After dinner, at around 8:30, we decided to check out the partying going on outside the hotel before it got too packed. The main center of the partying was not the Riverwalk, which still had a number of people on it, but rather, on South Alamo St. This entire street, which borders on Hemisfair Park, where the Tower of the Americas is located, was blocked off to make way for six stages (featuring six different kinds of music), food vendors of all types, carnival rides, and of course, the 250,000 people that would be enjoying them.
As we turned onto Alamo St, we were greeted with strains of jazz music and an already bustling street. We passed booths hawking all sorts of 2007 and New Year’s Eve wares, from blinking glasses to tiaras, and others offering an array of Mexican foods (although no sopapillas, which is what my mother really wanted). We kept getting stuck, since we had a group of at least 15 people that couldn’t manage to keep together. People kept seeing other people they knew, or something interesting, so we’d have to look around and stay in the same place until they came back.
We finally found our way to the Univision area, which, funnily enough, had a stage offering Latino music. Cristina’s family started dancing, and it was fun to watch for a while, but my family isn’t into dancing—I can’t remember a time when I’ve ever seen my dad even pretend to dance. He was feeling the cold the most of any of us, and since Cristina said her family tends to get stuck in the Univision area for quite a while, we moved on, trying to find things to keep Dad interested and warm.
After walking a few more blocks, I spotted my favorite food stand ever—the funnel cakes. The line was pretty long (although by the time we got ours, there was no line at all), and after much indecision, we decided to wait in it. 15 minutes and $5 later, we had the largest funnel cake I’ve ever seen. It was delicious, and between all of us, we soon finished it.
By this point, our group was down to my family, and Cristina’s aunt and cousin. Her cousin and my brother really wanted to go on a spinny ride, and made a beeline as soon as we turned the corner into the kid’s carnival area and they spotted the “Starship 3000.” The Starship one of those rides where it spins so quickly that the centripetal force pushes you against the outer walls. They attempted to drag me on with them, but I didn’t feel that it was worth $3 to see half a funnel cake decorating the walls around me. The lines weren’t long at all, so they got on immediately. Unfortunately, it was completely enclosed, unlike the ride next to them, which was the same, but open to the air—so we couldn’t see them screaming their lungs out and generally looking terrified. They soon exited, looking rather inebriated—my brother actually stumbled down the stairs!
All of us were now getting tired of the crowds and of being on our feet for so long. After I bought some blinking 2007 glasses, a ripoff at $10 but in honor of the fact that 2007 is the year in which I will graduate, we worked our way back to the Marriott. We had walked a lot further than we remembered, and it took quite a while to make it back—and in the process, both Cristina’s cousin and I got hit on. My mom found me getting hit on rather amusing; I did not.
The street festival was a lot of fun, and definitely worth going to, although I was very glad that I had a different vantage point to watch the New Year’s fireworks from that was less crowded and featured comfy sofas. Maybe this isn’t in the spirit of New Year’s partying to the fullest, but this way, my entire family enjoyed it, and we got to relax in the process!