FALL’S FINEST FESTS
Look Forward to Celebrations of Culture, Food and History This Season
By Susie Tommaney
In Houston we welcome the advent of fall because it brings some welcome relief from the heat. But it’s also a season filled with harvest festivals, showcases of art and culture, and celebrations of food both strange and familiar. These gatherings give us the opportunity for community, to enjoy live music, historical tours, and wholesome entertainment far away from the television and computer.
CULTURE AND HERITAGE
We’ve got more than a few Oktoberfests this fall, which can only be a good thing for lovers of polka, pretzels and bier: look to Addison, Celina, Fredericksburg, Galveston, La Grange and McKinney. Not to be outdone, Roberts Cove in Louisiana celebrates Germanfest in October. Then, in the shadows of Stonehenge, the Hill Country Arts Foundation hosts the Scottish Highland Games and Highland Dance Competition in Ingram. Experience Texas Czech culture at the Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Center in La Grange, with a koláce eating contest, music in the amphitheater with a 28-piece folk ensemble from the Czech Republic, and a big H-E-B fireworks finale.
This month Medina Lake hosts the No. 1 Cajun festival in Texas, so bring the family and friends. Nearby Giddings celebrates its early settlers with the 31st Wendish Fest with museum tours, folklore and more. Down Victoria way is the Czech Heritage Festival with Tarok games, accordion lessons and the famous pastry wheel. Lewisville does it up right with its Western Days Festival, bringing tamales, wild west pony rides and five stages of live entertainment. Old Town Coldspring gives tours of the historic jail and encourages folks to dress in early 1900 attire during Heritage Days.
During the month of October, head to Louisiana to check out the historic Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, with its popular mystery tours and Halloween Extravaganza. We’ve got more wild west fun in Beeville with food trucks and a parade during Bee County Western Week. Celebrate harvest and East Texas heritage in Woodville with period costumes and demonstrations in the “Living Village.” For cowboys, cannons and history, look no further than Texian Market Days at the George Ranch Historical Park in Richmond. Then celebrate Czech Heritage Day in Schertz with live music by SA Combo and authentic Czech foods.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
Denton is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Arts & Autos this month, with hot rods, classics and custom rides. Quilters in Sulphur Springs, Corsicana and Houston have been busy as bees getting ready for their annual quilt shows, while Ingram’s Texas Arts & Crafts Fair has been Texas’s offical state arts and crafts fair since 1972.
Next month in New Iberia, Louisiana, The Shadows hosts an Arts & Crafts Fair with more than 100 vendors and guided tours of the historic building constructed between 1831 and 1834. Find more treasures and gifts at Huntsville’s Fair on the Square with live music throughout the day, plus a variety of handmade crafts and unique art in Pearland’s Arts & Crafts on the Pavilion. You’ll be amazed at what can be sculpted out of wood in Fredericksburg with its Texas Mesquite Arts Festival on downtown’s Marktplatz.
From artists’ mecca to juried festival, everybody heads to Edom in October for shopping plus demonstrations of pottery and blacksmithing. Not all art is permanent, and that doesn’t stop the street artists at the popular Kerrville Chalk Festival. For art, food and fun in a historic setting, head to the island for Galveston’s ARToberFEst, with work from more than 100 artists; while art and live music go hand in hand during Brenham’s Texas Arts & Music Festival.
(ALMOST) TOO GOOD TO EAT
Nothing could be sweeter than Sugar Month at The Shadows, when southern Louisiana hosts the Pete deGravelles Sugar Tour and, toward the end of the month, Farm Fest. Grapevine lives up to its name with the 33rd Annual GrapeFest®, with samples of more than 150 local wines from dozens of Texas wineries. Some like it hot, and Houston is ground zero for the 20th annual Texas Hot Sauce Festival.
In October, Possum Kingdom Lake lives up to its name with its Possum Fest, where they barbecue for fun and hungry visitors benefit from the cook-off. For more grilled goodness, Jasper returns with its Boots & BBQ Festival. The highpoint of Sulphur Springs Indian Summer Days has to be the John Chester Dutch Oven Cookoff, prepared over coals on an open wood fire. Did you know that Madisonville is the mushroom capital of Texas? Well folks there sure know it, and their Texas Mushroom Festival even includes a Shiitake 5K.
