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First Night Out 2008: Looking for Something Different

Feb 27, 2008
Looking for something fun in Austin to do this New Years. Tired of late night drunken parties? Perhaps looking something a bit more kid and family friendly? Why not check out First Night Austin?

Every December 31st the streets of downtown Austin Texas are transformed into a free performance and visual arts bizarre. The best part is that it is all free. The tradition of bringing in the New Year with a city wide celebration of the arts began in Boston in 1976. Since then, the idea has spread like wildfire to over 120 cities and communities throughout the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. While the first celebration in Boston brought in 60,000 people, now First Night brings in over a million people worldwide.

This year the Austin festivities begin at 3pm and continue until just past midnight. There are many stages and events throughout downtown Austin. You may want to start you day over at Auditorium Shores where you could check out the Giant Games furnished by the Austin Children's Museum. Later in the day the Trouble Puppet Theatre Company will be performing its show "Alchemy and the Wheel of Destiny." If you enjoy the puppet you may want to head over to the Austin Children's Museum where the United Way will be hosting a Puppet Making Workshop.

What are the RoboSpinArt and the Pongonator? You'll have to check it out for yourself. The project by the Robot Group will be on display all day at the Buford Tower on Caesar Chavez. The largest concentration of events will take place at the Austin City Hall Plaza on Second Street where Mayor Will Wynn will kick in the New Year at 7:30pm. On the headline stage you can check out a Persian Dance group, music by the Asylum Street Spankers, the Golden Arm Trio Brass Band presenting the work of Graham Reynolds, and Drum Jam. This is also the place to be for the midnight fireworks display.

Inside City Hall, the Theatre Action Project takes over the Boards and Commissions Room with their Peace Crane Project. In the Council Chamber you can expect performances by the Chinese School of Dance, the Austin Vocal Arts Ensemble, the Austin Chamber Ensemble, and the Austin Wind Symphony. Whatever you do, be sure not to miss the Grand Processional. This giant parade takes over Congress Avenue at 6:15pm. You'll be able to see pieces of almost all of the performances as well floats and the infamous "Celebrity Pedi-cab Race."

New for this year the HBMG's Creativity Incubator presents a theatrical showcase underneath the South First Street Bridge. Highlights of the showcase include "The Leash: A Psychedelic Western Operatta" by the Rude Mechanicals and The Debutantes and Vegabonds presentation of "Hubris" So why not come out this year and join your fellow Austinites in bringing in the New Year with the new tradition of First Night Austin. There are certainly plenty of good times to be had and this year's offering includes something for everyone.
About the Author
Ki is a realty professional in Austin Texas. His site covers the Austin real estate market and has a search of the Austin MLS for visitors. He also has a blog where buyers can keep up to date on the latest Austin real estate news.
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