sterneman III will narrate. Before the concert, orchestra members will hold an instrument “petting zoo” where people of all ages can explore sounds and play music. The activities begin at 3:15 p.m. in the theatre lobby. The concert program also includes: “Outdoor Overture” by Aaron Copland; “Duke Ellington!” arranged by Calvin Custer; and “Slava!” by Leonard Bernstein. To celebrate the start of its season, the Austin Civic Orchestra is not requiring a ticket for entry to this FREE concert. Instead, they invite you to give whatever amount you deem appropriate for your classical music experience to help support their season. Cash, check and credit cards are accepted; feel free to donate in advance. AISD Performing Arts Center, 1500 Barbara Jordan Blvd, Austin.
Bonus Nearly Free Fun:
- The Selfish Giant – Saturday at noon and 2:00 p.m. Austin Playhouse is excited to announce their Fall Theatre for Youth Production of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant. Based on the classic fairytale, this charming musical play tells the story of a Giant who builds a wall around his garden so the local children can’t play in it after school. To his astonishment, the wall also keeps out spring, and while life begins to blossom everywhere else, the North Wind, Hail, Frost, and Snow continue to dance about through his beautiful garden. It’s up to the new girl in town to take down the fence and teach the Giant a lesson in friendship. The Selfish Giant is targeted to children ages 4-9 years old, but it’s fun for the whole family. All tickets are pick-your-price starting at $1. Austin Playhouse at ACC’s Highland Campus – South Entrance, 6001 Airport Blvd, Austin.
Bonus Shopportunity For A Good Cause:
- Hurricane Relief Fundraiser Fair – Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Drop by for a craft fair, bake sale, yarn trunk show, raffle and silent auction, plus a kids’ area with crafts and face painting to help raise money for organizations providing relief to people and animals affected by Harvey. Admission is FREE! Me & Ewe, 4903 Woodrow Ave, Austin.
More Fun Beyond Austin:
- Leander Bluegrass Festival – Friday and Saturday from 5:30-10:00 p.m. Featuring live music, concessions, children’s activities, and a variety of vendors. Admission is FREE! Mason Homestead, 1101 S Bagdad Rd, Leander.
- National Hunting & Fishing Day Festival (Round Rock) – Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. A perfect opportunity to celebrate the conservation efforts of outdoorsmen and women across the nation with fishing, archery, BB gun range, kayaking, a sensory safari, and more. FREE! Old Settlers Park, 3300 Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock.
- St. Elizabeth of Hungary’s Fall Fiesta (Pflugerville) – Sunday from 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Bring your family and friends for a whole day of fun and excitement. There will be live entertainment featuring various performers and food and games for all ages. A live auction and a silent auction will be held concurrently in the Parish Hall offering numerous chances to bid on dozens of valuable pieces, packages, sporting/outdoor items, and excursions. Admission is FREE! Game and food booth tickets will cost 50¢ each. St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, 1520 N Railroad Ave, Pflugerville.