You’ll be amazed at the different rice dishes on hand at the 82nd International Rice Festival over in Crowley, Louisiana; you’re invited this October, so you gotta go! Seguin honors all things pecan-related with its Pecan Fest Heritage Days; that includes a pub crawl and a celebration of rural heritage at the Red Barn. They say everything’s hotter in Texas, and you’ll find proof in Palestine with its Hot Pepper Festival; from spicy salsas to fiery Cajun cuisine and even a hot pepper eating contest for the truly brave. Paris, Texas might be celebrating its Festival of Pumpkins, but insiders know it’s also a great chance for corn dogs, funnel cakes and chocolate dipped cheesecake. Then wrap up the month of October in Fredericksburg with a full-course celebration of Texas food and wine.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The 151st Washington County Fair starts up in just a few weeks; it’s the oldest county fair in the state and has earned those bragging rights. Did you know that Feliciana is Spanish for “The Happy Land?” Those happy folks near St. Francisville, Louisiana are celebrating all things hummingbird this month. And along the Texas Gulf Coast, lady anglers are looking forward to the 25th anniversary Redfish Rodeo. Galveston returns with its 10th annual Shrimp Festival that includes gumbo tastings and a cook-off. Being extinct doesn’t mean out of mind, and McKinney is hosting Dinosaurs Live at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary through February.
The second oldest county fair belongs to Seguin, celebrating its 136th anniversary this year and supporting the youth of Guadalupe County. Another milestone can be found in Kerrville with the 40th annual Kerr County Fair. The gardeners at Riverside Nature Center in Kerrville are sharing their wisdom and horticulture next month with their Native Plant Sale. Over Louisiana way, the Angola Prison Rodeo never fails to deliver the wildest show in the South with bareback riding, barrel racing and chariot races. For ideas and inspiration, no other gardening program brings renowned speakers to a historic plantation setting than the Southern Garden Symposium in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
Through February: Dinosaurs Live, McKinney, www.heardmuseum.org/dinosaurslive
3-30: Pete deGravelles Sugar Tour, New Iberia, Louisiana, www.shadowsontheteche.org/pete-degravelles-sugar-tour-3
12-15: 33rd Annual GrapeFest®, www.grapevinetexasusa.com/grapefest/wine/peoples-choice-wine
13-21: Washington County Fair, Brenham, www.WashingtonCoFair.com
14: Feliciana Hummingbird Celebration, St. Francisville, Louisiana, www.stfrancisvillefestivals.com/features/feliciana-hummingbird-celebration
14: 20th Annual Arts & Autos Extravaganza, Denton, www.dentonmainstreet.org/arts-and-autos
19-21: Redfish Rodeo, Galveston, www.rrtournaments.com
19-22: Addison Oktoberfest, Addison, www.addisonoktoberfest.com
20-21: Lone Star Heritage 20th Annual Quilt Show, Sulphur Springs, www.sulphurspringstxquilts.com
21-22: Notre Dame Catholic School Festival, Kerrville, www.notredameschool.cc
21-22:Texas Hot Sauce Festival, Houston, www.texashotsaucefestival.com
22: 31st Annual Wendish Fest, Giddings, www.texaswendish.org
22: 34th Annual Victoria County Czech Heritage Festival, Victoria, www.victoriaczechs.org
26: Farm Fest, New Iberia, Louisiana, www.shadowsontheteche.org/farm-fest-2
27-28: Galveston Island Shrimp Festival, Galveston, www.galvestonislandshrimpfestival.com
27-28: Western Days, Old Town Lewisville, www.cityoflewisville.com/about-us/city-departments/community-relations-tourism/special-events-festivals/western-days-festival/live-music
27-29: McKinney Oktoberfest, McKinney, www.mckinneytexas.org/664/Oktoberfest
28: 39th Annual Medina Lake Cajun Festival, Medina Lake, www.cajunfestival-medinalake.com
28: Heritage Days, Old Town Coldspring, www.sjchistorical.org/heritage-day.html
28-29: Kerrville Triathlon Festival, Kerrville, www.kerrvilletri.com
28-29: Texas Arts & Crafts Fair, Ingram, www.txartsandcraftsfair.com
30 (through October 5): Piecemakers’ 39th Annual Quilt Show, Corsicana, www.corsicanaquiltguild.com/2019-quilt-show.html
1-31: The Myrtles Halloween Extravaganza, St. Francisville, Louisiana, www.myrtlesplantation.com
3-6: Bee County Western Week, Beeville, www.experiencebeecounty.org/pages/WesternWeek
