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Written by Jane Kellogg Murray

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Fredericksburg’s history is tied to its roots as an 1840s German pioneer settlement. The city’s early design resembled German villages along the Rhine, and German remained the prevalent language until the 1900s. Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg will honor this German heritage along its hauptstrasse, or main street, Oct. 5-7. Brass tubas and euphoniums will kick off the celebration on Friday evening with OkTubaFest. Saturday activities begin at the Oktoberfest Kraut Run—a benefit for literacy programs—where kids ages 4 to 10 complete an obstacle course. Afterward, join hands with hundreds of other revelers for the chicken dance, then indulge in popular German fare like bratwursts, wiener schnitzels, German potato salad, and pfeffernüsse (a popular tiny spice cookie); German import beers will be offered along with Texas craft brews and at least one Mexican import. Polka bands and yodelers will provide a festive soundtrack to the weekend.

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On Sept. 29, grab your helmet and join a community bike ride through Fannin County that includes routes for all ages and skill levels, from a 13-mile fun ride out to Bonham State Park, to a 100-mile ride for the aspiring Tour de France champions. The 29th annual Autumn in Bonham Bike Rally includes routes that travel along areas with challenging elevations, river crossings, and gravel roads, and offers one of the few 100-mile rides in the state.

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Don’t be deceived by the convenience store variety of kolaches. You can devour authentic fruit or cream cheese-filled kolaches, recipes brought to Texas by Czech immigrants—as well as klobásník, with popular Texas stuffings like sausage—at Caldwell’s annual Kolache Festival on Sept. 8. The festival encourages attendees to “be Czech for a day.” Demonstrations celebrating Czech heritage will be staged by the Burleson County Czech Heritage Museum and other local historians and will feature traditional items like a corn grinder and bobbin lace. The town has hosted the event for more than three decades and promotes popular events like a quilt show, street rod and classic car show, the famed kolache-eating contest, and the crowning of a state champion kolache baker after a judged competition. New this year is a showcase of “glampers” and vintage trailers that highlight how to brave the elements in style and luxury. There also will be a hospoda—a Czech gathering place—serving craft beers and wine for a break while shopping the more than 250 expected arts, crafts, and food vendors.

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Kyle brands itself as the “Pie Capital of Texas,” so it should come as no surprise that the southern suburb of Austin will celebrate all things pie at the Kyle Pie in the Sky Hot Air Balloon Festival Aug. 31-Sept. 2. Suspend your low-carb diet and purchase a sweet slice in the pie café as you watch more than 25 hot air balloons glow on the ground at dusk on Friday and Saturday, and ascend at daybreak on Saturday and Sunday. The pie offerings extend into savory, with vendors also offering pizza and Frito pies in addition to fruit-filled pastries. Claim victory in the pie-eating contests, or resurrect Grandma’s recipe for the baking competition. On Saturday, the festival will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people named Kyle in one location.

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This weekend, head to the oldest continually running fair in Texas, the largest single-day 100-mile bicycle ride in the nation, or Texas's first and only cat convention (yes, you heard that right).

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Rounding up this weekend's best events—from the Texas Ranch Roundup in Wichita Falls, to Austin's annual Bat Fest.

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Rodeos, Romeos, and river racing—find all that and more fun things to do this weekend across Texas.

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Dance in the desert at Viva Big Bend, enter the mosquito legs contest at the Great Texas Mosquito Festival, or stomp grapes at Messina Hof's annual Harvest Festival.

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Event ideas to fill up your weekend include a new exhibit at San Antonio's Witte Museum, Friona's annual celebration of the cheeseburger, and stargazing at Big Spring State Park.

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This weekend, get your kicks in Shamrock at the annual Route 66 Festival, at the Parker County Peach Festival, or at the Round Top Music Festival.

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Texas is serious about hot sauce. Whether you prefer your drops to be infused with serrano, habanero, or jalapeño; on the sweeter side; or slap-your-mama spicy, celebrate your love of the sauce this August at the annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival. This month marks the 28th year for the drool-worthy event, which will once again be held at Fiesta Gardens in east Austin. The fest serves as a major fundraiser for the Central Texas Food Bank, having provided more than 765,000 meals for the organization over the years. As usual, it will be a hot day for hot sauce, but cold brews will be available for purchase to cool you off—and to give your mouth a break. Enjoy live music all day plus plenty of local food vendors. But the main event is definitely the blind tasting, where top chefs, food writers, and notable personalities try out sauces from individuals, restaurants, and commercial bottlers. Some festival alumni in the individual category have even gone on to start commercial bottling businesses. Brave festivalgoers can head to the pavilion in the center of the gardens for the public tasting.

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