Holiday Event Spotlight: Downtown Austin is the place to be on Saturday

I always love a good parade- ones with marching bands, floats, and funky cars.  Instead of the excitement fading away as the parade nears the end, the enthusiasm always builds as this special parade travels down Congress to the moment when the children get to bring their toy donations to the trucks!   The Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade, one of my very favorite events of the year, is coming up this weekend!

In it’s 24th year, the Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade has provided hundreds of thousands of toys to Austin-area children. The co-owner of Chuy’s, Mike Young, decided to canvas the downtown streets of Austin collecting toys while putting on a parade in an effort to collect even more toys two years in to his annual toy drive. Since then, children and adults alike in Austin have attended this very popular event.

Beginning at 11:00 am this Saturday, December 1, 2012, the parade filled with giant inflatable balloons, local bands, famous children’s characters, festive holiday floats, Austintatious people, classic cars, marching bands and an appearance by the most popular man of the season, Santa, will begin it’s annual trek down Congress Avenue. What do you have to do?

  • Bring a new, unwrapped toy. Towards the end of the parade procession, Santa’s helpers will collect the toys that will be given to a child through the Operation Blue Santa program.
  • Arrive somewhat early, especially if you would like a good spot.
  • Bring snacks! In my experience, the kids always get hungry while waiting for the parade to start. In year’s past, we settled close to Little City to have access to fresh coffee, pastries and a toilet (just in case). Now that they are gone, plan ahead and bring your own supplies!
  • Congress Ave. and many streets close to Congress will be blocked off. Plan to walk. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a wagon, stroller- whatever device needed for the young ones to be comfortable so you don’t have to carry them to and fro.
  • Parking: It is a popular event so there are lots of people vying for the same parking spot. Arrive at least 45 minutes early and you should be fine. The parade begins at the State Capital (11th and Congress) and ends at Cesar Chavez so that leaves plenty of spots around downtown for parking.
  • Bring an extra jacket or a blanket for yourself and the kids. While the high temperature on Saturday should be close to 80 degrees, the morning will start off on the cool side, and it always seems a notch chillier downtown with all of the concrete and shade from the tall buildings.
  • HAVE FUN! Dance when the marching bands play so that I’m not the only dorky mama out there getting down to the sounds, wave to all the people in the procession and enjoy this wonderful Austin tradition with your family.

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THEN… Head over to 10th Street and Red River for some Germany-style Christmas shopping at the German-Texan Heritage Society’s Annual Christmas Market from 10:00am- 4:00pm!

  • Hand crafted wooden items from Germany’s Erzgebirge region
  • Bavarian Tolework  
  • Blown Glass Ornaments  
  •  Embroidered Linens
  • Lots of Delicious home baked sweets & treats
  • All Sales are Tax Free!

Traditional German Christmas Music plus a special visit by St. Nikolaus at the historic German Free School, 507 E 10th Street, Austin, 78701, near the corner of 10th and Red River.

Lunch available from VERTS Döner Kebap, serving Berlin-inspired meat & veggie sandwiches!

The market will also be open on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec 5 and 6,  from 12 noon till 4 pm (sales tax will be charged these days).

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If you still have energy for more holiday festivities, stick around for the Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll from 6:00- 9:00pm!

The Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll is a FREE family-friendly event that begins with community caroling at the Capitol grounds led by John Aielli, host of the KUT 90.5 show Eklektikos. When the caroling ends, the holiday tree in front of the Capitol is lit and participants stroll down Congress Avenue where they find the street alive with music, art, shopping and more.

‘Tis the season to be jolly help the hungry. Don’t forget to bring $3 or 3 canned goods to help your neighbors & support the Capital Area Food Bank!