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First Thursday in Bat City

Two 30 by 30s for the price of one!

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First Thursday, while not being a tradition unique to Austin, is nevertheless one of those quintessentially Austin-y things that you have to experience at least once. Between the heat and the slim summertime crowds* this month’s First Thursday was a bit more subdued, but still it was a really lovely evening and I more than welcomed the relaxed atmosphere.

*Turns out that college towns and tourist towns run on the exact opposite schedule. Well into my third year here and I still haven’t wrapped my head around the fact that Austin’s population actually decreases in the summertime.

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Being a New Englander, I’m a bit of an ice cream snob, but Amy’s is good.

It’s really, REALLY good.

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#AUSTIN

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The secondary goal for the evening was to finally catch the great South Congress Bridge Bat Emergence (it’s a real thing). As much as Austinites love their food and their live music, they really love their bats. It’s a surprising little motif that pops up all over the city, almost as much as photos of Willie Nelson. I’ve bought bat-themed Austin shirts for both my younger brother and my nephew. There’s a giant rotating bat sculpture on the south side of the Congress Avenue Bridge. There’s even an annual Bat Fest.

And you might be forgiven for thinking that this is just a bunch of urban-dwellers making a big deal out of a little slice of nature, but I have to be honest: this country girl sat in awe of one incredibly impressive show of bats. I mean, seriously, CLOUDS OF BATS and they just went on and on and on. The videos can hardly do it justice.

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The bats swooped around for a long time and you could hear them squeaking as they dive-bombed insects not ten feet over our heads. I would have expected them to clear away from the crowds around the bridge but the bats clearly paid no mind to us, going about their business as though every bat colony was greeted by a nightly party.

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They were only just getting started as the festivities began to die down, and we made our way back to our cars.

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Goodnight, Austin. Goodnight, bats.

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