October 1-3 this year was what folks in Texas call OU Weekend – when there’s a big football game between the University of Oklahoma and The University of Texas at Austin. The game is so enormous that it has to take place in a special stadium in Dallas just to accommodate all the fans, and everything else about the game (from the body-painting to the tailgating) is huge, too. The decorations are no exception.
The giant fork above is a permanent fixture in front of Austin’s Hyde Park Bar and Grill, but the restaurant frequently changes the plaster objects being skewered by its tines. In a show of spirit for the start of school and the OU game, it’s only fitting that the fork has been holding burnt-orange longhorns for the past few weeks. Other businesses love getting into the school spirit by writing on store-front windows, putting up banners, and even erecting statues like the University Co-Op’s white-and-orange longhorn. Seeing these sculptures in addition to the inflatable longhorns that adorn at least one house on every street is quite the sight to behold, especially for this li’ gal from New England. When I first moved to Austin and witnessed the way the city oozes burnt-orange lawn art and clothing every fall, I thought I might have stumbled into a mythical universe – one where cows talk and you bounce instead of splat if you fall on the sidewalk. But, no, Austin’s sidewalks still yield skinned knees and the only talking bovines are the fuzzy ones that hand you coupons in the street. It still seems like another world in the pictures, though, doesn’t it?