Texas Tribune Festival, Day 1

Thursday, 9-27-2019

We piled in the car and headed west to Austin, too early to be considered a ride off into the sunset, but with plenty of time to make it to our destination: the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival.  The three-hour trip from Huntsville went by quickly, as our group of LEAP Ambassadors and friends chatted along the way, sharing life and prior travel experiences.

The festival hub wasn’t too far from the hotel, and with a coolish breeze, we chose to walk, meandering through the Capitol grounds on the way…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin Texas

….but without any prolonged stopping – we needed to check in at TribFest before attending the opening keynote, by Congressman Will Hurd.  We were pleasantly surprised with no waiting in line to get our credentials.

Once we crossed the street toward the Paramount Theater, though, we became immediately aware that, despite leaving what we thought was adequate time, we were most likely not going to see the inside.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin Texas

The line stretched out along the entire block, around the corner, and then up and around the next block.  We trudged to the end, mainly because it was uphill and afforded a better picture of the line.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Texas Tribune Festival, Representative Will Hurd

We commiserated with our nearby co-queuers, then decided to take in some of downtown Austin by foot, and find an early dinner.

We stopped at Second Bar + Kitchen on Congress & Second.  Everything looked good on the menu, and we selected a variety: crispy brussells sprouts, black truffle pommes frites, pepperoni soup…

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin Texas, 2nd Kitchen

…a couple of pizzas: black + bleu and eggplant + goat cheese (hold the goat!)…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Texas Tribune Festival, Representative Will Hurd

…and a couple of Congress burgers.

SHSU, LEAP Ambassadors, LEAP Center, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin Texas, 2nd Kitchen

No one was dissatisfied – and no one had room for dessert, a shame.

An after-dinner walk was an easy group decision.  And since we were so close, we had to detour down to the Congress Avenue Bridge. We were too late to see the bats up close, or the sunset, but we could see clouds of bats in the distance, making their way to get their own dinner.  We started the slower climb uphill back to our hotel, stopping along the way to briefly check out the wonderfully weird architecture of Austin’s City Hall…

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, Texas Tribune Festival, Austin City Hall

…and a brief stop by Austin City Limits, another monument to the city’s long history of promoting great, local music.

After a brief review of tomorrow’s early-morning plans, we retired earlier than the “LEAP Trip” usual time.  We will need the rest for the next two days of politics, politics, and more politics at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival!

 

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to news stories, having contributed more than 50 pieces in the past year. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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