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the Long Center, from Inside the Ring

Tag Archives: bubblepalooza

On a particularly sweltering Saturday this past August, I sat decompressing after a very successful event the Long Center had hosted that morning on the City Terrace. Bubblepalooza!, a brand-new free event, featured an environment of open play  combined with the sweet sounds of Kiddie Rock. Over 3000 men, women, and children dropped by in just three hours. We were all overwhelmed by the response.

For the purpose of this tale, the term “decompressing” means to sit elated with friends and their children who had attended the event, brainstorming additions to the immediately conceived second annual Bubblepalooza!, all the while trying to grasp the awesomeness of what had happened that morning. There were just so many smiling faces! At one point, while reiterating my disbelief of the sheer volume of little bubble blowers that came out to participate, my friend asked me why I was so surprised.

It had been just eight months since the Long Center presented a company from the United Kingdom named Architects of Air and their amazing Luminarium, an enormous inflated structure that at first glance looks like a futuristic bounce-house village. From the moment I saw it, I knew Austin had to have it. It was the first big project I ever stuck my neck out for as an arts programmer, but the gamble paid off in spades. In just seven days, more than 8500 Austinites young and old had experienced the Luminarium, many happily waiting multiple hours for the opportunity. The friends I was “decompressing” with that afternoon had all taken their children to experience the “Mirazozo,” as this particular Luminarium was named. One friend shared something that took me over the edge from elated to completely blown away: her son, who was just three-years-old back in January, still talks about his trip to the Mirazozo almost a whole year later.

Long Center Programming Manager Karen Jantsch stands in front of Architects of Air’s “Mirazozo”

For me, the satisfaction of being a programmer comes with bringing Austin not just the things they want to see and experience but also the things they don’t even know they want. The response to the Mirazozo solidified this notion for me, and for that I will always be grateful. It also reminded me just how powerful experiences can be as a young child. As they say, “with great power comes great responsibility,” so I’m making it my responsibility to ensure that a whole new host of Austinites get to experience the Luminarium first hand. It is my absolute pleasure to announce that this January the Long Center’s West Lawn will host this sensory experience of color and light once more. This time, we’ll be presenting the company’s 25th Anniversary structure “Exxopolis”. Like with all things Long Center, we’re working hard to make the experience even better than last year, so I hope you’ll make a note on your calendar to visit us January 19-27 for what I promise will be an unforgettable experience. Stay tuned for more details!

– Karen Jantsch, Programming Manager
The Long Center

For more photos and information about Architects of Air’s Luminaria, visit

A photo from the inside of Architects of Air’s “Mirazozo.”

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So long summer, hello slightly-less-warm season called autumn. Cooler days hint at the change in seasons, with rainy afternoons offering plenty of time for reflection.  This summer I worked with the Long Center as the Development Intern. Innovation and adventure reign here, which explains why my favorite memories of this summer are of our brand new series, All Summer Long. These events were created by the inventive minds of the staff and executed within mere weeks: seven FREE events encompassing dance, art, music, food and fun for the whole Austin community. Over 8,500 people attended the events throughout the summer.

Rhythm on Stage featured four nights of free dance lessons on the Meredith Family Stage, from Country Western to Swing, Bollywood, and Salsa. Hundreds of people filled the stage to learn new moves from the Austin musicians and dance instructors who collaborated in these wonderful events. I joined in too, and I’m confident that I could Two Step my way across Texas now.

Hundreds visited the Long Center for Rhythm On Stage, a free summer dance series.

Over 3,000 people attended BubblePalooza to enjoy bubbles, crafty fun, and treats. Chalk art covered the City Terrace as kids enjoyed a visit by the Bubble Professor and music by fantastic kiddie-rock bands. Thousands more dropped by for the first two Trailer Food Tuesdays, where food trucks and live entertainment created a foodie’s paradise outdoors.

BubblePalooza brought over 3,000 to the Long Center City Terrace for family fun, live music, treats, and of course — bubbles.

The good news is it’s not over! I’m still here at the Long Center and there are more free community events ahead. Trailer Food Tuesdays continues on the last Tuesday of the month through November. And I recently joined the Long Center family as the Development Associate. As the newest member of the Development team, I’d like to personally thank all of you for your support! It is our mission to reach the community with memorable and engaging events, which we couldn’t accomplish without wonderful volunteers and generous contributions. I’m glad to be working with a group of people who have shown such care and enthusiasm for Austin’s community.

-Amanda Turley, Development Associate
The Long Center

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