Throughout the year, there will be a number of great festivals and events staged across Texas. From Mardi Gras to Fantastic Fest, cities and towns across Texas will be holding festivals to celebrate everything from strawberries to mosquitoes, ice cream to sausage. Of course, no one can go to every single event, so here's a month-by-month suggestion list for the most anticipated festivals in Texas each year.
Laredo's annual Washington's Birthday Celebration celebrates the birthday of the nation's first president, George Washington, and is the largest event of its kind in the United States. This yearly celebration, which takes place from mid-January through mid-February, features too many activities to list, but some of the highlights include parades, pageants, fun run, concerts, a carnival, children's fun festival, fireworks and more.
Galveston’s Mardi Gras is a 12 day, 11-night party prior to lent. Not as famous as Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans or Mobile, the Galveston event is nonetheless packed with tradition and, more importantly, packed with fun. Of course, Mardi Gras revelers will be dressed in costume as they wander the streets, listening to the more than 30 bands performing on the two stages set up in the Entertainment District. Mardi Gras goers will also be treated to several parades and processions.
South By Southwest (SXSW) is actually a music festival and conference that also incorporates film and other media. The music conference and festival has been staged annually since 1987, while the film conference and festival was added in 1994. Later, the interactive media conference and festival was added. Currently, all three conferences and festivals are held concurrently in Austin. Between the three events, South By Southwest has over 20,000 registrants each year.
April - Poteet Strawberry Festival
First held in April 1948, the Poteet Strawberry Festival was originally conceived as a means to promote its namesake crop. Today, the purpose of the Poteet Strawberry Festival has expanded to include providing scholarships to area youth. It also serves as a tremendous tourist draw, bringing around 100,000 visitors annually to the area. It's easy to understand why so many flock to Poteet for the Strawberry Festival. Like many festivals across the Lone Star State, the Poteet Strawberry Festival features a carnival, good food, and live music. However, it also features unique attractions like the South Texas Gunfighters.
May - Kerrville Folk Festival
Founded in 1972 by Rob Kennedy and held every year since, the Kerrville Folk Festival is the longest running event of its kind in North America. Over the years, it has also grown to be one of the largest, with recent events featuring more than 100 artists. In fact, since its inception, more than 1,500 singer-songwriters have performed at the Kerrville Folk Festival. More than 30,000 people attend the Kerrville Folk Festival each year, many of whom choose to camp onsite and enjoy the Festival 24 hours a day.
June - Texas Folklife Festival
Sponsored by the Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio's Texas Folklife Festival is an annual celebration of the diverse cultures that combine to make Texas unique. The festival features live music, costume, arts & crafts, and more.
July - Luckenbach 4th of July Family Picnic
A Texas tradition since way back when Willie Nelson made Luckenbach famous, the Luckenbach 4th of July Family Picnic is one of those events everyone has to attend at least once in their lifetime. This quaint, quirky Hill Country town knows how to put on a celebration and their Independence Day celebration is perhaps the biggest of all. This free Fourth of July celebration features live music, games, food, drink and, of course, the "World Famous" Luckenbach Lawn Mower Parade.
Intent on bringing back old-fashioned family fun, the Austin Ice Cream Festival offers Austin area residents and visitors an entire day of simple pleasure. Of course, ice cream is the main event at the festival. In addition to just enjoying ice cream treats, those in attendance have the option of taking part in some ice cream-based contests, such as the Ice Cream Eating Contest, Homemade Ice Cream Making Contest, Popsicle Stick Sculpture Contest, and the Ice Cream Screaming Contest. Beyond offering a day of ice cream-related fun, the Austin Ice Cream Festival benefits several local charities.
Held each year at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar in Austin, Fantastic Fest has become the largest genre film festival in the United States. Showcasing new horror, sci-fi, action, and fantasy films, Fantastic Fest has quickly become of the country's most popular film festivals. Founded by Tim Leagues, Harry Knowles, Paul Alvarado-Dykstra and Tim McCanlies in 2005, Fantastic Fest now encompasses eight days.
Running for 24 days through late-September and early-October, the State Fair of Texas is the largest fair and stock show in the state. During the nearly month-long event, everything from live music to carnival rides and good eats to art shows is offered. Of course, the highlight of the Fair is the annual Texas-Oklahoma football game.
November - WurstFest
A “Ten Day Salute to Sausage,” Wurstfest has been drawing visitors to the German-influenced Hill Country town of New Braunfels for over four decades. In the early days, when it was still known as Sausage Festival, the event drew a few thousand. Today, well over 100,000 people attend the event annually.
For more than three decades, characters from Charles Dickens’ novels have strolled Galveston’s historic Strand during December. Known as Dickens on the Strand, this holiday festival takes visitors back to the Victorian Era as street vendors with pushcarts work amongst carolers and street musicians, while children busy themselves at the Royal Menagerie Petting Zoo.