AUSTIN – Nothing says fall like a festival: mark your calendars for Oct. 19’s Falls Fest hosted by Austin’s own McKinney Falls State Park. The festival runs from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. with hands-on programs and activities for everyone.
“This event is a fantastic excuse to get out with family and friends while still staying close to home and learning about Austin history,” said ranger Amber Conrad. “It’s a mini stay-cation adventure for those in the capital city area complete with crafts and archery practice.”
This year Falls Fest will feature prehistoric hunting tool use such as atlatl throwing and archery activities, guided tours of the park, a live animal program, a geocaching challenge, fishing 101, a fishing contest, crafts, food and live music by homegrown artists. The festival focuses on archeological themes of the park to give visitors a peak into the lives of nomadic tribes, international travelers and some of the first settlers of Texas.
Guided tours at the event include a two-mile Homestead Hike and half mile Nomadic Peoples Rock Shelter walk. Programs at the event include a Geocaching 101 workshop held at the top of each hour, a live animal program with snakes and a bobcat, fishing 101 demonstrations and an altalt history talk. All programs and tours are held or start in or around the Smith Visitor Center.
“It is just such a chill time,” said college student Virginia Roberts. “You listen to local music sets while learning about stuff like throwing an atlatl. I remember them saying those things can stab through a car door. I got pretty good at throwing one.”
Other Falls Fest attendees like Andrew Bates, 4, look forward to the event so they can catch their first fish using the equipment and bait provided at Falls Fest. Andrew’s mom Susan Gebhard says he already has lots of practice in pretending to catch fish in the pond at Northwest Park. When asked what he thinks the best part about catching a real fish will be, Andrew enthusiastically responded “the catching part!”
This event is open to the public and free after the park entry fee of $6. Children 12 years of age and younger and State Park Pass holders are admitted to the park without charge. Event goers are asked to bring cash for concessions such as bottled water and snacks. McKinney Falls is completely within the city limits of Austin and features two natural water falls, miles of hiking and biking trails, campgrounds and the City of Austin’s Tree of the Year “Old Baldy”.
Proceeds from the event go to the Friends of McKinney Falls State Park, a non-profit organization which works with the park on improvements and educational programs.
For more information or to register your group for a special raffle please contact Ranger Amber Conrad at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-415-8793. To follow current event schedules and other information go to the Falls Fest facebook page or follow @mckinneyfalls on Twitter. To learn more about McKinney Falls visit the park’s facebook page.