Sunday, March 1, 2015, is the 86th annual Zilker Kite Festival. (It should have been the 87th, but last year’s rainy weather forced the event’s cancelation for the first time since 1929.)
If you’ve never been to the Fest, be sure to expect crowds — like, music festival–type crowds. With a kid in a wagon or stroller, it can be a stop-and-start endeavor at best to navigate the grassy field where everyone gathers to fly their kites. (This field is called Peace Grove, and it’s the same open area that accommodates the Trail of Lights, soccer games and other events.) For my family, wearing the kids in baby carriers or frame backpacks seems easier than bringing them in a stroller or wagon, since we take up less space that way.
The City of Austin has temporarily banned public gatherings. Please stay home. The Free Fun in Austin calendar is only for live digital events at this time.
I’m always looking for ways to avoid driving and parking, which usually means walking or biking instead. Two years ago, when we took our daughter, Pearl, to the festival, we opted to park at my brother’s house in Clarksville and then bike from there to the park. It’s an easy trip from the north side of the river. With the kids in backpacks or a bike trailer, it’s a fun journey down the paths and over the bridges that crisscross the central part of our city.
What to bring:
- your kite, if you’re bringing one — though it’s not necessary; you can purchase or build a kite at the event or just enjoy the incredible sight of thousands of kites aloft in the air (or tangled in tree branches, as the case may be!)
- blanket to sit on and/or chairs-in-a-bag
- water bottles and snacks, in a small bag or cooler (large coolers aren’t allowed on the shuttles, and are too heavy and bulky to lug around the crowded park anyway)
- sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat (and maybe a sweatshirt, depending on the weather!)
- comfortable, closed-toed shoes for walking longer distances
- cash for the shuttle, if applicable, and for any food or goodies you might buy at the event
- a few toys or books to keep younger kids occupied, and comfort items like a small pillow or cuddly blanket in case anyone wants to take a nap
- doggie waste bags and a water bowl, if you bring your pup
- Zilker Kite Festival, Sunday, March 1, 2015, 10 AM – 5:30 PM
- Rain Date: Sunday, March 8, 2015 (Check the Facebook page for weather updates.)
- Directions and parking/shuttle information
- Note that Barton Springs Road will be closed for the event from 9 AM to 6 PM on Sunday, and Lou Neff Road, the little road running through the park that connects to Barton Springs Road, will be closed starting Saturday afternoon. DO NOT EXIT BARTON SKYWAY OR ROLLINGWOOD/2244. Exiting from Mopac onto Barton Springs Road will probably be next to impossible, and the Lamar/Barton Springs intersection will be congested too. If you aim to drive to the event, be sure to plan your route accordingly!