Doors for the grand opening of Tesla's $1.1 billion gigafactory in southeast Travis County open at 4 p.m. Thursday, and up to 15,000 could attend. The invite-only event known as Cyber Rodeo will feature food, drinks, entertainment and possibly fireworks.
Tesla has said people may not transfer, sell or buy tickets. And you have to leave the kids and fancy cameras at home, as the event is for adults only and Tesla won't allow drones or professional recording equipment inside. While some are willing to pay $500 to be someone's plus one, here are a few we know who have been invited or have traveled to Austin in the hopes of going:
Tesla Owners Club
Austonia talked to Theresa Ramsdell as she was preparing for her flight from Washington state, where she's the president of the Tesla Owners Club, to Austin for the grand opening. Ramsdell, who owns two Model 3's and a Model S Plaid, said her notice that she'd been invited came in about two weeks ago.
Ramsdell picked her husband as her plus one and is hoping to tour the factory. A while back, she had planned a club drive to the Fremont, California factory but couldn't go due to COVID-19 precautions. But now, she'll get an up-close look.
"I'm excited to see all the new tech that's going into the cars," Ramsdell said, noting the structural battery pack that Texas-made Model Y's are known for.
Other club presidents in the U.S. and Canada were also given an invitation, including the Austin chapter.
Mayor Steve Adler and other local officials
Adler has been invited, but it hasn't been confirmed whether he will be able to make it to the festivities, a spokesperson for the mayor told Ausotnia. On Sunday, Adler tweeted he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Other officials that could be in attendance include city council members, who have a meeting that day, and Travis County Commissioners. Del Valle ISD also received a limited number of tickets.
Made it to Austin this afternoon! Drove past #GigaTexas - #CyberRodeo - I still can't believe I'll be there, on the inside! @teslaownersSV @WholeMarsBlogpic.twitter.com/TqffPwgGsM— Indra @ #CyberRodeo #GigaTexas (@Indra @ #CyberRodeo #GigaTexas) 1649218445
Just days before, this Twitter user sent out a request to CEO Elon Musk asking for two invites. He says he got one arrived in Austin this week for the event. A flood of others have done the same, hoping Musk will help them in.
With nearly 17,000 YouTube subscribers, Tesla Joy is a Model 3 owner in Los Angeles, California who has also made the trip to Austin and swung by to see the factory from afar Wednesday.
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Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.
As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.
“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”
Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.
“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”
Actually, a purr-fect idea.
Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.
At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”
Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.
“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”
Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.
“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”
Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.
“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”
Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.
“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”
And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.
“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”
Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.
“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”
We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.
This restaurant claims to have the most authentic South Indian food, and from what I've heard, the claims might be true! Their menu features the traditional South Indian dishes of Idlis, Vadas, a variety of Dosas, and more.
If you're looking for an Indian and Tex-Mex fusion cozy restaurant, then look no further! Nasha on East 7th Street prides itself on its specialty margaritas, Tikka con Queso, Biryani, and more creative dishes!