Category: Sports & Entertainment

Texas Tailgating Traditions

By Katey Psencik, Austin Powell, and Batli Joselevitz.

 

The concept of tailgating vaguely dates back to the late 1800s during the Civil War, according to the American Tailgate Association. At the Battle of Bull Run civilians had food with them and shouted their support for the Union in hopes of winning the battle. Today, setting up a tent or RV providing food, drinks and televisions for Longhorn football fans brings the University of Texas community together hours before a football game along with many tailgate traditions.

 


Left: Wes, Jeanne and Steve Ply host tailgates full of barbecue and tequila on their favorite tailgating place in the parking lot behind the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. They call their spot “The Hill.”

 

 

Map of available parking during the 2013 Football season at UT-Austin.
General map of Football parking, transportation, and tailgate locations during the 2013 season provided by UT-Austin. 

Photographs of various tailgaters at the Texas Longhorns v Kansas Jayhawks home game November 2, 2013.

 

 

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Tailgating:

 DON’T:

  • Show up to the tailgating area before 7 a.m. You may lose tailgating privileges.

  • When setting up make sure that tents don’t block the sidewalk and fire lanes.

  • Bring your pet. It is really crowded and there is not a lot of space for your furry friend to roam about.

  • When grilling at a tailgate, don’t dispose charcoal, wood or grease in the trash cans, grass, parking lots or street drains.

  • Bring portable restrooms, UT provides portable facilities for Longhorn fans.

  • Organize your own tailgate if it’s your first time. There are many tailgates to join just by walking around Centennial Park.

 DO:

  • Arrive at the tailgate area at 7 a.m. to set up equipment for the day’s activities.

  • Arrive two to four hours before kick-off to find metered parking or park at Bob Bullock Texas History Museum’s underground parking garage.

  • Bring a cooler, sunscreen, camping chair, sunglasses, and friends.

  • Drink a lot of water, it can get very hot early in the season –you want to avoid a heatstroke.

  • Clean up after the tailgate, or else you may be fined.

  • Help out tailgate hosts, such as the Horn-Ball Texas Tailgaters. They provide free food and drinks and could always use an extra hand.

Left: UT alumnus Marcia shares stories of her and her husband’s more than 50 years of attending Texas football games and tailgates. Right: UT alumnus Nick Class plays a tune Longhorn fans know well with an unorthodox instrument.

 

Google map highlights designated tailgate areas near UT-Austin including information on purchasing lots for tailgates and what you may find at certain tailgate events.

 


Native Austinite Cary shares stories of decades of tailgating and family superstitions.

Fable Fest 2013: A Reading Renaissance

By Kari Counter, Alsha Khan, Caroline Manning, Monica Zhang

The sound of clanking metal, classical music, and screaming children cut through the crisp autumn air. Rows of tents filled with food, crafts, and games surrounded the park grounds. Crowds of people wandered throughout the area, among them: Prince Charming, Hansel and Gretal, Katniss Everdeen, and a plethora of Disney princesses.

This was the scene at the Cedar Park Public Library Foundation’s fifth annual Fable Fest, held Nov. 2 at Millburn Park. This year’s event was its biggest and most profitable year to date according to Julia Mitschke, Cedar Park Public Library operations manager, Fable Fest Committee Member, and Fable Fest Founding Committee member.

“We thought, wouldn’t it be fun for the library to have a cool festival that was imagination and fantasy-themed and something that really spoke to literacy but also to storytelling?” said Mitschke. “The Cedar Park Parks and Recreation Department had a lot of really popular family friendly festivals in the past where the whole community came out, so we thought we could do the same thing for the library.”

Fable Fest was created in 2009 as a way to promote and raise money for the Cedar Park Public Library, specifically towards services and technology resources. Part of Fable Fest’s goals is to encourage children to read. To this effect, the winners of the libraries summer reading program are honored at the event, playing a large role in promoting and raising involvement in the program. According to Rebecca Leo, Board Member and chairman of Fable Fest, the emphasis on literacy and the importance of the library are the key reasons for the event.

Cotton Candy was made onsite for festival-goers by Nathan Clements. Photo Credit: Kari Counter

Cotton Candy was made onsite for festival-goers by Nathan Clements. Photo Credit: Kari Counter

“It’s been shown that literacy is extremely important for success in school and all throughout live,” said Leo. “A library is really important to a community because without it, it’s difficult for the entire community to be well-read and to be an intelligent contributing part of the community.”

However, raising money for the library and promoting the summer reading program are not the only goals of Fable Fest. Mitschke says the event is truly a community event focused on bringing Cedar Park together in the context of the library.

“Another goal we have is community outreach and something out in the community that raises visibility of the library,” said Mitschke. “We have a lot of people that come into the library who are already aware of our services, but when we have a festival out in the community, there are people who come who have never heard of the library. They can see the impact it has on the community.”

Since Cedar Park is largely a community of families with young children, Fable Fest encompasses a range of activities and booths to keep children entertained and spark parent’s interest. Troubadour’s Court is the main stage located next to the entrance where the program is directed from and members of the community can put on plays. Acts this year included community theatre group Way Off Broadway and local high school bands and theatre classes.  For the parents, Cobblestone Market provides attendees the opportunity to explore local vendors. This year the vendors included banks, jewelry shops, insurance companies, book stores, and chiropractors among others.

When the kids get hungry, Pig’s Pub contains tents offering a variety of food from cotton candy to grilled corn to hot dogs. King’s Carnival includes three areas for kids to enjoy offering games sponsored by local companies, opportunities to win toys, Mother Goose’s reading tent, face painting and other craft activities, and bouncy houses. There are also activity areas with jousting shows, two blacksmiths at work, a petting zoo, and a train for kids.

