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Austin City Limits

Downtown Watch Parties Start March 18

Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill - their original location on West 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas

One of Austin's most iconic restaurants, Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill, will host the first Formula 1 2012 season watch party, Texas style!

Join us on Sunday, March 18 at 1:00PM to watch the Australian Grand Prix and enjoy a delicious Z'Tejas brunch buffet while cheering on your favorite drivers or learning more about the sport.

We've started an Eventbrite page to manage our events this season. This will be the most up-to-date place to find out about watch parties, gatherings and other community events in Austin.

Click here to read more about the Australian Grand Prix watch party on Eventbrite!



Over 17 Million To Austin Annually

An aerial view of Austin's annual Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park. Image Courtesy of

Austin City Limits Music Festival + South By Southwest Film, Music and Interactive Festivals + The University of Texas at Austin football games + Republic of Texas Biker Rally + more = over 17,000,000 visitors to Austin annually. How will Austin continue to evolve as an international destination?

Austin's major event organizers and business leaders will address this topic in an upcoming panel hosted by Leadership Austin, titled "Festival Fever." The panel is not free, but it is open to the public and will take place over breakfast on February 7.

Geoff Moore, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Circuit of The Americas, will be one of four panelists discussing the impact of large festivals in Austin. Austin event veterans Hugh Forrest (SXSW Interactive Festival), Lisa Hickey (Austin City Limits Festival), Jon Roberts (Former Director of Business Development for The State of Texas) and Mr. Moore will discuss the pros and cons of being a festival target city and trade-offs between economic impacts and quality of life.

Here's an introductory video to Geoff, filmed at last year's InnoTech Austin conference.

Many Austinites know this isn't our first rodeo, but we look forward to an engaging discussion from festival veterans and learning how to "Keep Austin Weird!" while evolving as an international destination.

Click here to register for the Leadership Austin Engage event on February 7, "Festival Fever."


Keep Austin Weird!


Courtesy of louellacourt.typepad.comThis evening the official Formula 1 United States Grand Prix (TM) site reported an official partnership with Haynes-Eaglin-Waters to provide minority-owned and women-owned business enterprise outreach and support. What does this mean? F1US is committed to supporting the local economy and making sure minority- and women-owned businesses have a chance to play a big role in developing this world class multi-purpose venue! 

This reminds me of a slogan that originated in Austin: Keep Austin Weird!  The Austin Independent Business Alliance coined this phrase in 2002 to promote small businesses in Austin by making Austinites think, shop and grow locally.  You can find this slogan on bumper stickers, tye-dye t-shirts, coffee mugs, and proudly displayed in numerous locally-owned businesses around town.  However, do not confuse Austin as a small-minded town: Austin is a major player on the global scale (technology, education and communication just to name a few) but one of the things that makes Austin "Austin" is that it values its resources and people and will work hard to support the people that make it "weird"!

Check out the Austin Independent Business Alliance and Keep Austin Weird and see how we like to keep it weird!

Formula One United States Grand Prix™ Releases Conceptual Master Plan for Austin Stage

Last night Full Throttle Productions, LP and Formula One United States Grand Prix™ announced the Conceptual Master Plan for the new home of the United States Grand Prix in Austin from 2012-2021.  The plan includes "a proposed Driving/Riding Experience and Seminar Building, Motorsports Driving Club, Kart Track and Welcome Center."

As previously reported, the track will have a highly anticipated maximum elevation change of 133 feet and cover the course of 3.4 miles.  In addition to the grandstands and semi-permanent stands,  the grounds will also include "natural grass berms" and picnic areas (think the re-sodded Zilker Park with a race track in the middle of it). 

Zilker Park, Austin, TexasPhoto Courtesy of austintowers.netFor those of you concerned with the recent traffic impact discussions, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. and has been retained and brings their long list of experience with Texas Motor Speedway, the new Cowboys Stadium, Lone Star Park and Houston’s Dynamo Park.

Graham Lake–Grange, a Director with Global Strategic Outcomes (UK), will handle the guest experience and has also developed successful traffic management plans for thirteen Formula One Grand Prix™ events at Silverstone as well as over 100 large-scale public events.  Still, it might not be a bad idea for Mr. Lake-Grange to experience the 100,000+ masses that pour into Zilker Park every year for the Austin City Limits Music Festival...

Photo courtesy of austincool.comAlso mentioned in the Press Release are a few various multi-purpose functions originally quoted by Tavo Hellmund in the first press conference.  We are very excited about the previously mentioned research and development testing center, which we were really looking forward to.  However, we're wondering where MotoGP fits into this, as we enjoyed speaking with the 1993 World GP Motorcycle Champion Kevin Schwantz at the press conference, and were hoping to see some MotoGP events welcomed at the new facility. 

From the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ press release:

  • Driving/Riding Experience and Seminar Building: The facility and racetrack will provide the ideal location for manufacturers to test, launch and educate dealers as well as consumers. The facility will feature classroom settings, virtual driving experiences and will provide the opportunity for test-driving on the racetrack, streets and off-road courses.
  • Motorsports Driving Club: The membership-only club will serve as a luxury destination featuring an array of hospitality services and amenities. The club will offer its members professional instruction, customized driving courses, premium car story and concierge level services.
  • Kart Track: The outdoor karting track will be designed to provide an experience for youth and adults of all ages. The track, open to the public, will specialize in orchestrating custom group events, team building programs, celebratory events, fund–raisers as well as individual experiences.

What are your thoughts?  Good enough or what else would you like to see at the facility or addressed by the official promoter?