We live about 25 miles from downtown Austin, where once a year 25,000 extra people gather in our fair city for the ten-day festival of film, music, and technology that is SXSW.

I normally don’t attend the events, preferring my Spring Break on a hammock under the oak trees of my own rural property, the peace and quiet of the Texas hill country all I want for company. This year, however, there were two factors that pulled us into the crowds: a daughter who adores Game of Thrones, and another daughter who adores
Jared Padalecki.

The latter is an actor on the CW’s “Supernatural,” a part time resident of Austin, and a lover of the ATX music scene. He’s here and hanging out around the venues all week, and daughter knows it. Search Twitter for “Jared Padalecki SXSW” or “@jarpad #sxsw” and you’ll see that many young fans also know it and have been lucky enough to get photos with him, so daughter begged to go Pada-stalking.

We obliged because other daughter was so excited to go to the HBO Game of Thrones interactive exhibit. Costumes, props, scale models–so many unique and original items from the series were on display. The throne itself was there! Daughter and Dad had their pictures taken on it. Each then waited in line the 90 minutes to don virtual reality helmets and ascend The Wall to see and feel all that such an experience could offer.

It was such a fun afternoon. Parking hassles? Yep. Long lines? Sure. Crowded cafe at lunchtime? Of course. But the weather was Austin’s best, the people were relaxed and all there for the same good time we were, and the food was fabulous. Daughter #1 didn’t find Jared that day, but she had a blast fangirling with other celebrity trackers she spontaneously connected with. Daughter # 2 didn’t get to buy a GoT souvenir (shop closed while we were in the exhibit) but she did win a small prize for answering so many GoT trivia questions correctly (do YOU know the name of Daenerys’ unborn child? the name of The Hound? The name of The Hound’s brother?). She enjoyed the camaraderie with other George RR Martin fans.

And hubby and I just enjoyed our kids, enjoyed each other, and enjoyed our city. Our little six-hour slice of SXSW wasn’t very big, but it was satisfying.