AUSTIN (KXAN) - With two reasons to celebrate Wednesday night - opening day ofthe South by Southwest music festival and St. Patrick's Day - fansof both have flocked to Sixth Street.
But it's not an easy route to local venues for either locals orout-of-town visitors. So KXAN News suggests you take actor ErikEstrada's advice before heading downtown during one of thebusiest weeks of the year in Austin.
Estrada, for the younger set, was Ponch Poncherello in the '70s televisionseries CHiPs. Estrada was in Austin during SWSX for a rathernon-sex symbol promotion on Wednesday -- hearing aids -- but hestill was pretty good at dispensing rather authoritative trafficadvice for SXSW attendees in downtown Austin.
"If you can consolidate by taking three or four people insteadof taking three or four cars to get around, that's a good thing,"said Estrada while walking back to his hotel at Fifth Street andNeches.
Getting a word in among the crowd of fans snapping pictures withthe CHiPs co-star was not easy. The one-time television sex symbolis in town handing out guitar picks and promoting a hearing aidfoundation he is now the face of along with actor Verne Troyer.
"Don't forget to pull to the right when you hear a siren andkeep it under 55 baby," Estrada quipped to KXAN News with a smileand a laugh.
Estrada has has television gigs in his years since CHiPs -- mostrecently as father of the groomin a television movie -- but he has no problem making fun ofhimself in videos such as this one:
With two reasons to celebrate Wednesday night - opening day ofthe South by Southwest music festival and St. Patrick - fans ofboth flocked to 6th Street.
"We took a taxi and we're gonna go either hitchhike home or geta cab down by the freeway," said Tiberis Dawn sporting a tall greenfoam hat.
Sitting bumper to bumper on Fifth Street did not look fun.Barricades blocked 6th Street and city crews shut down one lane on5th and 7th Streets to allow easier loading and unloading.
Taking two wheels appeared to be the smarter transportationchoice.
"Riding a bike is just a lot, lot faster," said AnnaWeinstein-Perez who stopped her bike for a second on her afternoonride.
Austin police called in extra officers to keep an eye on thecrowd. During SXSW, 6th Street will only be open to cars from 6:00a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Commercial vehicles are allowed in from 10:00 to4:00pm for loading and unloading. The path turns pedestrian-onlyfrom 4:00 p.m to 6:00 a.m.
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