3 End-of-October Events That Might Be Better Than Halloween

Known for its eclectic style, delicious barbecue, and live music festivals, Austin, Texas always has something exciting for its visitors. As the weather cools down, the city is preparing for a new lineup of fall favorites with events that will please bibliophiles, race fans, music buffs, and movie lovers alike.

Texas Book Festival

Founded in 1995 by former First Lady Laura Bush, the Texas Book Festival highlights Texas authors, promotes literacy in the state, and supports Texas’ public libraries. Since the first festival was held in 1996, more than 40,000 annual visitors enjoy the live music, vendor booth, author presentations, book signings, and children’s events. Last year, over 250 authors participated in the festival, and the TBF expects to have a similar representation this year; visiting authors for the 2014 line-up include Martin Amis, Joyce Carol Oates, Marlon James, and Jacqueline Woodson.

The 2014 festival will be held the weekend of October 25 and 26 with the First Edition Literary Gala kicking off the festivities on the 24th. Bibliophiles will have a chance to interact with their favorite authors in a new way during the Lit Crawl, an event on Saturday, October 25 that combines a pub crawl, author presentations, and audience-driven literary games.

Most events are free and open to the public.

Austin Film Festival

Held October 23-30, the Austin Film Festival showcases the best of the year’s films while promoting awareness of the arts. With four days of panels and eight evenings of parties, meet-and-greets, and film screens, the Austin Film Festival is a chance to explore the best of what the city has to offer while learning more about contemporary film.

The festival, which is now in its 21st year, presents a combination of indie and studio film experiences. The 2014 line-up boasts panelists that range from Cary Fukunaga (director of HBO’s True Detective), Craig Borten (writer of the Dallas Buyers Club) to Emma Tillinger Koskoff (producer of The Wolf of Wall Street), screenings of documentaries, full-length films, and shorts, and after-parties.

Many of the events are free to the public, but those wishing to get premium seating and access to certain panels and parties will need to purchase a film pass or badge (both of which are available on the Austin Film Festival website).

Formula 1 Grand Prix Races

From October 31 to November 2, join more than 200,000 racing fans at the only American stop on the Formula 1 racing circuit. While the highlight of the weekend will be the United States Grand Prix held Sunday afternoon, this three-day event also boasts races from the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Then, Sunday before the Grand Prix, vintage cars will take the stage in the pre-race Drivers Parade.

Additionally, guests can purchase food, drinks, and souvenirs from on-site vendors, join in the Western-themed activities in the Texas Saloon Village, catch a football game at the Sports Bar, get an autograph from a favorite driver, and dance at the Pachanga Village. The weekend will end with a post-race concert by rock artist Kid Rock.

Tickets are available as three-day passes or single-day tickets. The race grounds will offer RV and camping areas.

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