AUSTIN, Texas – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is cooking up something exciting this weekend alongside Austin Food Magazine. On Sunday, November 19, AUS’s concession program, Beats, Bites and Flights will sponsor the Austin Mac & Grilled Cheese Fest, hosted at Lantana Place Shopping Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“This is the first time our airport has done something like this,” said Mookie Patel, AUS Chief Business and Revenue Officer. “This year, we’ve taken a special focus on finding new and creative ways to get out into the community, especially as Austinites and Central Texans continue to use the airport more than they ever have before. With the holiday travel season starting this weekend, this is a great opportunity for us to connect with our customers and show them a little bit about what AUS does best – Beats, Bites & Flights!”
The festival, which is in its eighth year, is a fun, family-friendly, all-you-can event that features over 15 different Austin-based chefs who will serve up their best grilled cheese and mac & cheese dishes. Attendees will get to vote for their favorite dish in both categories after sampling each delicious, cheesy offering.
“The Mac & Cheese Festival has been a big hit with everyone in Austin since we started in 2016,” said Hayden Walker, event lead organizer & Austin Food Magazine Director. “Every year since then, we’ve seen some of the most creative mac & cheese recipes from participating chefs, making it a perfect event prior to Thanksgiving. Everyone arrives hungry and leaves with a full belly, a food coma, and a few ideas they might be able to use for their holiday dinner. Last year we added grilled cheese to the festival, which created even more excitement with the chefs and the audience. Now everyone can enjoy both of their cheesy childhood favorites all in one event.”
AUS will feature three different dishes, cooked up by concession chefs & their teams from Delaware North Company, Paradies Lagardere and HMS Host, which are the three prime concessionaires that operate the majority of the shopping and dining concepts at the airport.
Attendees can enjoy different ticket options, with General Admission for sale at $50 per ticket, and VIP for sale at $95 per ticket. VIP attendees will get to enjoy a VIP-only sponsored by the airport that will feature special dishes crafted just for them, including a Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese from the airport’s Beats, Bites and Flights team.
Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased online.
75-foot Spurs vela mural lights up downtown San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO — Nik Soupè can’t believe he gets paid to do the very thing he used to get in trouble for.
“As I got into junior high and high school, I got in trouble for coloring on walls, but I stuck with it and I got a little bit better,” Soupè said. “Now it’s my life and my career.”
He’s known all over the world for his spray-painted Spurs murals in San Antonio.
His next masterpiece is this 75-foot Spurs mural of a vela, a candle, propped up by giant hands with intricate details reflecting San Antonio’s Mexican American culture. This $100,000 project, titled “Por Vida,” was funded by Centro San Antonio’s Art Everywhere initiative.
“A project like this, we had such an incredible deadline. It’s like, ‘OK, can we make this happen?’” Soupè said.
Mural coordinator and artist Andy Benavides says this project is another example of Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama creating opportunities for artists even though Wemby isn’t necessarily on the mural.
Soupè says the big budget sets the standard for how artists should be compensated and that this opportunity is thanks to the Spurs being in demand.
“This mural is very much a tribute to my mom, and my tias as well, who are looking down at us from heaven,” Benavides said.
The mural garnered the attention of tourists and resonated with locals.
“Puro San Anto carnal,” a man admiring the mural said.
This project, like the Spurs’ success, required a team.
Benavides and Soupè expect to see more projects like these in the city moving forward.
While the mural wrapped up, Benavides approached an old woman who couldn’t take her eyes off of the vela. He told her in Spanish the mural is a gift for her, as she waited for her bus.
“I’m religious and superstitious enough that I don’t see it coincidental — that light, illumination of sunlight is on that mural at this particular moment,” Benavides said.
Big 12 committed to title game
ARLINGTON, Texas — Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said his still-evolving conference remains committed to having a championship game even as the College Football Playoff expands from four to 12 teams after this season.
“This is a tentpole event. Everything leads up to this moment, it creates a wonderful narrative for this conference. It’s a showcase event, and something I’m committed to,” Yormark said before Saturday’s title game. “I know there’s been a lot of discussion amongst the commissioners about what that might look like, but as it relates to the Big 12, we love this game. We love being at AT&T (Stadium). … It lets the world know who we are and where we’re going.”