4-5: PKCC Possum Fest & Great Outdoors BBQ & Chili Cook-Off, Graford, www.possumkingdomlake.com
4-6: Oktoberfest, Fredericksburg, www.oktoberfestinfbg.com
5: Shadows Arts & Crafts Fair, New Iberia, Louisiana, www.shadowsontheteche.org/shadows-arts-crafts-fair-3
5: Fall Native Plant Sale & Festival, Kerrville, www.riversidenaturecenter.org
5: Fair on the Square, Huntsville, www.faironthesquare.com
5: Indian Summer Days and Dutch Oven Cooking Contest, Sulphur Springs, www.hopkinscountymuseum.org/events.html
5: Oktoberfest on the Square, La Grange, www.visitlagrangetx.com/oktoberfest-on-the-square
5-6: Germanfest, Roberts Cove, Louisiana, www.robertscovegermanfest.com
5-6: Pearland Art & Crafts on the Pavilion, Pearland, www.visitpearland.com/annual-events
6, 13, 20, 27: Angola Prison Rodeo, Angola, Louisiana, www.angolarodeo.com
10-13: Harvest Moon Regatta, Port Aransas, www.harvestmoonregatta.com
10-13: 136th Annual Guadalupe County Fair & Rodeo, Seguin, www.gcfair.org
11-13: Texas Mesquite Arts Festival, Fredericksburg, www.texasmesquiteartfestivals.com
12: Celina Oktoberfest, Celina, www.celinaoktoberfest.com
12: Champion Oaks Ranch 3rd Annual Boots & BBQ Festival, Jasper, www.championoaksranch.org/3rd-annual-boots-bbq-festival
12-13: Kerr County Celtic Festival & Hill Country Highland Games, Ingram, www.kerrcountyceltic.com
12-13: Edom Art Festival 2018, Edom, www.visitedom.com/edom-art-festival
12-13: Kerrville Chalk Festival, Kerrville, www.kerrvillechalk.org
17-20: International Rice Festival, Crowley, Louisiana, www.ricefestival.com
18-19: 31st Annual Harvest Festival, Woodville, www.heritage-village.org/HarvestFestival.htm
18-19: Southern Garden Symposium, St. Francisville, Louisiana, www.southerngardensymposium.org
18-19: Heritage Fest & Muziky, La Grange, www.czechtexas.org/events
18-20: Texas Arts and Music Festival, Brenham, www.texasartsandmusicfestival.com
19: Texas Mushroom Festival, Madisonville, www.texasmushroomfestival.com
19: Harvest Festival, Liberty Hill, www.crosstrackschurchumc.org/harvest-fest-2019
19-20: ARToberFEST, Galveston, www.artoberfest.com
25-26: Island Oktoberfest, Galveston, www.galvestonoktoberfest.com
25-27: Pecan Fest Heritage Days, Seguin, www.seguintexas.gov/departments/main_street/pecanfest_heritage_days.php
25-27: 40th Annual Kerr County Fair, Kerrville, www.kerrcountyfair.com
26: Hot Pepper Festival, Palestine, www.visitpalestine.com/events/2018/hot-pepper-festival
26: Indian Summer Heritage Festival, Helena, www.helenatx.com
26: 19th annual Festival of Pumpkins, Paris, www.paristexas.gov/322/Festival-of-Pumpkins
26: Texian Market Days, Richmond, www.georgeranch.org/programs-events/texian-market-days
27: Bexar County Czech-Slovak Festival, Schertz, www.bexarcountyczechheritagesociety.com
26: Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest, Fredericksburg, www.fbgfoodandwinefest.com
26: Trick or Treat Trail, McKinney, www.mckinneytexas.org
31 (through November 3): International Quilt Festival, Houston, www.quilts.com/festival-info.html
2: Day of the Dead Festival, Bay City, www.visitbaycitytx.com/upcoming-events
8-9: Winnsboro Art & Wine Festival, Winnsboro, www.winnsboroonlineguide.com/Art_wine_festival_2018
8-10: Kid ‘N Ewe and Llamas Too Festival, Kerrville, www.kidnewe.com
8-10: 58th Annual Scottish Gathering and Highland Games, Salado, www.saladoscottishfestival.com
9: 19th Annual Holiday Boutique, McKinney, www.stgabriel.org/holidayboutique
9: 31st Annual Heritage Syrup Festival, Henderson, www.visithendersontx.com/henderson-events
9-10: Brazos Fine Art Show, Waco, www.pactart.org/bfas
16: Festival of Lights and Iceland Opening Day, Galveston, www.moodygardens.com/holiday_season
23-24: Market Days, Angleton, www.angleton.tx.us/tourism
29 (through December 1): Home for the Holidays, McKinney, www.mckinneytexas.org/677/Home-for-the-Holidays
2-31: Merry-Making Season, New Iberia, Louisiana, www.shadowsontheteche.org/merry-making-season-2
6-7: Christkindlmarkt, New Braunfels, www.christkindlmarktnbtx.org
6-8: Dickens on the Strand, Galveston, www.galvestonhistory.org/events/dickens-on-the-strand/schedules-special-events
7: Wylie Arts Festival, Wylie, www.wylietexas.gov/artsfestival
7: Flock Fest, Bay City, www.cityofbaycity.org/departments/parks-recreation/christmas-in-the-park