F1 fans enjoying Fan Fest, VIP events in downtown Austin


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE


Posted on November 16, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 16 at 7:20 PM

AUSTIN -- The crews have set the stage and now downtown Austin is the Circuit of the Americas Fan Fest.

"It's an honor to have the party here," said Austinite Misty Rodarte.

"It's great. I mean it's awesome," added John Rubens who is visiting from New York. "I think there's a lot of people, you guys, Austin has done a great job."

Starting at 6:00 Friday night, downtown will be filled with the sounds of bands and DJs performing on six stages -- all for free.

To help people get around, Capitol Metro is offering a free loop around downtown that runs every 15 minutes.

"We take a lot of pride in Austin. We're a very fast, forward-thinking city, lots of demographics, but it's nice to have international culture come in too," said Rodarte.

Over at the W Hotel, U.S. Grand Prix events are taking over. People interested in attending exclusive events can just take a trip on the stair case. It leads to the Blu VIP Nightclub.

The first of the Formula VIP Events was a fashion show Friday afternoon.

"Oh my gosh, it's absolutely amazing," said former Cuban model Yanelys Thompson. "I think they should have it all the time."

This fashion show is just the beginning.

"Once the fashion show's over, the W Hotel is going to turn into one of the most impressive night clubs Texas has ever seen," said CEO of Formula VIP Events Ian Weightman. "So it's going to be called Blu at the W, and this is going to be a super exclusive night club that's actually going to be open to everybody."

Open to everyone who can afford the $400-per-night tickets. Money organizers say will be well worth it.

"It's got champagne, some of the greatest DJs in the country will be playing, and it's going to be going until four in the morning, so it's going to be a lot of fun," added Weightman. 

"I've done a lot of interesting things, but this is definitely a new one," added Wes Lane, owner of Light Factor. His company installed all of the light fixtures and displays for the club.

Those looking for some calmer events can head to the Four Seasons. The hotel is hosting "Gold at the Four" which includes an international ball and several exclusive dinners. 

Whether you're a big spender, or a bit frugal, downtown Austin has you covered for F1 fun.

Click here for information on downtown Austin road closures during Formula 1 weekend.