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Austin tradition clashes with Grand Prix kickoff event

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TWC News: Austin tradition clashes with Grand Prix kickoff event
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An 36-year-old Austin tradition may have to work around the city's inaugural Formula Fest.

Circuit of the Americas wants to host a concert at Auditorium Shores the weekend of the U.S. Grand Prix in November. However, it’s slated to happen at the same time as The Junior League of Austin's fundraiser, A Christmas Affair, at the nearby Palmer Events Center.

Austin City Council postponed the concert permit until Aug. 16, so both sides can work out a plan that allows both events to coincide.

"We need our event to run very smoothly, not have a lot of obstacles, and that includes traffic snafus,” Terri Williams with the Junior League of Austin said. “We want people to go to the Palmer Events Center and spend money because that money goes into the pockets of Austin's nonprofits."

Williams told YNN that relocating Formula Fest would solve the problem, offering Zilker Park as an alternative to Auditorium Shores.

"I don't want to take Zilker off the table. Of course, it might have to come to that,” Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. “Right now, we are trying to find a way to make Formula Fest work on Auditorium Shores."

A Christmas Affair has been held at the Palmer Events Center since 1976. The Junior League of Austin says it brings in most of the $750,000 it raises annually.

A Circuit of the Americas spokeswoman declined to speak with YNN about the permit process while they await council's decision.

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