I have to admit that before I moved to Waco eight years ago I had never really spent any significant amount of time here. Sure, I had passed through plenty of times on I-35 heading north to the Dallas-Fort Worth area or south down to Austin. However, with the exception of spending a couple of nights for a pop culture conference in the mid ’90s, I’d never done much more than stop to get some gas.
Consequently, I had this idea Waco was a small city with all that implies: a full-fledged local music scene, more than enough used bookstores and independent record stores to choose from, some sort of Alamo Drafthouse or reasonable knockoff, and other related things/places/activities. You know, that stuff you get used after going to college in Austin—the best eight years of my life! <g>—and Denton, Texas.
Well, I was just a skosh off base in my thinking. In many ways, Waco is more of a big small town than a small city. This can certainly be a plus as the cost of living is relatively low and it’s pretty easy to get around town in terms of both size and amount of traffic. But, in terms of a lot of the ancillary activities I was hoping for, that hasn’t really panned out like I expected.
Happily, though, the Waco Cultural Arts Fest is a pleasant exception to all this.
Every year, thanks to efforts of Doreen Ravenscroft and a small army of volunteers, the Arts Fest is two days of arts and crafts, music, activities for kids, good food and drink and more. Thanks to Micheal Bettersworth, TSTC’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Advancement and who sits on the Arts Fest board, we’ve been doing design work for the their yearly catalog, print ads, and other odds and ends of stuff as needed like last year’s T-shirt design. Usually these are projects that we hand off to our work study or interns as its good portfolio work—Grant Jurries did a great job last year—but as we were a bit jammed up for time this year Grace managed to get everything ready to print in short order.
For those in the Central Texas area, the Arts Fest will be held in Indian Springs Park on the Brazos River, this weekend on September 20th and 21st. (All the specifics can be found here.) The weather this time of year is pretty varied–year before last it was just brutally hot—but it’s been gorgeous this week and should stay that way for the foreseeable future. Featured performers include Brave Combo—how can you go wrong with the renegade polka stylings of Denton’s own?!?—along with Dale Watson and many others.
Finally, I have to give Doreen a big thumbs up for wrangling all this every year. Or, rather, the positive attitude she maintains while doing all this. I tend to be moderately wound up at any given time during the year as far as the ins and outs of publishing go but given the scope of the Arts Fest—multiple underwriters, thousands of attendees, a million details to coordinate—I have to give her all the credit in the world for being absolutely the most upbeat and easy to work with person in the world.