Although the kids are back in school, there are still plenty of events, activities, and festivals happening across Texas in September, and the weather is plenty warm enough to get out and enjoy them. From cook-offs to canoe races to music festivals, there is something happening for everyone throughout the entire month in the Lone Star State.
Running for 24 days from the last Friday in September through mid-October at Fair Park in Dallas, the State Fair of Texas is the largest fair and stock show in the state. During the nearly month-long event, people travel from across the state to enjoy live music, carnival rides, good eats, and art shows.
Sample Tex-Mex cuisine; visit Big Tex’s Farmyard with live animal displays including calves, piglets, and hatching chicks; and catch a live music concert from national headliners on the main stage. And with football as big as BBQ in Texas, Cotton Bowl Stadium hosts two iconic games during the fair: The State Fair Classic between the Grambling State Tigers and Prairie View A&M Panthers, and the Red River Showdown between Texas and Oklahoma.
Every Labor Day weekend since 1974, the tiny Texas Hill Country town of Brady explodes with commotion for the World Championship BBQ Goat Cook-Off, a truly Texan event. Over 200 cook teams and thousands of visitors descend on the town to enjoy a weekend of delicious food, live music, and family fun.
The event kicks off with an early morning 5K Goat Gallop fun run. The rest of the weekend includes several different cook-offs, including competitions for best chicken, best BBQ ribs, best margaritas, and (of course) best goat. Live performances, kids' activities, and beer tastings round out this one-of-a-kind event.
Between Waco and Dallas is the small town of West, Texas, which boasts one of the largest Czech Texan populations in the state. Each Labor Day weekend, the whole town comes together to celebrate Czech heritage during Westfest. The event features polka and country music, dancing, a Miss Westfest contest, a parade, Polish baked goods contests, horseshoe pitching games, and more. There is even a Sunday morning Catholic Polka Mass.
Enjoy typical Texan BBQ alongside Eastern European staples, such as beer bread, kolaches, and stuffed pierogis.
The Texas Hot Sauce Festival in Houston is the Bayou City's showcase event for all types of sauce with a kick to it, including salsa, marinades, wing sauce, and rubs. If you like your food hot and spicy, this must-attend event during the weekend of September 21 and 22, 2019, is the place to be. You can sample and purchase a wide range of products that will leave you sweating from the heat. Live bands play blues, rock, and zydeco.
An annual event on the fourth Saturday of September since 1981, Lakehills' Medina Lake Cajun Festival features music, dancing, food, and games for kids. This inland Texas town turns into a mini-New Orleans for one day, and visitors can dance to zydeco music while enjoying jambalaya, fried crawfish, and the winning bowl of gumbo from the Great Gumbo Cook-Off.
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.
Those in attendance are treated to a full slate of horror, sci-fi, and action movies from September 19 to 26, 2019. The festival highlights first-time feature filmmakers from around the world and strives to select movies that come from lesser-known film regions. Even though the focus is on indie filmmakers, you'll still see big-name directors in attendance like Tim Burton, Lilly and Lana Wachowski, and Darren Aronofsky, to name a few.
The annual National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration from September 6 to 8, 2019, in Lubbock pays tribute to Western cowboy culture. The event includes entertainers, poetry and storytelling, a Western writers' panel, film and movie seminars, a Youth Wild West Day, horse-handling demonstrations, a horse-themed parade, and Native American-Indian presentations.
More than 60 cowboy and cowgirl poets, musical acts, and storytellers take part. The event also includes the National Championship Chuck Wagon Cook-Off.
The annual wine festival in Grapevine includes tasting more than 100 wine samples from more than 40 Texas wineries, as well as wines from the Fingerlakes region of New York and the Niagara region of Canada.
The four-day, family-friendly event from September 12 to 15, 2019, includes a grape stomping competition, live entertainment on three stages, KidsWorld with interactive games, and a touching pool with creatures from the aquarium.
The Colorado River 100 Canoe Race attracts paddlers and adventure racers from across the country on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Racers start in Bastrop, Texas, and—depending on river conditions—canoe down the Colorado River either 100 kilometers to La Grange or 100 miles to Columbus. It's a grueling but rewarding event and participants are on the water for hours late into the night.