The new year is three days away, and New Year's Eve celebrations are here to help you celebrate.
Along with all holidays and celebrations this year being a bit different, New Year's Eve is looking to be the same. Although most events can be found virtually this year, some Austin venues will be hosting a socially-distanced experience.
Here are nine events you can participate in to kick off the new year.
Austin's New Year
You can start celebrating New Year's Eve early this year from the comfort of your own home by attending Austin's New Year virtual event.The event features a lineup on local musicians performing at some of Austin's most iconic venues and will be streamed for free on YouTube, the city of Austin's Facebook and IGTV, online and cable TV. The lineup includes Shakey Graves, Parker McCollum, Gina Chavez, Como Las Movies, Swimming With Bears, BettySoo, Rob Baird and Jake Lloyd. The local musicians will perform at some of Austin's most iconic venues such as Antone's, Cheer Up Charlies, The Continental Club, Mohawk and The Saxon Pub. More information on Austin's New Year can be found here.
The Jungle Show: Live Streaming from Antone's
The annual Jungle Show will be a live stream this year featuring ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan, Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, Sue Foley and B3 giant Mike Flanigin playing from the iconic Austin venue Antone's. The tickets for the virtual event range from $25-$200, depending on if you want to purchase some merchandise along with your ticket. The stream will be broadcasted on New Year's Eve at 7 and 10 p.m. More information on The Jungle Show and tickets can be found here.
Snoop Dogg Virtual New Year's Eve Special
Snoop Dogg will be hosting a virtual New Year's Eve party that can be tuned in from anywhere in the world. The free event will start at 10 p.m. featuring appearances from Go Big Show judges Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Nettles, Cody Rhodes and Bert Kreischer. More information on the event and how to RSVP can be found here.
Virtual Times Square Ball Drop
After 114 years of crowds and the infamous New York City ball drop, the event will take place virtually. In September, the Times Square Alliance announced that the New Year's Eve celebration will still take place, despite the pandemic. This year, an app was developed to help guests celebrate virtually by creating a personalized avatar, exploring a virtual Times Square, playing games and live streaming the countdown to midnight from the comfort of your homes. More information on the event can be found here.
Docs Drive In Theatre
Doc's Drive In Theatre, in Buda, is having a movie marathon for any homebody looking to leave their home this New Year's Eve. Doc's will show "Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse," "Sing," "Boogie Nights" and "The Great Gatsby" followed by a firework show going into midnight. Tickets are $25 per car for each showing. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
Speakeasy's New Year's Eve Bash
Speakeasy, located at 412 Congress Avenue, is hosting their annual New Year's Eve Bash with a socially-distanced experience for guests to celebrate the new year safely. The annual event will have live music from local DJs and bands, party favors including festive hats and noisemakers and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Tickets range from $91-$150. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
Hotel Van Zandt Presents: Twenty Twenty Done
This year, Hotel Van Zandt, located at 605 Davis St., is offering an in-person New Years' Eve experience including a cocktail soiree, games and a one night stay at the hotel. Along with the one night accommodation at the hotel, the event features four craft cocktails per person, games and a distanced seating area for guests to enjoy live music from a local DJ. Only one ticket option is still available for the event, which features three rooms at the Van Zandt for six people for $1,1169. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
New Year's Eve Bash at The White Horse
Celebrate New Year's Eve at the White Horse, located at 500 Comal St., with local musicians to countdown to midnight. The 21-and-up event will have live music, drinks and food to purchase. The lineup includes Garret T Capps, Mayeux & Broussard and Kathryn Legendre for a $10 cover charge. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
House of Tones NYE Masquerade featuring OFFAIAH
House of Tones is throwing a special New Year's Eve masquerade party this year featuring OFFAIAH, Special K, JDS and Star Force to end your year right. The event will be located at Pinballz Kingdom in Buda to offer a socially distanced experience for guests as they count down to midnight. Along with performers, the event will have lasers, vendors, VIP tables, arcades, food and more starting at 8 p.m. General admission tickets range from $40-$50. More information on the event and tickets can be found here.
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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