Fan Fest, parties draw thousands to downtown Austin


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 16 at 4:36 PM

AUSTIN -- This is a big weekend for Austin.

"Two things, F1 and Texas v. OSU," said Weldon Richardson, who is visiting from Amarillo.

From race car simulators to X-Games demonstrations, plus vendors, music and food, there's something for everyone at the Formula 1 Fan Fest.

"The Fan Fest is superb," said F1 fan Barbara Burns, who is visiting from Atlanta. "[It's a] great place for the fans to come. [We] get to learn a little about racing, the sponsors and what F1's all about."

Fan Fest also attracted celebrities. KVUE News caught up with Dallas Cowboys football player DeMarcus Ware.

"This is my first time down in Austin and, you know, I think the second time Formula 1 had been able to come down here and I'm a big motor sports guy. It's a great time to be down here," said Ware. 

Around town, party promoters are pulling out all the stops.

For instance, My Yacht Club is serving the most expensive Rose wine in the world at its party. One bottle costs $400.

"This is the first time I think it's ever been seen in Texas, and it's the first time it's ever been poured in Austin," said My Yacht Club Founder and CEO Nicholas Frankl. 

My Yacht Club is hosting its second annual upscale party at Ballet Austin. Proceeds will benefit Ballet Austin.

"You'll be drinking some of the world's finest products," said Frankl. "We have an aerialist from the ceiling pouring shots when you arrive and we have the golden girls. It is the most fabulous party."

However, many other parties are happening around time.

"The option needs to be here. The Amber Lounge is the place to be," said Jimmy "Taboo" Gomez, a member of the Black Eyed Peas.

Taboo said plans to take in the UT game and the race in between DJ sets at the Amber Lounge, an exclusive party that hosts events at F1 races around the world. He has recorded songs and has a mix just for Austin.

"Austin was home to the Black Eyed Peas prior to success," said Gomez. "I love Austin."

That feeling is spreading.

"Austin's a fabulous town," said Burns.

"Austin is the coolest place in Texas," said Richardson. 

Attending all those parties isn't cheap, however. Ticket prices range between $380 to $50,000. 

If you'd rather stick to the free fun, click here for the F1 Fan Fest guide.