Party goes on long after the bats leave for dinner

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Party goes on long after the bats leave for dinner

Bats have earned a spot alongside live music and breakfast tacos as calling cards of Austin, thanks to the colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that live under the Congress Avenue bridge from roughly February through October. We also love our festivals here in Central Texas, so it's no wonder that Bat Fest is having its eighth incarnation this weekend.

Besides celebrating our city's winged insect-eaters, Night of the Bat will have food, arts and crafts vendors, and live music on two stages. Among the bands scheduled to perform are Fastball, Alpha Rev, Vallejo, Adema, the Soldier Thread and the Black & White Years.

Kids activities are happening, too, as well as a bat costume contest.

And, of course, festivalgoers will see more than a million bats depart from under the bridge for their nightly activities. They're not on a schedule, but the flight should begin between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

It's free to attend Bat Fest, which is from 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday on the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, 100 S. Congress Ave.

VIP and party tickets are available for $10 to $50.

An after-party is scheduled for 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Shiner's Saloon, Fifth Street and Congress Avenue. That's $10 to attend and includes more music from DaHeBeGeBees, Blondes Make Better Victims, Joseph King and Alpha Rev, plus artist-meet-and greets and various giveaways.

See the complete details at www.roadway events.com. And you can learn much more about the Congress Avenue bats in the Statesman interactive bat guide at www.statesman.com/bats.

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