A New Home for Waterloo Greenway Conservancy’s Annual Pop-Up Picnic
By Terry Gutierrez
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas — Waterloo Greenway Conservancy’s 10th Annual Pop-Up Picnic made a comeback on April 9 after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic.
For the first time, the Pop-Up Picnic was held at Waterloo Park, which closed for flood-control construction in 2011. The newly designed park reopened last August, introducing Moody Amphitheater, a playground, and trails — all part of Waterloo Greenway’s first of 3 phases to construct an urban park system plan.
The plan’s mission is to create a continuous path from the University of Texas at Austin to Ladybird Lake through accessible trails, bridges, and walkways by 2026. The Pop-Up Picnic is the nonprofit organization’s biggest event of the year.
“Waterloo Park is gorgeous. It’s such an incredible asset to the city,” said Margaret Tipps, an Austin resident who brought her family to the picnic.
“When I heard it was at Waterloo, I was like, we have to bring the girls because they had never been”
Waterloo Park’s new features include 11 acres of greenspace, trails, native plants and gardens, play areas, restrooms, and Moody Amphitheater, which has a capacity of 5,000.
“It’s been a labor of love, where we really have thought about how we can create a space that is friendly to all ages, family-friendly, can support different programs, but also can be a space where you can just come and have your lunch and enjoy some green space in the middle of downtown,” said Melissa Ayala, Waterloo Greenway’s Community Engagement and Government Relations Director.
Waterloo Greenway Conservancy’s second phase is set to begin this fall. This phase will transform the area from Ladybird Lake to Fourth Street into trail and park space similar to Waterloo Park.
“Because we’re providing a new method of mobility for all, that’s another big part of our mission, making sure that the park spaces for everybody and that people of all communities and socioeconomic backgrounds feel welcome and people of all abilities as well,” said Homer Gonzalez, Waterloo Greenway’s Communications Coordinator.
Waterloo Greenway continues to host events at Waterloo Park, including weekly workouts, cultural events and concerts. In a partnership with C3 Presents and Live Nation, Waterloo Greenway Conservancy receives a portion of the proceeds and a select number of free community tickets for concerts held at Moody Amphitheater.
People can also donate to the organization and purchase different memberships for benefits and exclusive access to Waterloo Greenway events.
“One of the biggest parts of our mission is connecting people to nature, but also to each other,” Gonzalez said.
“Hosting these year-round programs is really important to us.”