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Giant agave plants and a glowing snake: 6 things to see at Creek Show 2021 in Waterloo Park

Kelsey Bradshaw
Austin 360
The Texas Capitol is visible behind the "HIGH LIGHT" installation at Waterloo Park on Nov. 11. The 2021 Creek Show is being held every night through Nov. 21.

It's the most wonderful time of year, y'all, and we don't even mean the holidays. We're talking about those crisp, cool few days when the weather is just right for strolling at night with a light jacket.

And what better to stroll at night than a downtown park full of art and lights and food and live music?

Waterloo Greenway's Creek Show 2021 kicks off on Nov. 12 and will run for 10 days in Waterloo Park. All of the pieces in the show are intended to evoke the natural world of Waller Creek. The show is free and includes five glowing art installations, live music and food.

Make sure to reserve a spot online before you go, as the first three nights are already sold out. Reservations and more information on the show can be found online at: waterloogreenway.org/creek-show.

More:Austin's Creek Show is back next week — here's how to get your glow on

We got a sneak peek of the show before opening night and came up with some can't-miss moments if you plan on heading to the show.

The "Si-glo" installation at Creek Show was inspired by century plants.

1. Run through a sea of thick, inflatable agave plants

 You can't miss "Si-glo." You like, really can't. A whole bunch of huge, fleshy agave-esque inflatables are sitting on a patch of grass usually reserved for general admission seating during Moody Amphitheater concerts. They are a minty color with white, splotchy spots, sort of like a cow. Before we realized it, we were running through the installation and laying down on the grass to look up at large fronds hanging over the grass. The installation sounds like the cabin of an airplane, due to all the fans keeping the fake plants inflated. Bop the fronds and walk through the maze they create.

A woman takes a selfie under the "HIGH LIGHT" installation at Creek Show.

2. Stand underneath "HIGH LIGHT" and get mesmerized

What looks like giant Pocky Sticks sit on the highest part of the park. The installation is made up of at least half a dozen tripods — three steel pipes joined together like a tent. Some are very tall, and others you may have to crouch to get under. Lights flowing from green to blue to purple to yellow pour out the top of the pipes. When you stand underneath the structures, look for slits of light that lead up the pipes. You may find yourself standing there all night long, watching the colors change. 

The "BioNest" installation at Creek Show sources leaves and other natural material from different sites in Texas.

3. Get up close and personal with some ... are those giraffes?

OK, so, "BioNest" is not an installation about giraffes at all, but you may mistake them for the tall animals from afar. The piece is made up of five wooden structures enveloped in lantern paper. Lights and music coming from the structures are synchronized together. Make sure you take a close look at this one — each structure's lantern paper has fossil-like plants splashed across it. The artist harvested native plants, grass and leaves from all over the stat, and each of the structures represents a place. One is from Marfa; another is from Barton Creek. 

"CREEKture" at Creek Show evokes the fluidity of a snake that lives in Waller Creek.

4. Look at a light-up snake from above

"CREEKture," which looks like a very small rollercoaster, is nestled on the edge of the park and surrounded by tall grass. The two-part installation is a representation of the Texas blind snake, which can be found in Waller Creek. The snake will rise with the water of the creek before slithering back into the earth. One part of the piece is still and close to the ground, just shining a bright, white light. This represents the snake going in and out of the ground. The second part of the piece is a curvy, ramp-like structure that shoots different lights through the long body. The pulsing lights, which were pink, red and purple on Thursday night, represent the snake's heartbeat. 

Designer Clayton Cain works on the "SWAY" installation at Creek Show on Nov. 11.

5. A hall of hanging noodles

OK, so these are not actually noodles, but that's definitely what "SWAY" reminded us of. You will likely notice this installation before you walk into the park, depending on where you enter, because they are hanging up near the road, above a stage. You can touch the 160 (at least) inflated cylinders, which are shining from within.

6. Walk the winding paths to get a taste of everything

We suggest taking your time, because the park itself could be an art installation. The paths end up taking you on a tour of the show. You can stop at each, play and look and watch an installation, and hop back on to get to your next spot.

Correction: A photo caption on an earlier version of this story referred to Kim Harding as the designer of the installation "Si-glo" at Creek Show. Harding is a member of a team from architecture firm Dwg; the firm designed the installation.