October is one of the best months to visit the Lone Star State. Not only is the weather cool and comfortable, but a variety of events and festivals in Texas are scheduled for almost every weekend in October. Whether you are headed to a big city like Dallas or Houston or a small town like Conroe or Fredericksburg, you'll find plenty of October fun in all corners of Texas.
A trip to Texas in the fall isn't the same without stopping at this festival at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas. Inaugurated in 1886 and running annually from late September through late October, the State Fair of Texas is the largest fair and stock show in the state. Big Tex invites you to enjoy everything from live music and carnival rides to good eats and art shows. Of course, in a football-crazy destination like Dallas, a highlight of the fair is the annual Texas-Oklahoma football game.
Since 1978, the Houston Italian Festival, Festa Italiana, has celebrated Italian heritage, culture, food, and romance. Held on the grounds of the University of St. Thomas, the event has now grown to be the largest ethnic festival in Houston. The four-day festival from October 10 to 13, 2019, features live entertainment, bocci ball, a grape stomp, wine and beer tasting, a pasta-eating contest, Italian food, and more. Proceeds support the Italian Cultural and Community Center, the Italian language school, scholarships, and cultural events.
Harvest Moon Regatta
Staged between Galveston and Port Aransas, the Harvest Moon Regatta is one of the largest port-to-port sailboat races in North America. Every October, more than 250 participants sail overnight under October’s full moon and celebrate at an afterparty. Lakewood Yacht Club sponsors this annual event, which started in 1987 and spans from October 10 to 13, 2019.
Started in 1933, the Texas Rose Festival has become part of the fabric of life in Tyler. The weekend festival takes over Tyler October 17 to 20, 2019, and is anchored by a Saturday morning parade, but also includes the Queen's Coronation Ball, the Roses in the Park concert, and the Rose Show featuring more than 7,000 rose blooms. Don't forget to check out the Tyler Rose Museum while visiting the “Rose Capital of America.”
You may think you’re in Louisiana, but this festival is actually in Texas—Conroe, Texas, to be exact. At the Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival from October 11 to 13, 2019, you can try great Cajun food vendors that cook up boudin, alligator, jambalaya, étouffée, crawfish pie, and, of course, plenty of catfish. The festival, which began in 1990, also features arts and crafts vendors, a carnival, exhibits, and some foot-tapping Cajun and Texas musical artists who perform on three stages.
In addition to screening more than 180 big-budget and independent films during the eight-day celebration of film from October 24 to 31, 2019, the Austin Film Festival’s goal is to honor the writer as the heart of the creative process in filmmaking. Both amateur and professional screenwriters gather for the four-day screenwriters' conference featuring internationally known writers, directors, actors, and producers. Past attendees include Joel and Ethan Coen, Robert Altman, Wes Anderson, and Oliver Stone.
The annual Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest has been held in downtown Fredericksburg since 1990. Fredericksburg, the little German town in the Texas Hill Country, draws foodies to the Marktplatz for this Saturday festival, offering food and wine sampling, an auction, games, and live entertainment on October 26, 2019. Look for special events such as the pre-festival Go Texan! Dinner on October 24, 2019, the Celebration of Texas Food and Wine on October 25, 2019, and the Patron Party during the festival.
Held in Madisonville—known as Texas’ mushroom capital—the Texas Mushroom Festival features mushroom-growing demonstrations, beer and wine tasting, a car show, children's activities, and the Shitake 5K run/walk on October 19, 2019. You can also enter contests for cooking, photography, and art. The gala dinner is especially delightful with a champagne social, four-course meal with Texas wine pairings, a live auction, and live music.
Take a trip back to the 16th century at the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission. With hundreds of daily performances, arts and crafts shops, food and beverage shops, nightly fireworks, and costumed characters strolling the grounds, it’s considered the country’s largest Renaissance festival. Although it’s not technically considered an "Oktoberfest," the opening weekend of the Renaissance festival has an Oktoberfest theme, plus the festival lasts from October 5 through December 1, 2019. In addition to the Oktoberfest theme, each following weekend has its own theme. The event began in 1974 and now draws more than half a million guests annually.
This three-day Texas festival is based in the Czech and German settlement of Flatonia and has been held annually since 1973. The name comes from a play on the word “Chili” with the addition of the “z” making it look like Czech spelling, and ending with the German word spiel meaning play.
Czhilispiel draws some of the best chili and barbecue cook-off teams from around the state to compete on the fourth weekend in October. This fun event also features a beard contest, pie-baking contest, parade, carnival, a 5K run/walk, beer garden, car and truck show, and live music.
One of the largest and most popular music festivals in Texas, as well as in the country, the Austin City Limits Festival features more than 130 performing acts offering a mix of music from various genres. Founded in 2001, the event takes place in Zilker Park, with late-night concerts at smaller venues around Texas’ capital city on October 4 to 6 and 11 to 13, 2019.