Blacksmith at Fable Fest demonstrated how to make steel instruments and decorations. Photo Credit: Kari Counter

Blacksmith at Fable Fest demonstrated how to make steel instruments and decorations. Photo Credit: Kari Counter

“The blacksmith helped kids make rods out of steel. They took a hammer and when it was red hot, they’d hit the steel with it,” said Leo of the blacksmiths.

The myriad of events and tents at the festival called for a number of volunteers from the community to make Fable Fest successful. According to Mitschke, most the volunteers are members of the community with no direct affiliation to the library, which indclude high school students, service organizations, and community groups. The help of these volunteers and the variety of offerings at Fable created for a successful event all around.

“It was really fun to see happy vendors, happy people at Fable Fest, and to see the library being promoted as well,” said Leo.

That success transferred into the profits Fable Fest yielded. According to Leo this was the best year yet and financially more successful than any prior year. Profits come from vendors, sponsors, and ticket sales. This year’s title sponsor was Signature Eyecare, a local eye care facility run by Dr. Lou.

When the event first started in 2009 it raised $2,500 for the library, this year Fable Fest provided the library with $21,000. Even from last year’s profits, that is a 21 percent increase in profits. Mitschke has been pleased to see an increase in profits and participation over the years.

“We’ve had an increase in the number of people that come every year and an increase in the amount of money we’ve been able to raise for the library every year,” said Mitschke. “It’s just gotten bigger and bigger.”

Attendance at the festival and profits are not the only aspects of Fable Fest to increase. The event itself has expanded over the year especially from last year to this year. For example, the number of vendors nearly doubled from 22 last year to 42 this year. Despite all the success the event still had room to grow according to Mitschke and Leo. Mitscheke says the board wants to incorporate falconry and archery to accompany jousting and the blacksmiths in the activities area next year. While Leo says the board is looking to expand the appeal of the festival beyond families with young children.

“We want to make it a little more teenager and adult-oriented so our plan is to go to other Renaissance festivals and tailor it to older crowds,” said Leo.

These possible improvements serve the common goal of the board towards the continued success of the festival and promotion of the library and literacy in the Cedar Park community.  Or as Mitschke puts it: “We just want to grow every year.”

Fable Fest

Castle Hill Graffiti Park

Castle Hill Graffiti Park on Make A Gif

By: Jeffrey Kahn, Lauren Giudice, Sheila Buenrostro

The HOPE Outdoor Gallery is one of the largest outdoor galleries in Texas and provides people the opportunity to display their artwork on a large-scale. The goal of the space is for people to paint or spray inspirational and motivational messages on the wall.

The three-story project is located at 11th and Baylor and although artists had used it for many years, the HOPE Project officially opened it in March of 2011.

Texas Commission on the Arts Deputy Director Joe Bob McMillan believes there is a need for public art in cities. “Public art can be an enhancement, it can lighten up communities, it can be a point of discussion, it can be a way to bring the community together,” McMillan said.

“So there are various reasons that public art is commissioned for different places. It is a way that the city can beautify and enliven the city. They’ve chosen to put resources into it.”

The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) focuses on helping non-profit organizations, art organizations and institutions. The commission gives these groups grants and support.

The HOPE Outdoor Gallery and the other HOPE Projects have unique goals. According to the HOPE website, “We create events that mobilize people to get involved and help projects and organizations around the world. Through events and our ongoing projects, HOPE provides ways for artists and musicians to collaborate and donate their talent and influence – contributing creative value instead of simply writing a check.”

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McMillan said public art has special value when it helps make the public aware of social, environmental or public issues. He specifically mentioned an installation in Houston that draws attention to water shortages. It can play a role in making the public aware of certain issues,” McMillan said. “It can promote discussion.”

The Artists

 

Living Life in Flexion

A first world problem affecting millions

By: Sheila Buenrostro, Joshua Fechter and Sarah Foster

 

 

An epidemic has slowly creeped into nearly every crevice of society. It affects children in classrooms, people working in office buildings and families on the couch watching television.

The name of this disease: sitting.

Several studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods puts people at higher risks for mental illness or death caused by heart disease. Sitting also causes long-term muscle imbalances, muscle aches and joint discomfort. The muscles in the neck, back and glutes to be long, but weak and the muscles in the chest, hip flexors and hamstrings to be shortened and tight.

In 2012, a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity showed that people spent a weekly average of 64 hours sitting, 11 hours engaging in non-exercising walking and 28 hours standing. The study found it didn’t matter whether study participants exercised for the weekly recommendation of 150 minutes.

Another 2012 study conducted by the Obesity Society found that adults spend more time sitting while they work than they do on off days.

This can lead to depressive symptoms — as a September 2013 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed — or heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Austin chiropractor Dr. Jim Lay said sitting for long stretches can also affect muscle conditions and how people move because bodies are designed for more activity and diverse movement patterns than spending eight to 10 hours sitting.

“If you jumped on one foot for 8 hours, you would see that foot start to wear down,” he said.

He said if one or two joints aren’t functioning correctly because of misuse, other joints take up that range of motion and “that’s when dysfunction starts happening.”

Lay said “authentic posture,” or proper posture, could alleviate some problems he sees from his patients, who often complain of pelvic dysfunction caused by long periods of sitting or neck pain caused by holding themselves in a fixed position — say, in order to look at a computer monitor — for elongated stretches.

“It’s like wearing out a tire and then doing a race,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to keep the car on the track.”

Exercises to strengthen the weakened muscles:

Stretches to loosen up the tightened muscles:

Elise Lai
Elise Lai, ACE certified personal trainer at the University of Texas and a Senior Assistant at San Jacinto Chiropractic