Waterloo Greenway is the latest venue to announce a postponement, following suit in the 2021 edition of COVID-fueled cancellations.
The new urban parks system that was to debut Waterloo Park this weekend announced Thursday morning that it made the "difficult but necessary" decision to postpone opening day celebrations. The day's festivities had been announced in May, but as COVID cases surge this month, it follows other events like Austin Pride in postponing.
August 14th will not look like what we had planned, but it will still represent a momentous occasion for Austin. Though we wish we could celebrate the years of hard work with the fanfare this park and our community deserve, your health and safety are our number one priority. pic.twitter.com/dxYlOJzVGi
— Waterloo Greenway (@WaterlooGW) August 12, 2021
"We truly believe this is in the best interest of all staff, volunteers, artists, partners and countless community members who have helped bring this park to life," the park spokespeople said on Twitter.
There is a silver lining: the park will still open to the public, sans festivities, this Saturday at 10 a.m.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, land dedication, daytime programming and nighttime concert showcase, all part of CommUNITY Day festivities, will be moved to a later date. Waterloo Park, located by East 15th, Red River, East 12th and Trinity streets, had already had multiple events planned in September as well, which will now be in question.
The announcement comes after the park had already seen delays in opening. The park broke ground in 2017 and was set to open in the spring of this year before it was pushed back until the end of summer.
In the interim, Waterloo Greenway is following local, state and CDC health guidance and said it encourages guests to do the same while visiting.
"The opening of this park comes at a critical time for the community, and access to outdoor space has never been more important for physical, mental and emotional health," park organizers said in an email. "The reopening of Waterloo Park marks a momentous occasion for the community, with 11 acres of revitalized green space for all Austinites to explore and connect with nature, in the heart of downtown."
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.