The 4th of July is hot in Round Rock

Round Rock 4th of July and Sam Bass Shoot Out

For my first 4th of July in Texas, we headed up to Round Rock for their Frontier Days celebration. Yes, there were lots of places to choose from, but only Round Rock promised a chili pepper-eating contest and a historic shoot out!

And thankfully, it was all they promised. Randall’s sponsored the chili pepper eating contest…Ghost Peppers proved to be the highlight of the event…the faces of brave tasters were priceless! (And no, we were not among them! I love spicy, but…!)

After that we headed over to the food area for a snack before the Sam Bass Shootout. It was a great chance to learn a little bit of Texas history and chill (okay, so that’s relative on a 100+ degree day!) in the shade and watch a performance complete with some beautiful horses and impressive riding.

There were kiddie rides, vendor booths, a track-can train (seriously!) and even a unicorn in the pony ride area! It’s kid and family friendly, but dogs aren’t welcome at this normally dog-friendly park on the 4th.

Later on, there was a spectacular fireworks display, followed by an outdoor film (Captain America, this year.)

It was a great day, but some lessons were learned for next year. First, bring water. LOTS of water! And maybe a parasol, too! Vegetarians will probably want to pack a picnic…the meatless offerings were slim. Also, do NOT leave the Festival in the afternoon and plan to return later in the day for the fireworks. The wonderfully easy drive in and parking we had at noon was a nightmare at 7! Bring chairs, lunch and drinks and find a spot in the shade somewhere in the park to relax between the festival and the fireworks. The stress (and gas!) it will save you will be well worth it!

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Book People is part bookstore, part destination

 Book People Austin Texas at A is 4 Austin

Bookstores used to have personality. There were some where I could browse for hours, others where I would pop in to grab that hard-to-find book no one else carried. Then came Borders and Barnes & Noble, and bookstores became vanilla. The same in Seattle as in Austin, indistinguishable in Maine and Miami.

Thank goodness there are a few holdouts. Powells in Portland, Tattered Cover, and Faulker House Books in New Orleans. And here in Austin, it’s Book People.

Part book store, part coffee house. Part new age store, part novelty shop. Part venue for meeting writers like Charlaine Harris and part the perfect place to get your kids excited about reading.

Book People has great hours, amazing bibliophiles on staff, and (gasp!) free parking!