Fun Fun Fun Fest promotional event draws crowds.
Photos and text by Keri Heath
Each November, Austin pulls together comedic and musical talent for a weekend of fun, fun, fun. While FFF Fest is still months away, Austin is already getting excited for the upcoming shows, which was proven last weekend. On Saturday, music enthusiasts came out to celebrate Fun Fun Fun Fest’s fourth annual Aqua Olympics.
The event, held at Fiesta Gardens, gave participants the opportunity to compete in various land and water events for free single-day and weekend passes to the festival. Hopefuls tested their balancing skills in stand-up paddleboard jousts and relays, and demonstrated their lung power in a belching competition. In addition, there were several field-day-style events such as a water-balloon toss and five-legged race.
“Watching grown men and women participate in a potato-sack race is incredibly amusing,” says Tyler Dunson of Giant Noise, which helped promote the Aqua Olympics. “Plus, it’s a family-friendly, free event in the spirit of absurdity and Fun Fun Fun Fest.”
While the Aqua Olympics has always boasted a good turnout, this year, coordinators had to hold the doors due to the competition reaching capacity. An event that seeks to excite the audience for the upcoming festival, Aqua Olympics was started four years ago when Fun Fun Fun Fest moved from Waterloo Park to Auditorium Shores. It also serves as a tribute to the Austin Aqua Festival, which was held from the 1960s to the 1980s.
True to the culture of Austin, the Aqua Olympics possessed some wonderfully weird features. The Austin Facial Hair Society welcomed attendees to the festival with a dunking booth. At the start of the competitions, one member sporting a waist-length ginger beard opened up the Aqua Olympics with the national anthem played on bass.
“We help out to have fun,” says one member of the Austin Facial Hair Society. “We just try to have a good time. We enjoy it.”
Throughout the evening, BMX bikers continued to jump off a ramp into the water, performing tricks on their way down. The Aqua Olympics also offered other fun options, such as corn hole, a corpse-themed face painter and food by Kebabalicious. The coordinators pushed a family-friendly atmosphere to attract and appeal to both new and returning crowds for Fun Fun Fun Fest.
“It’s a fun, easygoing event for both participants and spectators,” Dunson says. “I think the event helps us reach an audience that might not traditionally be considered a Fun Fun Fun Fest or Transmission Events target audience.”
Throughout the festival, the lively commentary kept the crowd engaged and entertained. In addition, the event’s games concluded with a massive tug-o-war across the lake between the “beardos” of the Austin Facial Hair Society and the Tug Boat Queens. After a long battle in which both teams seemed equally matched, the “beardos” emerged victorious. Before attendees left, a giant taco cannon fired Tex-Mex favorites while eager crowds unwrapped the tacos in hopes of finding the one containing festival passes.
Fun Fun Fun Fest will be held the first weekend in November and will feature emerging and established musical and comedy acts. Stay tuned for more ATX Man FFF coverage in our fall issue.