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Austin Honors Its Favorite Unofficial Mascot at Bat Fest

The classic event returns on August 26 with a full day of food, music and fun

Bat Fest Austin

It has been sweltering in Austin, making enjoying the city’s natural wonders occasionally near-impossible. However, two good things that come from this toasty time of year are the return of daylight savings and the city’s remarkable bat population. Now through October, you can cozy up along the shore as 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats — the largest urban colony in the world — make their nightly descent from underneath Congress Bridge, creating captivating, amorphous trails across the downtown skyline.

Summertime also marks the arrival of an Austin classic: Bat Fest. Produced by Roadway Productions, it all began in 2004 when owner French Smith launched the first-ever gathering to pay tribute to Austin’s unofficial mascot.

Crowds gather to see the stars of the show — Austin’s Mexican free-tailed bat colony (photo by Ismael Quintanilla)

Now in its 17th year, the festival is back on August 26 to once again celebrate the beloved bats, charming nature and community-focused culture that has always remained a constant in our city. Kicking-off at 4 p.m., visitors can expect a full day of food, family-friendly activities, two stages of live music, craft vendors, conservation education and more. There’s also costume contests with $100 rewards for the best and battiest adult and children costumes. Then, it’s time for the main show.

Although timing varies, the bats’ flight usually starts from 7-9 p.m., and can last around a half hour long. But the party’s not over once they’re gone. Bat Fest rages on until midnight, with final performers hitting the stage as late as 10:45 p.m. In the past, the event has offered an impressive lineup of national and local musicians, and this time is no different. Currently, the mix will feature Chris Lanes, Mike Jones and George Birge, with more to be announced.

Expect great entertainment options at Bat Fest (Ismael Quintanilla)

RELATED: See Austin Bats Take Flight

There’s also a handful of ticket options available, including early bird discounts and a VIP ticket that offers front row concert access, a t-shirt voucher, reserved parking, a private bar with two complimentary drinks, private restrooms and more.

For more information, follow @batfestatx and visit

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