Austin has no problem keeping it weird

This past weekend was what my mom would call a “learning experience”. That is to say, something that you walk away from feeling slightly more confused about the world in general.

This weekend I had a booth at the Pecan Street Festival in Austin, an art & crafts, music, free stuff festival held on 6th Street every year.

For those who make their home under a rock (or who just live in College Station), 6th Street is Austin’s main entertainment district, and has a reputation for being home to the strangest of the strange.

Knowing this, I of course ex pected a rather diverse crowd. I wouldn’t say, however, that I got a diverse crowd, so much as that I got hit fullforce with the cement truck of weirdness.

In other words, I seen some thangs.

That’s not to say it was an unpleasant experience; no, it was great. It’s just that there are some things that living in a town of 5,000 people does not prepare you for.

In the course of two days, I saw, and this is without the slightest bit of embellishment or exaggeration:

A man walking a python down the street.

A 5 foot-2 inch tall, 250 pound tie-dyed Santa Clause. I’ll let you speculate on what exactly that looks like.

A group of girls in bikinis and cowboy boots hula-hooping just across from my tent. Oddly enough, the crowd of potential customers doubled in size at that time.

An elderly woman wearing a shirt that read “My lawyer is a total bad@#$!”

A man bearing a giant cross emblazoned with “Jesus Loves You”. Granted, the cross had a wheel at the bottom, which frankly I thought was cheating.

Black leather platform boots with bright red flames worn by a girl wearing fairy wings.

Several large hats made of balloon animals.

More dogs than there are people in Rockdale.

A homeless man carrying a cardboard sign that said, “Pay $2 if you can read this sign”. (I think the world needs more clever vagrants.)

A guy in an Indiana Jonesstyle hat carrying a large flag with a marijuana leaf over his shoulder.

An elderly gentleman smoking what was most likely not a cigarette, wandering over and talking about absolutely nothing coherent for five solid minutes. I think he thought he was at Woodstock. Again.

A large man in a tie-dyed shirt, plaid shorts and floral hat, wearing a pig snout and playing a kazoo.

A young lady dressed as what can only be described as Little Bo Peep on crack.

The Grim Reaper, sitting on the curb drinking a beer next to a guy playing the drums on an overturned trash can. (I guess he deserves a drink— talk about stress in the workplace.)

A deaf conversation—three people talking very animatedly in sign language. One of them later came and texted out a request for my website on his phone. I silently nodded and handed him my card. I’m still not sure why I was silent about it...

The obligator y pack s of drunks and creeps scuttling around the bars at night.

Captain Jack Sparrow.

Another elderly gentleman who was not Jack Sparrow, but was dressed as a pirate.

A person of indeterminate gender wearing a black jacket and gas mask. Companion had multicolored rubber dreadlocks and a flowing skirt.

The silver guy-robot. He looked like a statue but would move ever so often and scare anyone walking by.

In the midst of all this, a few businessmen in suits and ties going about their business as if they didn’t notice the festival.

All in all, it was a pretty good way to spend a weekend, if you don’t ask my mom or stepdad.

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2010-05-06 digital edition

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