Austin in November 2017: A Literary Festival, Holiday Runs and a Big Parade

In Austin, barbeque season never really ends. The grillmaster just tends to come inside a bit more often.

That’s part of the beauty of living in Central Texas in the fall. We may get a few chilly days, but we also get plenty of warm sun to encourage time outdoors.

This month, you’ll have plenty of options. For example, you could have a sampling of the finest BBQ joints in Texas during the annual Texas Monthly BBQ Fest. Or, instead, you could learn about the best ways to cook vegetarian with New York Times culinary writer Mark Bittman, who is one of several big names at this year’s Texas Book Festival.

Of course, the main event of the month — for most of us — is Thanksgiving. Many of us may be focused on perfecting the turkey. But you and your family could also try to burn a few of those calories before sitting down at the dinner table by joining in the annual Turkey Trot, which brings out thousands of runners and walkers who help raise money for local charities.

Whatever you and those close to you go after this month, we hope you have a safe and festive Thanksgiving weekend. Now, let’s check out the lineup.

November 4-5

Tom Hanks will be there. Dan Rather will be there. And Mark Bittman will be there, too. What could attract an actor, an achor and a chef? The Texas Book Festival. The annual celebration of all things literary is one of the largest book festivals in the nation, and it involves dozens of accomplished writers discussing their books, signing books and, of course, hundreds of opportunities to find your next great read. And the event is free and open to the public.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: State Capitol Building and Surrounding Area
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November 5

If your heart races at the mention of brisket, then buckle up. The Texas Monthly BBQ Fest features the smoked meats of 30-plus of the state’s top pitmasters. And, it’s not just meat. The festival includes live music from The Peterson Brothers Band, Bruce Robison and more. It looks like six of the tastings will come from Austin BBQ restaurants, but the other 25 or so are from out of town — so this is a chance to taste a selection of the state’s best without a long drive.

When: 1-4 p.m.
Where: The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive
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November 11-12, 18-19

Art is often a very personal endeavor. While many of us are in front of a laptop at the office, dozens of Austin’s artists are in their studios crafting their next project. But it’s a world we rarely see — until now. During the East Austin Studio Tour you’ll have a chance to mingle with artists and art lovers at a variety of East Austin artists’ studios. It’s a self-guided tour, and it spans two weekends. That means you have a lot of flexibility in planning.

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of both weekends
Where: Various locations
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November 18

Perhaps nowhere is Austin’s Christmas on display in such a big way as at Chuy’s Christmas Parade. The annual event feels a bit like a small version of the Macy’s Day Parade where giant inflated characters drift among the high-rise buildings. Austin’s parade runs down Congress Avenue throughout downtown, giving kids a chance to see some of their favorite characters, which often include cartoon characters as well as Star Wars characters and much more. Plus, they’ll be tossing candy along the way.

When: 11 a.m. to about noon
Where: Congress Ave downtown
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November 23

Pay it forward. That’s what the Turkey Trot seems to be all about. Before you sit down and feast with family and friends, consider taking part in perhaps the largest 5-mile race in the state of Texas — the Thundercloud Turkey Trot. Or, take it a bit easier with the 1-mile route — and you’re free to walk or go at whatever pace suits you. The trot has raised about $3.1 million for charity over the past 26 years.

When: The kids race starts at 8:45 a.m., and the 5-mile starts at 9:30 a.m.
Where: The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive
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