Hillfest starts the school year off with a bang

Attendees compete to win prizes by shooting water at a target at the classic carnival game. 


The sun shone brightly, the temperature peaked at over a hundred and the crowd grew by the moment until the fun began from the instant the clock struck six.

The 11th annual Hillfest, held on Friday Sept. 7, played host to various Austin-based food vendors and musicians. 

Cabo Bob’s, P. Terry’s, Austin Pizza and Lucky J’s offered a delicious array of food to suit any palate.

Even the more barbaric hunger could be satisfied thanks to the turkey legs that were also being served. 

The delectables didn’t end there, though. Anyone at the fest with a sweet tooth needed only to visit Jim Jim’s Water Ice or find the funnel cakes. 

Soft drinks were readily available, along with water. Unfortunately, due to the extreme Austin heat, the crowd drank the fest dry by about the halfway mark. But this slowed no one down.

Undoubtedly, there was one feature of Hillfest that stood out above the rest: Pax, our living Hilltopper. 

Early in the festival, Pax could be easily spotted by a herd of adoring fans gathered around him, awaiting their turn to show the fleecy goat some love, and snap a photo with the beloved university mascot. 

In addition to the beloved Pax, for the thrill seekers in attendance a mechanical bull, scrambler, and bungee trampoline offered quite the adrenaline rush. There were also carnival style games providing fun and prizes to whomsoever wished to try their luck and skill.

“The rides were better in the previous years, but there were more food vendors this year, which made up for it,” senior Michael Ricondo said. 

And of course, since this is Austin, we cannot forget about the music. Austin, Texas natives The Eastern Sea and Wheeler Brothers graced the humble Hilltop for the affair. Both bands have albums out now. The Eastern Sea was featured on MTV Buzzworthy this summer and will also perform at Austin City Limits music festival this coming October.

Sophomore Sebastian Roman, who is a member of Student Life and worked with the University Programming Board to help organize the event, said that the music was more of a focal point in this year’s event as compared to previous years. 

“Creating this event around music represents the city itself,” Roman said.

“The bands were pretty legit,” freshman Anjelica Cortez said. “I liked the atmosphere too, how everyone was actually sitting on the grass together. It was relaxing…a nice break from classes.” 

Ricondo also appreciated the atmosphere.

“The environment was chill and relaxing…the people made the experience. All from different backgrounds, different places, all hanging together. It was definitely memorable,” Ricondo said. 

Moreso than any other Hillfest, the 11th really went out with a bang. A fantastic fireworks show closed the event and brought together the entire student body. 

“What I liked most about Hillfest was seeing everyone standing, sitting and kneeling across the road in front of Main Building lawn during the fireworks,” Roman said. “I was down by the soccer field and the sight of everyone together cheering and united during the show proved that we had been successful in creating unity within the university, which is one of the main purposes of Hillfest.”