The kids are back in school, and we're already working on the winter Texas Events Calendar, but hopefully there's still room in everyone's schedule for summer's last hurrah — Labor Day!
In addition to the usual holiday celebrations, many communities choose this weekend to put on some of their biggest and most unique events.
West puts on its signature Czech heritage festival, Westfest, this Friday through Sunday. Along with the expected festival offerings of a parade and carnival, this event stands out for its cultural displays, including costumes, polka music and dancing, and (my favorite) tasty kolaches. Saturday is the main day for musical entertainment, with Brave Combo and Larry Joe Taylor performing.
Marfa's Labor Day weekend tradition is the annual Marfa Lights Festival, named for the eerie nighttime phenomenon seen in the desert nearby. From Aug. 31-Sept. 2, the festival will present free concerts, a parade, 5K run and other activities, plus the event's first soapbox derby.
Then, if you're already out in Marfa, you might as well take a short drive to Alpine to see the hot-air balloons at the Big Bend Balloon Bash, which runs Sept. 1-3. The balloons are only in flight from about 7:30-10 a.m. (weather permitting), but if an evening visit is more your speed, check out the 8 p.m. Fire Concert at Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport on Sunday.
Galveston's newest addition to the Labor Day event roster is the BrewMasters Craft Beer Festival, happening Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at Moody Gardens. More than 400 craft beers will be featured at more than 10 events, including beer tastings, food pairings, seminars, poolside parties and a live country music concert. Tickets can be purchased in advance (which also is a good time to plan a safe ride home).
A roundup of other events this Labor Day weekend:
Anna: Hammerfest 2012
Bertram: Oatmeal Festival
Boerne: Kendall County Fair
El Paso: Sun City Music Festival
Granbury: Hoodstock Music Festival
Waelder: Fiesta Guacamole