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Fan Fest Chaos Poses Challenges For Downtown Austin Businesses

Updated: Thursday, November 15 2012, 03:49 PM CST

Downtown Austin businesses are revved up for Formula One's music festival, Fan Fest, but major challenges lie ahead for employees and customers.

“With as great of an event that gets to come to our city, we just have to adapt,” says BA Snyder, marketing coordinator with Cantina Laredo.

The streets are swarming with event organizers, police officers and tourists, leaving little parking for businesses.

"So we've let our employees know where the parking is around the city,” says Snyder.

We walked the streets affected by the closures and couldn’t find one business in the heart of the action that was closing its doors to avoid all the chaos.

 “Everyone is here. They are on call and ready to work,” says Snyder.

Fan Fest is limited to Colorado and Congress Avenue, but the chaos is trickling into nearby streets. Parking spots typically designated for employees and customers have been taken by special event parking, making it even more difficult for downtown businesses to operate.

"It’s already been a nightmare,” says Kara Jordan, owner of Blenders and Bowls.

We saw some parking lots for $30, a price employees at Blenders and Bowls probably won’t want to pay. So it’s up to employees to figure it out, while still getting to work on time.

"We sent out a mass email letting them know all the street closures and our parking lot in the back, but we expect that to be full,” says Jordan.

Jordan, like many other business owners, is banking on foot traffic for boosted sales.

“I’m expecting most of our regulars won't be coming in. Most of the Austinites will steer clear of downtown. It's mainly going to be tourists,” says Jordan.

Whoever is spending money, Austin business owners say they’ll take it and do whatever they can to benefit from Fan Fest.

“There’s no closing. We’re going to stay open early, open late, whatever we have to do,” says Snyder.

By Ashley MillerFan Fest Chaos Poses Challenges For Downtown Austin Businesses

Austin Fan Fest

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Austin Grand Prix Parking

View Formula 1 Austin Grand Prix: Parking in a larger map

Race Schedule

Fri. Nov.16
Practice 1 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Practice 2 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Sat. Nov. 17
Practice 3 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
Qualifying noon

Sun. Nov.18
Race 1 p.m.

Complete Schedule


  • Fri. Nov. 16: Aerosmith and Cheap Trick, Frank Erwin Center
  • Fri. Nov 16: Flo Rida with Cobra Starship, Austin Convention Center
  • Fri. Nov. 16: Juanes, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
  • Sat. Nov. 17: Enrique Iglesias with Nelly, Austin Convention Center
  • Sat. Nov. 17: Lupe Fiasco, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
  • Sun. Nov. 18: The Wallflowers, ACL Live at the Moody Theater
  • Sun. Nov. 18: Official After Party. Ghostland Observatory, Fitz & The Tantrums, The Wailers, DJ Jillian Ann and Tje Austin, Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
  • Fri. Nov. 16-Sun.18: 5 stages at outdoor Austin Fan Fest, schedule at
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