Austin Fan Fest kicks off ahead of big race
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While the race is the major draw for visitors to Central Texas, there’s a lot going on off the track as well.
Throughout the weekend, Downtown Austin will play host to Austin Fan Fest starting Friday. According to Fan Fest officials, about 200,000 people are expected to kick off the weekend of live music and festivities.
Downtown will see five stages of music as well as booths promoting everything related to racing.
It’s a festival feel that many fans say attracts them to the sport.
"It is a big sport, a very rich sport,” English fan Clive Openshaw said. “Obviously by doing this you are putting a lot more into this for the fans than just going and watching the races and the more people get involved the bigger it will be."
Aerosmith will co-headline the first night with a concert at the Frank Erwin Center. Flo Rida will take the stage about the same time the COTA Club set up in the Austin Convention Center.
Experts say introducing a sport to a U.S. crowd will have to outlast one weekend-long party.
"When we get down to the serious business of Sunday, we're going to get over 100,000 people packed into the circuit of the Americas,” CNN Sports reporter Patrick Snell said. “I am quite certain organizers here are desperate for that to continue and that's the real test. Will it continue?"
Click here for more information about Austin Fan Fest, including schedules and how to purchase tickets.