Living in a city that embraces its weirdness is probably the most incredible thing in the world. But, what is weird? According to Webster, weird is defined as suggesting something supernatural, others go on to define it as strikingly odd, or interesting. Austin, Texas is a mixture of old western meets weird. It is dogs riding in strollers, graffiti passions sprayed onto walls, old saloons with two-stepping country music, and an extensive music scene all combined into one thriving city. Weird really is whatever you want it to be. It is eclectic, it is uncensored, raw, vulnerable, and it’s HERE all over this city. Here are 5 festivals to embrace weird, whatever that means to you.
1. Run the slowest 5k on the planet at the Keep Austin Weird Fest & 5K
Photo via Keep Austin Weird
When: Saturday, June 24th, 2017
Where: Starts downtown Austin
What: An ode to keeping Austin as weird as possible, this 5k is crowned the slowest in the world, with 10 wacky stops and a festival at the finish line.
Why you need to go: To see a gathering of the nuttiest, craziest, weirdest costumes in Austin.
2. Embrace your inner kiddo at Eeyore’s Birthday Bash
When: Last Saturday in April
Where: Pease District Park, Austin TX
What: The 53rd free celebration of Austinites brings together a multitude of characters – even more diverse than Winnie The Pooh and Eeyore themselves. It is a true Austin celebration of hippie, Eeyore-loving animals getting together to dress up, drink, and enjoy each other’s weirdness.
Why you need to go: The celebration was organized starting in 1963 as a play off the gloomy, pessimistic Eeyore who thinks everyone forgot his birthday, only to be surprised with a party. What started as a gathering place for hippies, beer-drinkers, and honey-bees has transformed into a full-fledged festival for the eclectic souls of Austin. It’s totally free, you get to dress up and embrace your inner child while drinking craft beers and supporting local Austin non-profits. Why wouldn’t you partake in henna, face-painting, nipple tassels, live music, and a whole lotta weirdness?
3. Get cheesy at the Quesoff
Photo via Mohawk
Where: The Mohawk
What: A collection of queso and newly added guac enthusiasts mixing together to compete for a chance to wear the Best Queso in Town hat. There are over 25 teams competing in five categories – meaty, spicy, veggie, wildcard, and the Guacoff. Austin is known for its Tex-Mex scene and it is hard to go a weekend without dipping warm tortilla chips into a gooey concoction of spices and creamy cheese – but who is the best of the best in Austin? Find out at the Quesoff!
Why you need to go? Because MORE GUAC+QUESO ALWAYS & FOREVER.
4. Get a taste of the wild west at Rodeo Austin
Photo via Rodeo Austin
When: March 11-25th, 2017
Where: 9100 Decker Lake Rd, Austin, TX 78724
What: The Rodeo Austin has been a tradition since 1938, but has grown from a 16-animal live-stock fair to a 2-week extravaganza. Slip on your cow boy boots and slip into the western world. Last year’s festival included 130 live music performances with a feature performance by the one and only Willie Nelson. Visitors from across the country come to show off their livestock, the fair grounds open at 10 am and have enough activities for the entire family. From bull riding to barrel racing and steer wrestling, the top 10 pro rodeo circuit is here to put on a show and fight for the title.
Why you need to go: It is the cross section between weird and western – the ultimate mix of smokey BBQ, blue jeans, cowboy hats, a world-class livestock show, and even a PROtop 10 Rodeo. http://www.rodeoaustin.com/
5. Explore the bizarre on the Weird Homes Tour
Photo via Weirdhomestour
When: October 8th, 2016
Where: WEIRDEST HOMES IN AUSTIN
What: Okay, I realize it isn’t a ‘festival’ but come on, it’s an event that just had to be added. Founded to unleash creativity and open up the Austin community and beyond to the wild worlds living inside people’s walls.
Why you need to go: You can wander into a house called the earth bag, literally made of burlap sacks and dirt, or enter the ‘Queen of the Weird’ casa filled with eclectic furniture and bright colors, or learn how Kasita (a mini-dwelling) is taking minimalism to a whole new level.
Whether you live in Austin or are just coming for a weekend jaunt, try to squeeze in some of the local weirdness by attending one of these festivals. The city continues to draw hundreds of new residents a day, and some argue the ‘weirdness’ of Austin is becoming diluted, but I disagree. Weird is out there waiting for you in Austin, you just have to find it!