Words by Kristen Olson
Once the calendar flips over from July to August, it’s easy to start thinking about the busy fall ahead rather than the summer that remains. It may be the official back-to-school season, but there’s no shortage of activities in Austin to keep you feeling summery. Take a break from planning your fall schedule and shopping for notebooks by going to any of these August events—if you like puppies and ice cream, this month is for you.
Blues on the Green
The most classic summertime tradition in Austin has its final hurrah of the summer on August 2, so pack up your picnic baskets and blankets one last time and head on over to Blues on the Green. Since half the city will be staking out at Zilker for the live music, be sure to arrive early, claim your spot, and pass the time swimming in Barton Springs. There’s no better way to end a sunny afternoon in the mesmerizingly teal swimming hole than with summer’s best free concert.
Austin Ice Cream Festival
While it sounds like a dream, the Austin Ice Cream Festival is a most delightful reality and has been an ice cream lovers’ paradise for the past 11 years. Exchange your sampling tickets for scoops from more than 20 Frozen Treat Partners, including Amy’s, GoodPop, Snow Monster, Steel City Pops, Cold Cookie Co. and more. There’s also local live music, carnival-like games, savory food options, and contests for ice cream eating, frozen treat making, and Popsicle stick sculptures. At 7 p.m., a classic summer movie will play in the park. It’ll make you wish summer could last forever.
Austin Bat Fest
Congress Avenue Bridge
If you happen to have a bat costume gathering dust in the closet, now’s the time to break it out. Austin Bat Fest celebrates our local little creatures right on top of the bridge that they love to call home. During the day, participate in the bat costume contest ($100 prize!), stroll the vendors that line the entire Congress Bridge, and listen to music at three different stages. At dusk, snag a spot at the bridge’s edge to see 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge for their nightly flight.
Hot Sauce Festival
Embrace the heat at The Austin Chronicle’s annual Hot Sauce Festival! It hosts a huge hot sauce competition awarding individuals’ entries and restaurant entries, as well as a People’s Choice and Celebrity Judges’ Choice for commercial bottlers. Wing eating contests, samples, sauce vendors, culinary demonstrations, and local restaurant tastings are just some other events that help spice up this bold festival. It also serves as a major fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank, so bring less-spicy, non-perishable goods to donate at the door.
Indulge in a little summer horror marathon at the Paramount Theatre during Hitchcock Week, one of the installments of their Summer Classic Film Series. For one week in August, the theatre will screen Hitchcock thrillers like Psycho, Frenzy, and The Birds in 35mm film. If you’ve had enough of flying birds after visiting Bat Fest, feel free to attend a different Summer Classic showing—E.T., Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and 12 Angry Men are all parts of some other installments taking place throughout the month.
Paddle for Puppies
Rowing Dock, 2418 Stratford Drive
Benefiting the Parvo Puppy Program at Austin Pets Alive!, Paddle for Puppies is arguably the best fundraiser in the entire world. During the event, 500 dog lovers and their pups take over Lady Bird Lake for a 5-mile course on kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddleboards, with 100% of the gross dollars raised going straight towards APA’s ICU for puppies infected with parvovirus. From tiny pugs to sporty Labradors, you’ll spot dozens of breeds taking in the sun from the middle of the lake. Check out the video from last year’s event for all the adorableness.