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Weekend street closures and the lowdown on Batfest

It’s on Congress Avenue Bridge, for one thing

A photo of bats flying with sunset in background
Bats leaving Congress Avenue Bridge for the night
Via The Westin Austin Downtown/Facebook

It’s kind of mind-boggling to realize that this will be the 14th year of Austin’s Bat Fest. Looks like this whole winged mammal thing has really taken off.

The annual fest is held on (and near) the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, so by necessity it will be closed all day Saturday, Aug. 19. You probably don’t need a map to find the bridge, but the Downtown Austin Alliance has provided a map of the fest itself (below), which you will no doubt find helpful if you are attending.

In addition to the 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerging from under the bridge at dusk (pretty much nightly, not just for this event, just FYI), the fest features three stages with live music, a flotilla of arts & crafts vendors, food and drink, children’s activities, a bat costume contest ($100 prizes for adult and kid winners!), and other bat-related activities. Admission is $15, unless you want the fancy schmancy $150 VIP tickets.

The official Bat Fest site advises attendees not to bring the following:

  • Food & drinks
  • Liquor (including beer and wine)
  • Weapons or fireworks
  • Pets
  • Tents

On the other hand, feel free to bring the following:

  • Baby food & drinks
  • Cameras
  • One bottle of water
  • Chairs

Traffic and parking around the fest, of course, will be nuts—but there will be some free, reservable parking, as well as paid lots, available. See the site for details. Capital Metro buses are a good option, ride-hailing company Fasten is offering $5 to new customers using the BATFEST17 code, and Austin B-Cycle bikes will be valeted.

Oh, and don’t forget to look for the bats around sunset.