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Free Things To Do in Texas This Weekend: Aug. 18-20

Written by , published August 16, 2017

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It doesn't cost much to enjoy the end of summer in Texas. If you're on the hunt for free fun this weekend, head to these events across the state—including the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival and the final weekend of an Iris van Herpen exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Find more exciting things to do using the Texas Highways Events Calendar database.

Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

Austin: Aug. 20
Hundreds of chiliheads will make their way to Austin this weekend for this free annual festival, now in its 27th year. Admission (including chips) is free when you donate three nonperishable food items (or a $5 donation benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank). Try hundreds of hot sauces and vote for your favorite; Mayor Steve Adler will be on hand to announce this year’s winners.

Addison Summer Series

Addison: Aug. 19
Pack a picnic and gather up your family and friends for a free Saturday evening concert in Addison’s Beckert Park—part of their weekly Summer Series program. This weekend, Selena tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda performs. Lakewood Brewing Company and Austin Eastciders will be providing refreshing free samples of their summer beers and ciders.


Austin: Aug. 20
An annual food competition of Texas-sized proportions, where the city's best queso-makers come together at The Mohawk to share their best dips and spread the queso love. Entry is free with a donation of two canned goods (or a $2 donation benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank), and bags of chips will be available for $5—or if you're partial to a certain chip brand, you can bring your own bag.

Iris van Herpen Transforming Fashion Dallas Museum of Art 9 May 2017 photo cred. photo by Tamytha Cameron 1

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas: Through Aug. 20
General admission is always free at the Dallas Museum of Art during museum hours. Vistors will need to purchase tickets to explore special exhibits like "Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion" ($16; this is its final weekend at the museum)—experience the bold vision of one of the world's most original and innovative fashion designers through 45 exquisite outfits from 15 collections.

“Mentoring a Muse: Charles Umlauf and Farrah Fawcett”

Austin: Through August 20
Thanks to some generous donors, admission to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum is free for the entire month of August. This weekend is a good time to go, as it’s the final weekend to see the museum’s latest exhibit, which features never-before-seen work made by Charles Umlauf and his most famous student. Kids can also participate in a fun—and free!—sculpture safari during your visit.

Book Fair

Houston: Aug. 19
The Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas” hosts its seventh annual book fair, offering a wide array of gently used books—in both English and Russian—in every genre you can think of: fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, art compilations, and everything in between. It’s a free opportunity for families and literary lovers curious about Russian culture to see “Our Texas” for themselves; books are priced at $1 for paperbacks and $2 for hardcovers.

Concerts in the Park

Austin: Aug. 20
For the 15th summer, these free ensemble concerts at Hartman Concert Park in front of the Long Center offer a different Austin Symphony ensemble every weekend. This Sunday, enjoy a brass program featuring recognizable tunes like “Texas, Our Texas,” “A Spoonful of Sugar” from “Mary Poppins,” and “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” Bring a picnic dinner and blanket to make it a fun and comfortable group outing. Free parking is available at the One Texas Center.

Party on the Plaza

San Antonio: Aug. 18
Every Friday night from June through October, San Antonio’s Tower Plaza will host a free concert, with food and beverages available for purchase. This Friday’s performer is Texas country singer Clif and the Dirt Road Band.

Trace Ice Cream Social

Austin: Aug. 20
Bring a donation of school supplies for Austin’s SAFE back-to-school drive in exchange for scoops of Chef Angel Begaye’s sweet treats. The sixth annual event takes place on the Trace patio and offers kid-friendly flavors like cookies and cream, adventurous flavors like avocado ice cream, adult-friendly boozy treats like cucumber and lime granita, and dog-friendly treats for your four-legged companions.

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