Austin’s annual Bat Fest made a triumphant return to downtown on Saturday, attracting a massive crowd eager to witness the city’s renowned bat population. Thousands of individuals flocked to the festivities, adorned in bat-themed attire, as they exhibited their dedication to celebrating these magnificent creatures. Perla Guzman, donning a bat-inspired ensemble, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “We had to come as a pair of bats, you know, because they live all in big groups, and just wanted to, like I said, celebrate them.”
Guzman arrived promptly at the gates, thrilled to partake in the revelries of Austin’s Bat Fest. “It’s my first Bat Fest,” she exclaimed. “I’ve always heard about it. I’ve never been, and I thought it was time to see the bats the way they’re truly supposed to be seen.”
As the warm summer weather enveloped the city, this presented the opportune time to observe the mesmerizing sight of 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats swirling through the skyline in search of their insect prey. However, this season also challenged humans with scorching temperatures. Guzman expressed her gratitude, stating, “Thank god they let us bring in water, but it’s a little brutal right now.”
Water vendors quickly noticed the demand for hydration soaring within the early hours of the event. Margi Henson, a vendor selling water, remarked, “We’re picking up now, it opened up now at 4 o’clock, so now everyone’s coming in for their waters.” The soaring temperatures, exceeding 100 degrees, sustained a sweltering atmosphere throughout Bat Fest.
Sunnie Tate, the owner of Palette Works, noted the efforts taken to alleviate the heat, exclaiming, “I got fans, I’ve got tons of water. The roadway productions are doing a great job making sure we all have ice.” Despite enduring the humidity and perspiration, vendors like Tate steadfastly believed that the experience was worthwhile.
“For my family, much to my husband’s disapproval, the spooky season starts on July 5,” Tate revealed. “So when I heard about Bat Fest, which kicks off the spooky season in August, I was super excited.” Tate’s excitement resonated with numerous attendees who eagerly lined up on Congress Avenue Bridge. The event welcomed unique vendors, delectable food options, and captivating music, creating an atmosphere of anticipation and delight.
As darkness neared, Henson invited everyone to relish in the festivities, proclaiming, “Come enjoy the party. It’s going to get dark soon, so come watch the bats. Good times.” The exciting Bat Fest concluded at the stroke of midnight, leaving attendees with lasting memories of a remarkable event that highlighted the beauty and importance of Austin’s bat population.