welcome to the fortress

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In my communications class, my professor asked our class if we had a good spring break or, rather, a “collapse.” I, personally, might have had a bit of a collapse in the latter half of break, but not before I got to wander around downtown Austin in the heat of South by Southwest (SXSW). For those of you who are not familiar with SXSW, it’s a music, film, interactive, and, most recently, style festival that began in 1987, typically occurs in mid-March, and lasts for about two weeks. Unfortunately, you have to purchase a badge to gain access to all the conferences and events. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun without breaking the bank.

Since spring break didn’t start for UT until March 13, I got to explore a bit starting the second week of SXSW with my med-school sister whose spring break incidentally coincided with mine. She came on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday, we trekked out to explore. Post-lunch, we took the bus downtown and our first stop was a Chobani food truck and, I’ll confess, it was mainly because we saw the word “free.” As college students, the word “free” sets off bells in our heads. Free food, free shirts, ALL good.

So, after getting some free Chobani sunglasses (you can see me sporting them in the pictures below) and greek yogurt, we continued wandering around. As you might imagine, downtown was filled with the hustle and bustle of people and painted with signs and banners promoting SXSW events and artists. In fact, we even saw one man jump into a random stranger’s car stopped in traffic and, being Austin, the two happily got chummy with one another. In the streets, there was no shortage of carriages and bikes giving rides while promoting different businesses. On every corner, you could see people standing around passing out flyers and handing out items (we snagged some free Band-Aids and Post-Its). It’s no secret that SXSW is a great time for businesses to promote themselves and really interact with various consumers as people from all over flock to Austin.

After walking around some, we decided to head over to the Palmer Events Center to SXCreate and the Gaming Expo. First, we got our free guest passes to gain access to these events and then entered SXCreate. Filled with people and interesting vendors, we quickly went on to the Gaming Expo which was a lot more interesting than I anticipated. Although I’m not a huge gamer, I do have an older brother with whom my sister and I spent some quality time in our childhoods playing video games with. When we entered the Gaming Expo, there were so many interesting, neat things going on – one of which I believe was an Alpha Street Fighter tournament. I’m a horrendous gamer and never been a huge fan, but I was blown away by the competitors. These people were so good. They really knew what they were doing and definitely were not just pushing random buttons and running around in circles like I would have done.

Further in the Gaming Expo, there was a panel of the creators and illustrators for the game Minecraft as well as demonstrations, vendors, and booths of different gaming-related things. They even had a Back to the Future car (replica), and, of course, cosplayers dressed up as different characters from games or movies such as Frozen and League of Legends.

After escaping the craze of the Gaming Expo, we decided to breathe in the fresh, early evening air and walk back home. We made a couple stops along the way to appreciate the beautiful view of the lovely city of Austin. Unsurprisingly, I was exhausted by the time we got back, but I was sporting my beautiful Fortress of Inca Cameron Oxfords, so my feet didn’t even feel sore. I was stylish and comfortable for the entirety of our SXSW adventure. After walking almost 20,000 steps, I’d say that’s not too shabby!

Like what you’re reading? Don’t forget to follow the brand @fortressofinca and me @gabyyu13 on Instagram as we keep making our prints all over Austin.