Nothing better for the weekend on which the annual hellscape of summer officially begins – we're talking about Saturday, June 23rd – than to spend a little quality time at the Austin Ice Cream Festival at Fiesta Gardens.
It’s the 12th year for this celebration of frozen dairy treats, this sweet-and-creamy, sample-happy, live-music-infused diversion from the doldrums of summertime boredom.
You can guess that, since this festival’s been happening successfully for a dozen years, then they’ve figured out just how to make it enjoyable. And they have, with more than 20 local and national vendors offering free delectable bites (and selling larger portions, yes), and all manner of contests and other fun activities, and live bands, and –
Hold on, you know what’s really cool?
What’s really cool is that the daytime part of the festival is all family-friendly, as they say, right? Kids running around and getting their ice-cream fixes, tanking up on a variety of cold and flavored delights and doing all their sugar-fueled kid-centric things, outdoors, away from all those, you know, screens.
(And of course you’ll be part of that whole scene, too, because Amy’s Ice Creams. Because Teo Gelato. Because Swoon and Thai Fresh and Moojo and, whoa, the things your tongue will be bathed in that day!)
But then, the part we’re suggesting is really cool? Because we’re not kids anymore? When six o’clock rolls around, the whole gig transforms into an adult-oriented, booze-infused soirée with headlining musicians Lee Fields & The Expressions, Tameca Jones, and DJ Mel … they’re calling it After Dark: Party in the Park … and still the ice cream keeps a-coming. Because, you know what? Because frozen boozy treats, and much first-weekend-night-of-summer reveling among your friends and neighbors.
(Note: It’s not all dairy. There’s a fair amount of nondairy frozen goodness to be had, too. Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs will be among the vendors, for instance, and Goodpop. And others, yes; but just the thought of those two is stoking our frosty anticipation. And there’ll also be savory options amid all the sweetness. Ranch Hand! Evil Weiner! Shawarma Point! Because when has Austin not been about food trucks, right? Since before Les Amis closed?)
So, there’s the main contest in the daytime, to decide which of all the purveyors has, according to a set of perhaps arcane criteria, the best frozen delicacy. And, in the interests of full disclosure, please be aware that your current reporter – Hi, it's Brenner again – is one of the judges for that contest.
(Note: Yes, in the interests of full disclosure. Of journalistic integrity. Not so you’ll know who to bribe, okay? This is the Austin Ice Cream Festival, not the federal government, so you just go ahead and text me priva – I mean, BACK AWAY WITH YOUR PAYOLA, NOW.)
And, let’s see, what else, what else … ?
Oh, right: There’s live music in the daytime, too, not just during the grownup-grooving After Dark part, and that daytime lineup features sets by The Wild Now and Mélat.
Reckon we’ve covered everything now. Although, ah, you can get further details and updates at the festival’s website, of course. And tickets, yes – if you haven’t already clicked on any of the previous AICF links, you can get your tickets right here as well.
And we’ll see you at Fiesta Gardens on June 23rd, then – probably with an ice-cream-smeared grin on our face.
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