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Zilker Park in Austin

Jun 4, 2008
During Austin's warm spring and summer months, Zilker park puts on a wide array of activities for the entire family to enjoy.

Every year in March, the Zilker Kite Festival is held, bringing thousands of spectators with almost an equal number of kites, to the park. In 2008, the Zilker Kite Festival celebrated its 80th anniversary. The Exchange Club of Austin began the Zilker Kite Festival in 1929 as a way to promote creativity among Austin's children. Today, while promoting family time, the Exchange Club of Austin also raises money through t-shirts sales and concessions as a fundraising measure to split among charities preventing child abuse and dolling out college scholarships.

The Zilker Kite Festival is free to the public, and anyone can join in the kite competition, which has a variety of categories like highest flying, most unusual, and strongest pulling. The only stipulation is the kite must be handmade. For those without kite making abilities, bringing a premade kite is acceptable, but one can also learn to make a kite at the kite making workshop.

Built on a sloping hill across from Barton Springs pool is the Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater. Since 1959, Broadway musicals have been entertaining Austinites on warm summer nights, and the Zilker Summer Musical is now the longest running outdoor "pay-what-you-want" production in the U.S. Run by Zilker Theater Productions, the Zilker Summer Musical brings in about 40,000 audience members every year. The organization also hosts performances by the Austin Symphony and the Austin Civic Orchestra on their hillside theater, where spectators can spread out blankets, bring a picnic, and enjoy the show while being surrounded by 100 year old pecan trees.

The 4th of July will bring over 100,000 spectators to the park who will find a spot for their family along the shores of Lady Bird Lake. The Austin Symphony Orchestra, which plans and produces the entire event, will set up and play from the new Long Center for the Performing Arts. The orchestra runs through a variety of patriotic songs, and during the 1812 Overture, cannon shots punctuate the music, and cue the fireworks to begin.

Blues on the Green is held at the huge outcropping of rock in the middle of Zilker park known as Rock Island. Another free event, Blues on the Green brings local acts to Austin's music loving crowd, with genres ranging from pop to bluegrass, and country to blues (obviously).

Across the park from the Rock Island is the Zilker Botanical Garden. At the end of March, the Garden put on their 51st Annual Zilker Garden Festival. The festival brings in over 100 vendors from around the area selling a wide variety of plants, herbs, and garden related items. The Garden Council, which is made of 39 different clubs, runs the garden and recently teamed up with ACL Festival promoters C3, who brought in 12 different musical acts to entertain the garden shoppers. Throughout the summer months, the Zilker Botanical Garden will host many other events and seminars such as the Cactus and Succulent show, and Basics on How to Build a Pond.

Though Austin in the summer can be a taxing time to be outside, Zilker park has several reasons to get out and enjoy its wide open spaces.
About the Author
Ki is a Austin realtor that helps buyers and sellers looking for Austin real estate . His site provides information on mortgage interest rates and a free search of the Austin MLS.
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