AUSTIN (KXAN) — Bottlecap Mountain’s bass thumps through speakers enveloping the entrance of Circle Brewing Company Saturday afternoon, a small prelude to the throngs of spectators tucked away into the taproom and bracing the heat around picnic benches in he Beatrice Cove Business Park parking lot.
A horseshoe-shaped line of local vendors make up the parameter surrounding spectators, from permanent onsite food trailer Huckleberry to hometown staple Little City Coffee Roasters.
Each tell the story of the businesses, restaurants, artists and homegrown kiosks that define the Austin community, and each have been invited to take part in Austin FC’s inaugural season.
“I think it’s really cool that like, Austin has their own home team finally. We have basketball teams in Dallas, we have basketball teams in Houston and we’ve had baseball teams, footballs teams but we haven’t had like a soccer team and Austin hasn’t had their own specific team, so I think it’s really exciting to see now we have something to get behind,” said Jarrod Glaser, an Austin-based artist doing live paintings Saturday in collaboration with Waterloo Sparkling Water.
Levi Robertson of Mom’s & Pop’s All Natural Frozen Pops may be a relatively new soccer fan, but his homemade popsicles have already found new fans through Q2 Stadium. In addition to setting up a kiosk at Saturday’s tailgate, Mom’s and Pop’s are one of the local businesses selected to operate as an official Austin FC vendor.
“It just goes to show if everybody kind of gets behind something, how quickly it’ll evolve into something like this,” he said, gesturing to the crowds gathered Saturday. “It’s pretty cool.”
A table full of green and black, naturally preserved roses from Flor Keeps was stationed next to Circle Brewing’s entrance Saturday. Owners Santiago Salazar and Carlos Jimenez said they were honored to be part of the historic festivities that brought thousands out to Northwest Austin this weekend.
“We’re Austin-based so we really just wanted to give back to the community,” Salazar said, adding: “We’ve been waiting for the longest time for this to happen…it means the world to see people have interest in what they thought they knew about flowers, but also sharing a commonality about football.”
For Sarah Henry of Little City Coffee Roasters, Austin FC personally reached out to the company after doing a taste testing of different local coffee brands. She said the soccer team valued what her business stood for and invited them to be a part of this season’s festivities.
“Austin FC really loved [our mission] and felt like, as a brand, that it really coincided with their culture and what they wanted to be about, what they wanted to bring to the stadium,” she said.
To see so many local businesses celebrated and elevated as part of Austin FC’s first season has brought a sense of pride and further ownership to what it means to be an Austinite, Henry said. Especially in light of how many small businesses are still feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, she said it means the world to have a national team backing a homegrown community.
“It’s really amazing to be able to be a part of the community. It’s something new and awesome within the Austin community that we’re so glad to be a part of,” she said. “Because everybody has their own sense and feel of the community that they want to bring to it, and it just really makes this wonderful sense of family.”