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Austin and OurPangea: Preserving the Hidden Gem Weird Capital of the World

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Besides the serious food coma epidemic that recently swept across America after Thanksgiving, Austin, Texas is also coming down from hosting the Circuit of the Americas, which brought the first F1 Grand Prix facility to the U.S.

From my perspective as a relative newbie to Austin the whole experience was a pretty exciting testament to the visibility of the city’s growing energy.  But I did hear many residents adopt the faux greeting “Welcome to LA,” a sarcastically pessimistic but admittedly apt statement on Austin’s rapidly changing (these aforementioned people would say ‘selling-out’) community. Austin is growing, there’s no denying that. The rumors say there are a few hundred people moving here every day.

Rumors aside, what everyone in Austin knows for sure is that construction Downtown is constant. New skyscrapers are making our city taller and more expensive. Streets are becoming progressively congested with traffic and after last weekend it’s less unusual to see a Ferrari at a stoplight next to the Austin-standby ‘man-on-a-two-story-bicycle’ mode of transportation. I wrote earlier about the pride people feel about Austin, and there’s already a desperately sentimental fog hanging over the city representing both a longing to stay a hidden gem and a fear that Austin’s ‘glory days’ as capital of the Weird are over.

Our community is still far from normal, but the seeds of commercialization are being planted, making some Austinites feel the need to grasp onto and hold tight the weirdness that has pushed the city to greatness. As an example,  Austin City Limits, a music festival initially created as a way to celebrate the music of Texas by PBS (read: the perfect Austin-weird music fest), has been expanded to two weekends (read: commercialized), and people are starting to consider Fun Fun Fun Fest as one of the ‘realest’ festivals in town.

From OurPangea’s perspective, we know we can’t stop change from happening. In fact, we think change should be embraced because along with every change, no matter how drastic, there is opportunity.  What’s important is being able to remember our history, recognize where we came from and understand why that matters.

So we want to help everyone in Austin preserve what has made it great while it’s still the hidden gem Weird capital of the world. Why do you live in Austin? What do you love most about Austin? What is your favorite memory? What makes Austin your city??

Think of this as an online time capsule made up of your stories. We want to give people a window into our community so they can see why we love Austin and let them love it with us!  Submit your stories and love letters to Austin here!

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