Let’s go fly a kite at the 90th ABC Kite Fest on March 31, 2019! Whimsical freedom whooshes through the air as tangled colors dance in the wind. Heads are cocked up at the splendiferous Austin skyline, while live music pumps throughout the friendly ambiance.
This is one of my first and fondest Austin memories from childhood: frolicking to ABC Kite Fest at Zilker Park with my family. The community camaraderie and buzz of festival excitement are fitting to our uniquely Austin vibe.
Fittingly, Austin Mayor Steve Adler called ABC Kite Fest a local treasure that encapsulates this “beautiful place with a special spirit and soul (reflecting) Austin’s personality, its people, and its commitment to being a family-friendly city.”
Cause to Celebrate
ABC Kite Fest was founded in 1929 by The Exchange Club of Austin and is produced by Friends of the ABC Kite Fest, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Always intended to serve a nonprofit and civic cause, the festival unites an eclectic mixture of friends, family, and community. Almost a century old, this fun and free event for a great cause is definitely cause to celebrate.
I connected with ABC Home and Commercial Services owner and CEO, Bobby Jenkins, through our fond memories of living in Austin in the 1980s. We’ve witnessed so many changes, while preserving irreplaceable traditions such as ABC Kite Fest.
Jenkins holds a special place in his heart for this tradition, not only as the underwriter for the event, but also because of the close connection to two incredible local nonprofits. Jenkins elaborated, “The ABC Kite Fest fosters creativity in children, and brings families and the Austin community together in an incredibly fun and educational way. As shepherds of this event, it is an honor to be able to give the proceeds from the ABC Kite Fest back to Communities in Schools of Central Texas and the Moss Pieratt Foundation.”
Communities in Schools
Communities in Schools of Central Texas centers its mission on developing an all-encompassing community of support, including a network of volunteers, social services, businesses, and community resources. Working together to break down barriers, the organization aims to empower students with resources and self-efficacy to help students succeed.
Moss Pieratt Foundation
Jenkins has an intimate connection to Moss Pieratt Foundation, which was founded in honor of his late grandson, John “Moss” Pieratt, Jr., born on February 5, 2013, and dying suddenly 15 months later from Sudden Unexplained Death in Children (SUDC).
Moss Pieratt Foundation was formed on July 9, 2015, jointly by the Pieratt and Jenkins families, as a foundation to honor Moss Pieratt’s life, raise funds and awareness for the SUDC cause and cure, and have a civic benefit to the citizens of Austin.
Pieratt’s shortened life left a legacy marked by love for music and family. It seems fitting this annual community music festival would honor his beautiful life and Moss Pieratt Foundation.
What to Expect at ABC Kite Fest
Did someone say music? It wouldn’t be an Austin festival without live music. At the 90th ABC Kite Fest, there will be a children’s concert called MossFest, presented by Texas Mutual.
The children’s concert, held in honor of John “Moss” Pieratt Jr., will feature artists like Barton Hills Choir, Que Pastas, Mr. Will, and Grammy award-winner Dan Zanes with Claudia Eliaza. The music will play from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
And if all that kite flying and music thumping leaves you famished, then have no fear. According to Jenkins, ABC Kite Fest is set to be a “culinary extravaganza” of Austin’s best food and beverage trucks.
In addition to MossFest, the fun-packed day will include:
- Anteater Fun Run, presented by ABC Home & Commercial Services: The 2.1-mile run will kick off the festival at 9:30 a.m. The trail begins at the Zilker moontower and ends inside ABC Kite Fest near the MossFest stage.
- Exchange Club Kite Showcase & Contest, supported by Cap Metro: With categories including the 50-yard dash and “most unusual kite,” as well as expert flyers performing with professional-grade kites, the classic showcase and contest is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free to compete, but with handmade kites only. For more details on categories and registration, visit the ABC Kite Fest website.
- Kids Club, presented by St. David’s Children’s Hospital: Featuring bounce houses, face painting, and more, Kids Club is a day-long activity center for children of all ages.
- High Flyer Club: For attendees interested in VIP parking, all-day food options, and more, High Flyer Club offers designated parking spots and catered eats from Central Market. Tickets are available on the festival website.
- Pet Zone, presented by H-E-B: New for 2019, H-E-B Pet Zone offers owners and their furry friends a special place within the park to enjoy the festival together. The area is complete with dog-friendly activities, including a swimming pool and sunning deck, agility ramp, three-ring jump, tunnel run, and an enclosed puppy playground.
- ABC Kite Fest is partnering with Capitol Metro to offer free bus passes to patrons of the festival.
- Zilker Botanical Gardens, UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, and Rowing Dock will be open to the public the entire day. It will be a perfect day in the park!
Memories for Years to Come at ABC Kite Fest
“As Austin has continued to evolve, holding on to traditions like the kite festival is incredibly special,” Jenkins told me. “There are families of our community, including mine, who keep fond memories of the festival close to their hearts, and we want to make sure that’s a possibility for generations to come.”
This sentiment rings true for me. After years of attending ABC Kite Fest as a child, I eagerly await the chance to take my young family of four. Sharing childhood pastimes with my own children brings forth a whole new level of nostalgic joy.
Whether you have frequented ABC Kite Fest for years or are starting a brand new tradition, the event will not disappoint. So grab a friend, your family, or your dog, and go fly a kite at ABC Kite Fest on March 31!
For all event details, visit the ABC Kite Fest website.
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