Seventh-ranked Texas, the Big 12’s last hope to get into the final four-team version of the playoffs, played No. 19 Oklahoma State at the home of NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, where it has a contract to play its championship game through 2031.
Texas is leaving along with Oklahoma for the Southeastern Conference next season, when the Big 12 will add departing Pac-12 schools Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah to grow to 16 members. Texas and Oklahoma, the only remaining members that have won national championships, already had revealed their intentions to leave the Big 12 before Yormark became commissioner during the summer of 2022.
“We thank them for getting us where we are today for being pillars in this conference and for creating a great history and legacy and we wish them well,” Yormark said. “I have no emotion about it. … As I’ve often said, there’s never been a better time than right now to be part of this conference.”
Yormark was in Austin a week ago when the Longhorns won 57-7 over Texas Tech in their final Big 12 regular-season game. Late in that game, video was played in the stadium of Yormark’s remarks to a crowd of Texas Tech fans about a week before when he told Red Raiders coach Joey McGuire they “better take care of business” like last year when beating Texas.
Some Longhorns fans booed and chanted at Yormark when he was walking off the field into a tunnel before the Big 12 championship game. The commissioner smiled when he looked up and waved his arms as to encourage and acknowledge them.
“I never look back. I enjoyed my time in Austin,” Yormark said. “One thing I love about the fans in college sports, because as you know, I’ve only been in for 16 months, I love the passion, and they’re showing their passion and I love it.”
Yormark said he was passionate about the Big 12, and he was rooting for both teams in the championship game. He said the Longhorns would certainly deserve consideration for a CFP spot with a win.
The title game for the first time included a Super Bowl-like halftime show featuring a performance by Nelly, with the bands from both schools also taking part. The game broadcast was being streamed live in New York’s Times Square in what the commissioner hopes becomes an annual event.
There is also a collaboration with WWE, including on-field logos and the presentation of a custom-made title belt to the game’s most outstanding player to be presented by WWE star The Undertaker. Yormark said the partnership is a differentiator for the Big 12 because of the wrestling organization’s 150 million social media followers.
“As many of you know, I come from a bit of a marketing background,” said Yormark, who before joining the Big 12 was a CEO for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. “So as much as the game is all about what unfolds on the field, there’s a lot of different things around it.”
Texas leaders speak out on Sandra Day O’Connor
TEXAS — The country lost a trailblazer on Friday. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, died. She was 93.
Born in El Paso, Texas, on March 26, 1930, her ties to the Lone Star State were strong throughout her remarkable career.
A moderate conservative, she was appointed to court by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and served until 2006.
She attended Austin High School in El Paso, later graduating from Stanford Law School.
Several Texas leaders took to social media on Friday to eulogize her.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who argued a case before the Supreme Court when he was the state’s attorney general, called her “an American trailblazer and inspiration.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called her a “trailblazer & a patriot.”
Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-El Paso, wrote the following:
“I’m so saddened to hear about the passing of Supreme Court Justice and El Pasoan, Sandra Day O’Connor. Justice O’Connor’s trail-blazing legacy as the first woman to serve on our nation’s highest court will live on in the minds of women and girls across our nation.”
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser issued the following statement:
“Justice O’Connor was El Paso’s daughter – attending Radford School for Girls and Austin High School – and a trailblazer in this country. We will always remember her, and now we will cherish her incredible legacy. May she rest in peace.”
Former President George W. Bush called O’Connor “a pioneer who lived by the code of the west.”
“Laura and I are saddened by the passing of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. It was fitting that Sandra became the first female appointed to our highest court, because she was a pioneer who lived by the code of the west.
“She was determined and honest, modest and considerate, dependable and self-reliant. She was also fun and funny, with a wonderful sense of humor. Justice O’Connor was thorough and thoughtful in her opinions, and Laura and I are grateful for her principled service. We send our condolences to her family and friends.”
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