Austin’s 4th Avenue Fest to return today

Free swimming, canoeing, kayaking, face painting, music, dance performances and much more are planned later today and this evening for the return of Austin’s 4th Avenue Fest.

The family friendly, annual event is a celebration of arts, culture and healthy living and functions as the community’s summer kickoff. Activities at 4th Avenue Fest will be offered from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., rain or shine, throughout Horace Austin Park, the area along Austin Mill Pond’s south side, including the city pool, playground area and library.

The City of Austin’s Culture & Art Commission organizes the event. Off-street parking is limited due to activities at Horace Austin Park so attendees are encouraged to walk or bike to the event.

Austin Municipal Pool will offer an open swim Wednesday evening for all ages, starting at 5 p.m.

Canoes and kayaks also can be rented for free for paddling the Cedar River State Water Trail at Austin Mill Pond thanks to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and Cedar River Watershed District. New life jackets funded by the Austin Area Foundation for the nature center will be provided to each paddler.

Other events and activities at 4th Avenue Fest will include MacPhail percussion; a seed library; water station by Austin Utilities; photo booth; electric vehicle car show; art making; face painting; strolling “celebrities” and more.

On stage performances will include a Zumba dance demonstration at 5:30 p.m. by the YMCA of Austin. From 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the stage will host performances by the Karenni Youth Dance, West African Dance and Austin Community Band.

Local governments partnering for 4th Avenue Fest include: convening partner Culture and Arts Commission; Austin Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department; Jay C. Hormel Nature Center; Austin Public Library; Austin Utilities; and Cedar River Watershed District.

 Nonprofit partners for the event include Matchbox Children’s Theatre; Austin Community Band; Impact Austin; MacPhail Academy; Karenni Dance Troupe; West African Dancers; The Hormel Institute; Austin ArtWorks Festival; United Way of Mower County; The Welcome Center; Parenting Resource Center; Friends of the Hormel Nature Center; Austin Aspires; YMCA at ACRC; and APAC Austin.