With a bevy of festivals celebrating all sorts of things—oysters, Texas’ independence, fiddles, kites, lanterns—the spring festival season warm-up commences now.
College Station: Mar. 2-5
Aiming to set three new Guinness World Records—the world’s largest Frito pie, largest chili, and largest Texas two-step—this festival also aims to celebrate Texas Independence Day by proving that everything truly is bigger in Texas. Up to 65,000 people are expected to come out for live music, contests, car shows, and more.
Fulton: Mar. 2-5
Event organizers order more than 60,000 pounds of oysters from the Texas coast for this annual fête, where raw oyster eaters can win up to $200, and knife-wielding competitors put their shucking skills to the test for a $700 cash prize. The four-day festival is filled with live music, a parade, dancing, and a spectacular fireworks show.
Houston: Mar. 2-4
When it comes to good Texas barbecue, there are a million and one ways to do it right. During this three day event—the official kickoff to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo—more than 250 teams will fire up the grill and attempt to prove their method is numero uno at this Texas-size ’cue competition.
Dallas: Mar. 3-5
St. Patrick’s Day revelers can get a head start at this weekend’s Irish festival, an annual event that has less to do with leprechauns; instead it presents the world’s top Irish musicians and dancers, as well as traditional Irish cuisine, whiskey tastings, and blacksmithing demonstrations.
Houston: Mar. 3-4
The Wild West isn’t just about horses. On Friday and Saturday night, camels and ostriches will thunder down the racetrack at the San Houston Race Park. Crowds come out to see the unpredictable action as jockeys attempt to steer these fantastic animals toward the finish line.
Hemphill: Mar. 4
Get outside and enjoy the great outdoors surrounding Toledo Bend Lake, a Texas favorite for bass fishing, camping, and boating. The third annual event will offer a comedy show, chainsaw carving, a petting zoo, an archery range, and plenty of good eats.
Ennis: Mar. 4
The stars at night are big and bright, but this Saturday night, the sky may be filled with a different kind of glow deep in the heart of Texas. Before sundown, people will gather 40 miles south of downtown Dallas at Texas Motorplex for family fun like face-painting, s’mores, and music. Then, just after dark, everyone will release well-lit wishes up to the sky for an unforgettable moment.
McDade: Mar. 4-Apr. 23
Starting this weekend, fair maidens, magic fairies, and jousting knights will roam the grounds of Sherwood Forest 35 miles east of Austin for a seven-week renaissance faire. Overnight guests can camp onsite, but if a castle is more your style, they offer that too.
San Antonio: Mar. 4
180 years after the battle of the Alamo, these historic grounds will be overtaken once again—this time, with fiddles. Yes, you heard that right. Texans’ favorite fiddlers, from Asleep at the Wheel’s Jason Roberts to Ron Knuth (who has backed artists like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard), will be performing the best of western swing, bluegrass, and country at this free annual favorite.
Austin: Mar. 5
There’s a chance of rain this weekend, but that won’t stop hundreds of kite enthusiasts from heading to Austin’s Zilker Park for this beloved annual festival.