Festivals and Events Along the Texas Gulf Coast

From Fishing Festivals to Mardi Gras, There's Something for Everyone

The Texas coastline stretches hundreds of gorgeous miles. Along the Texas coastal curve are dozens of towns and cities, and each hosts great events, celebrations, and festivals throughout the year. Of course, many of these festivals feature a coastal theme, celebrating sand castles, fish, wind, shrimp, so if you're a fan of all things nautical, check out one of these sea-worthy events.

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    Tremont House, Historic District Galveston.
    ••• Tremont House in the Historic District Galveston. Getty Images/Witold Skrypczak

    Galveston's Mardi Gras is a 12-day, 11-night party held each year on Fat Tuesday, the day prior to the beginning of the Lent season in the Catholic faith. Although it's not as famous as the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, the Galveston event is nonetheless packed with tradition and, more importantly, packed with fun.

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    First staged in 1979, the Fulton Oysterfest is sponsored annually by the Fulton Volunteer Fire Department and the Town of Fulton. Today, the Fulton Oysterfest attracts over 30,000 visitors. Cash prizes are awarded for the winners of the Oyster Eating and Oyster Shucking contests. Additionally, visitors are treated to plenty of entertainment options, such as live music, arts and craft displays, carnival, family games, dances, food booths, and more.

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    The Nederland Heritage Festival is one of the largest free festivals in the state. An annual event since 1973, the Nederland Heritage Festival features a carnival, pageants, golf and softball tournaments, a fun run, chili cook-off, craft show, live music, and more.

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    The Corpus Christi Festival of the Arts is staged annually as a means of showcasing Corpus' art scene. The festival features a variety of art displays and demonstrations, as well as performances from ballet, folklorico, theatre, dance, and other performing arts groups. The Festival of the Arts also houses a KidZone, where kids can utilize interactive art stations.

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    Portland's annual Windfest is a weekend full of fun events such as a chili cook-off, horseshoe tournament, washer tournament, 5k and 10k runs, a parade, clowns, and the popular Miss Windfest scholarship competition.

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    Sand sculptors from all over the world make their way to Port Aransas each year for the annual Texas SandFest. The events include sculpting contests for both professionals and amateurs, food, and live music.

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    Aransas Pass' annual Shrimporee offers entertainment, food, music and more. Highlights of the festival, which is billed as the "Largest Shrimp Festival in the World," include a carnival, shrimp cook-off, petting zoo, arts & crafts, as well as live entertainment.

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    Port Aransas' annual Deep Sea Roundup is one of the largest fishing tournaments on the Texas coast and includes fly fishing, surf, offshore and junior divisions. The fishing competition takes place on Friday and Saturday. The Deep Sea Roundup concludes with fish fry and awards ceremony held on Sunday. The Deep Sea Roundup is staged annually by the Port Aransas Boatmen.

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    Love them or hate them, next to barbecue and bulls, Texas is best known for mosquitoes. So, why not celebrate them? That is exactly what they do in Clute during the Great Texas Mosquito Festival. This annual event features a barbecue/fajita cook-off, paintball tournament, karaoke, a Mosquito Chase “run,” and more. Paying homage to a pest has never been so much fun!

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    Held in the waters around Port Isabel and South Padre Island, the Texas International Fishing Tournament is the largest salt water fishing tournament in Texas. The tournament has bay, offshore, and fly fishing divisions and draws around 1,200 participants annually.

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    With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament has no problem drawing a crowd. Anglers may leave out of any Texas port, but weigh-ins must occur at Robert's Point Park in Port Aransas.