People pack 6th Street for the 48th Pecan Street Festival

Nearly 50 years later, people still flock to Sixth Street for an original Austin event.

AUSTIN, Texas — It has been nearly 50 years since the first Pecan Street Festival in the Sixth Street Historic District. But for all the changes the city has seen, the festival is still an Austin original.

The event was named after Pecan Street, which is now known as Sixth Street. Featuring more than 300 performers, it has grown into one of the nation’s largest and longest-running arts and crafts festivals.

Some artists like Ross De La Garza started coming to the festival very early.

“It was probably around ’93 or so,” said De La Garza, Primordial Persuasions.

He said it’s still the same Sixth Street he’s known, only evolved.

“Downtown Austin is not like it was, you know, in the ’80s,” said De La Garza. “So there’s a lot of new energy and the people that are coming in are still making it really, you know, a great place to be.”

People like Donna Ortiz and her family who have been coming to the festival since 2000 are what keep the event going.

“We love the vendors, the art, everything,” Ortiz said.

Pecan Street Festival event organizer Luis Zapata said there’s more to the festival than vendors, music and food.

“The most important part of the festival is the people themselves who come here, show after show,” said Zapata.

He said the festival gives the city a chance to celebrate Austin together.

“We all gather here, you know, from different walks of life and interact together and hopefully that helps us be a stronger community,” she said.

Even though the city is growing every day, the core of Austin’s culture remains the same with events like these.

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