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Awesome Austin throws a party

Ponder this. What if downtown Austin were to have a sudden mushrooming of 9,000 people? If all those people would cluster in that one spot — a crowd of approximately one third of our population — and it would happen within the confines of only two days?

Never happen, you say. Will happen, I say!

But, of course it will. And you would be wise to prepare yourselves for fun because, indeed, in only two weeks an explosion of people will occur. No, no they’re not interested in witnessing the reincarnation of Elvis from his heretofore undisclosed grave in Oakwood Cemetery. Neither will they assemble on Austin’s east side to see Amelia Earhart and her long lost plane being pulled piece-by-chunk from the murky depths of the East Side Lake. Puleeeze.

Quite honestly, such trivialities pale in comparison to the real reason folks will convene in downtown Austin. Don’t you see? It’s the annual ArtWorks Festival! For the eighth time it’s about to happen. Aug. 24-25 are the dates and, trust me, it’s going to be a doozy.

Fifty-six — 56! — artists will be displaying their creations. Think about it. That’s like multiplying ArtWorks 56 times. It will be a massive cornucopia of ingenuity, talent and wonder made real by real people. I caution you to wear protective eye wear to cut down on the glittery glam of it all.

Artists will travel here from seven different states. Mind you, this is NOT egg carton craft! No, no! Throughout the past year artists have been submitting their work — along with the awards and honors it has received — to a quartet of four local jurors (all artists themselves). The art was then scrupulously judged on its quality, originality and impact.

If you are someone who fancies ceramics, embroidery, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, paper, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and wood, then these are the folks for you. All of them will be only minutes away from your house; right here in our town.

Furthermore, there will be 16 different music ensembles performing in every nook and cranny of downtown, plus seven artists’ trunk shows and five special exhibits of additional extraordinary art. And if you love books, twelve noted authors will be — in the flesh — presenting their work at Sweet Reads. Even the brand new Yarn Van (a new Austin mobile shop featuring the best yarn available) will be there. Oh, and did I mention food? Naturally there will be food. Piles and bundles and stacks of it.

WARNING: your senses are about to be stunned into overload!!!!

Aside from all the before mentioned, here’s the best part. You, too, will be able to participate in the Art Festival. You can get your crafty hands into the mix in the Family Arts Tent where tables will be loaded with art supplies awaiting your inspiration. The Volkswagen Beetle will be there to anticipate your own unique brush strokes, mountains of yarn will yearn to be strung by you on the String Box Shanty, you will hear Mexican pinatas crying out to be whacked by you, a unity project will be begging for your input, a sidewalk chalk contest will hold its chalky breath for your participation, and even harmonica lessons will be offered for the musical wannabe in you.

And here’s the fabulous flabbergastitious (just made that up!) kicker. All this splendor is FREE !!!! Wow! Did you get that? Why, it’s almost too much for the soul to bear.

To be sure, it must be said that you seniors who may be thinking that this is way too much for you, please know with assurance that you have not been overlooked. Umpteen sit-down places will be available for resting your weary, over-taxed bones. Even folks with no weary, over-taxed bones may sit!

For the high-energy night owls who can’t get enough splendiferousness during the day, the Schindler Celebration (in memory of Dick Schindler and his love of life and people) will be held in the evening on Aug. 24 at the Paramount Theater. The featured artist will be Max Weinberg, who you may know as the long time band leader for the late night Conan O’Brien Show. He has also been a regular with Bruce Springstein. This concert will not be your run-of-the-mill kind of show as Max and his band will take requests from the audience and then play them especially for you.

Admission to a momentous concert like this normally costs from $75-$100, but because of the generous support of the Mayo Clinic, it is being offered for only $25 if purchased in advance, and $30 on the day of the show. Contact ArtWorks for your tickets, but do not delay.

So, there you have it. Why not grab your spouse, your kids, the neighbor kids, somebody else’s kids, or some random strange kids and their even stranger random parents, and come on down to Main Street for Awesome Austin’s last big summer bash? It’s party time!