Austin’s New Year 2014 is the city-sponsored, family-friendly New Year’s celebration on Lady Bird Lake in central Austin. The event is the follow-on event to the privately organized and more elaborate First Night Austin celebrations of years past. But nobody cares about that; Austin’s New Year 2014 set its own standards for fun and Austin charm and new talent ready to perform.
Sara Hickman, the state musician of Texas, headlined the show. The evening culminated in an explosion of fireworks over Lady Bird Lake, framing the spectacular downtown skyline. This happened at 10:00 pm so the kids could be shooed off to bed at a decent hour, almost. For food and play, Austin’s New Year 2014 offered a semicircular fairway of food and drink booths (non-alcoholic only). Novelty sales booths and demonstrations also appealed to kids of all ages. Especially obnoxious were the fluorescent, glow-in-the-dark flying toys that shot into the air and threatened the public’s eyesight.
A surprising high point was the performance by the aerial troupe Sky Candy. They set up their stage simply by erecting a sturdy framework that would allow them to climb almost fifteen feet high with their aerial silks, rings, ropes, and any other contraptions they wanted to use. They gave short performances hourly through the evening. Sky Candy definitely brought the magic, as shown on the faces of the children that ringed the performance space. Joanna Wright performed on the aerial silks, two strips of silk cloth suspended from the top of the frame, and Ms Wright proved that the aerial silks are a true athletic art form; her peers in this performance style work in international touring shows. Andy Agne, not to be outdone, performed on a suspended ring after making a dramatic entrance as a mysterious, black-garbed figure. As the ring swung faster and faster, Mr. Agne climbed higher and higher. His masterful performance ended with a vertiginous and clever dismount.
Sky Candy has an impressive future if Austin’s New Year 2014 is any measure. Certainly, their show on Auditorium Shores is perfectly positioned on the cusp of the New Year. Austin’s New Year 2014 is planned as an annual event, so watch for their coming surprises in performance and music (a year off, of course). The event offered hope for the New Year in our town and proved to be the perfect start to 2014. Don’t miss it in the future.