Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Honk!Tx parade 2013: a thrill for the third year

Thank you, Honk!TX for parading again this year. Portable music that lifts the spirits and does not require protection for the ears is in scant supply and for that reason very, very welcome.

Even the many dogs along the parade route looked happy. Children appeared to be happier still.

Every group in the parade was a delight, and there was some wonderful musicianship. Among the extensive list of those in the parade, there’s no way to pick favorites, really, but we truly did love the Biohazard Brass Band, a super-sharp military aggregation, here all the way from Fort Sam in San Antonio.

We were so busy listening, marching, and watching that we took few pictures with the toy camera and not many unedited videos, either, but they are souvenirs of a wonderful day.

Rudolph’s marks the beginning of the holiday season

Look for Rudolph’s Christmas tree lot at the corner of South Lamar and Bluebonnet; the big red-and-white striped tent protecting the Fraser firs and all the other trees catches the eye right away, even though the signs are still being put in place. This image shows new ornamentation for the sales booth. I don’t know whether we were the first customers today, but we certainly enjoyed our choice of the very freshest trees, aromatic and drinking water right away when set up ready to be decorated. There may be less expensive trees in town, but no friendlier welcome or better quality is to be found than at Rudolph’s.

Veterans’ Day: patriotic concert

The jazz band performed first, and then the 36th Infantry Division concert band, which appeared to be the jazz band plus many additional musicians. Another configuration of the band marched in the Congress Avenue parade earlier in the day. These are musicians of the highest ability. There can be no finer setting for music than the outdoor terrace at the Long Center for the performing arts, with its spectacular view of the downtown Austin skyline. The capacity audience was delighted from start to finish by the spirited and stirring music. Also heard was a traditional recitation piece called “A Toast to the Flag.” The jazz program included the best performance of “In the Mood” that I’ve ever heard. We were treated to a Filmore march (“Americans We”) and two Sousa gems, complete with piccolo embellishments (“Washington Post” and “Stars and Stripes Forever”). Musician and vocalist SPC Bonnie Wellington sang a moving “America the Beautiful.” Austin is indeed the live music capital of the world. The toy-camera images and unedited videos do not come close to doing justice to this occasion.

Veterans’ Day: parade with flying colors

On the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it was a glorious day for a parade to observe Veterans’ Day. As always the valiant Cardinal band from Del Valle marched and played, and all welcomed the returned 36th Infantry Division Band. The image here shows the flag flying from a crane near the start of the parade, which began on the bridge and proceeded up Congress to the Capitol. Other diversion was provided by a picturesque person on a bicycle who did a good bit of shouting and told a police officer (at a rather high volume and close to the officer’s face), “It’s not against the law to yell.” Pictures of the parade taken by a toy camera and unedited videos convey only a bit of this spirited event.

Welcome home!

Congress Avenue was made for parades; the Welcome Home, Iraq Veterans parade was made for Congress Avenue. On July 7, we marched up Congress Avenue to the Capitol grounds and then we returned on foot all the way back to the downtown side of the bridge. Many of us followed the wonderful band of the 36th Infantry Division of Camp Mabry, which sounds better than ever. It’s been a long time since we were privileged to hear this outfit. What spirit the band brought to the occasion! Five brass Sousaphones! Trombones out front! Mere pictures and videos cannot capture the event, but they’re souvenirs to remind us of the day and all the volunteers who created the tribute. Thank you!

Juneteenth parade a spirited event

This year’s Juneteenth parade brought together the largest number of club riders on gaited horses that most of us have ever seen in one place at one time. Missing dignitaries were Austin mayor Leffingwell and council-members Riley and Cole. The elected officials drawing the greatest positive response at our viewing point across from the Fresh Up Club sign were the county judge, the county sheriff, and precinct constable Danny Thomas. Only one marching band turned out, the Greater Houston All Star Band. The percussionists of Spirit of the Drum made lively music, and the ladies drawing sweet music from the pans were most welcome. Volunteers seeking voters to register were having a degree of success. We talked to four of them and saw more; they were covering the entire parade route. The best prize seen was a bouncy soccer-style ball bestowed on a child very happy to receive it. We came home with a new supply of souvenir fans to take to other free Austin hot-weather events and to cool us in the yard when we escape the non-air-conditioned confines of the house this summer. Toy-camera photos and unedited videos give only a hint of the always joyous occasion of the annual Juneteenth parade.

Train-o-mania 2012

The steam locomotive didn’t make it as far as Austin, but there’s a great big powerful post-WWII E-9 Streamliner hauling the Union Pacific special train that arrived in Austin today, right on time. Visit this special train at the Amtrak station all day tomorrow, Wednesday, April 18; from 10 am to 5 pm, there’ll be an open house on the train. Watch it depart Thursday, 19 April, day after tomorrow, at 8 am, if all goes according to schedule. It will head south from the Amtrak station, cross the railroad bridge over the river, and then run along the Butler Park pitch-and-putt course.

Steam locomotive 844 was in Austin six years ago in May and was a majestic sight arriving and departing, but this newer locomotive is a handsome exemplar of industrial might, too.

A few more toy-camera images and some unedited videos of today’s arrival are available.

The current special train goes on to San Marcos, where the mayor will greet its arrival and a band will play. Thereafter, it will spend a few days in San Antonio for Fiesta, before moving on to Houston and, eventually, to New Orleans.

Honk!TX: honk if you love it

Music and spectacle, all free; what more could anyone want on a beautiful spring day! Honk!TX community bands paraded from east to west this year, instead of from west to east as was done last year–beginning at Pan Am park instead of disbanding there.

We kept to the east side of IH-35 again this year, where the streets are shadier and quieter and more peaceful, and we’re not sorry that we did. Two art bicycles turned out again. Music was accompanied by stilt walkers, twirlers of hula hoops, and figures on sticks (see picture).

Here’s a list of the bands participating; Austin’s own Minor Mishap Marching Band took the lead.

Here are some still images, and YouTube is a good place to search for unedited and edited videos. Anyone who missed this weekend festival lost out on a happy Austin time.

Texas Independence Day parade

Texas Independence Day was yesterday, but the Texas Independence Day parade was today.

Spirits were high, even though turnout was low, perhaps because of the blustery weather. This longhorn was a great favorite of the crowd. We all loved the East Side Panther Band.

We’ve never seen so many replicas of the “Come and take it” Gonzalez flag in one place. See some and images of more parade participants here.

Fresh Plus at fresh location

new Fresh Plus groceryOpen just since yesterday, the third store for Fresh Plus now occupies the location where neighbors shopped happily when it was a Sun Harvest store before being fixed up as a Sprouts market and then closed.

Everything we have come to love at Fresh Plus (once Kash-Karry) on West Lynn is now available at 2917 West Anderson Lane (telephone 419-7379).

There’s a butcher counter and an extensive produce department. The fish appeared to be in an excellent state of freshness. We found such local favorites as Buddy’s Natural Chicken, a complete range of soaps and other products from South Austin People (So.A.P.), and Margarita’s delicious tortillas in all varieties. The store is still being stocked, so let people there know what you’d like to see. There’s plenty of space. Parking is ample, the staff is friendly and helpful, and shopping is fast.

We love our family-owned local businesses!

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