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Written by Jane Kellogg Murray

2017 Parade of Lights Horsin Around in Texas Riding Club 7

'Twas the weekend before Thanksgiving, and all through the state, cities prepared for the holidays—with ice sculptures, zoo lights, and cowtown parades to help Texans celebrate.

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Do some holiday shopping in Houston, make syrup the old-fashioned way in Henderson, and honor veterans across the state this weekend—including a special commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI in Fredericksburg.

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Swing your way into November with the Texas Dance Hall Tour, chow down on some sausages in New Braunfels at Wurstfest, or get your holiday shopping done early this weekend.

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Head to Galveston's Island Oktoberbest, a haunted version of the Texas Zoo in Victoria, or a spooky version of the San Antonio River Walk—no one will think twice if you spend all of Halloween weekend in costume. 

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Formula 1, Chip and Jo have fun, and the State Fair's not done this weekend.

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Fall family fun this weekend includes the Rockport-Fulton Seafair, Punkin' Days in Floydada (known as "Pumpkin Capital, USA"), and El Paso's Chalk the Block street painting festival.

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Fall in love with Texas all over again this first weekend of October, as pumpkin patches and fall festivals help to ring in the season.

As Texas' blistering summer heat begins to subside, find yourself outdoors this weekend at events like the Galveston Island Shrimp Festival, the six-weekend Beachtoberfest in Port Aransas, and—everyone's favorite—the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.

As the weather starts to cool down, it’s time to get out and enjoy all autumn has to offer. We’ve rounded up a massive list of festive events from all over the state, including pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides, and Oktoberfests.

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It all started in 1831 when Mexico gave the people of Gonzales a cannon to ward off Indian attacks. Four years later, with talk of independence among the Texas colonists, Mexican troops came to get the howitzer back and were greeted by a lone star flag of defiance: “Come and Take It.” Today, the cannon sits in the Gonzales Memorial Museum and the taunting words of the 1835 flag is the town’s banner. The cannon and the catchphrase are so omnipresent the people behind “I (heart) NY” think Gonzales maybe oughta tone it down a bit.

But the slogan is reborn with new energy every year at the Come and Take It Celebration, a three-day festival that swells with Texas pride. Held the first full weekend of October for the past 62 years, the festivities take place in downtown Gonzales this year on Oct. 5-7, in one of Gonzales' two town squares, so there’s plenty of room for carnival rides, live country music, a classic car show, food and drink vendors, plus the popular flying chicken contest. (That’s flying, not frying, unfortunately.) Be sure to follow signs because you don’t want to confuse the snake exhibit with the petting zoo.

The 200-entry downtown parade, with its crazy floats and the newly-crowned Miss Gonzales, starts Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Later in the day, attention moves to Pioneer Village, the frontier life recreation site on the outskirts of town, for a re-enactment of the battle of Oct. 2, 1835, when the first shots of the Texas Revolution were fired.

Each night ends with country dancing in the streets, with Marty Raybon’s Shenandoah headlining on Friday, and Gene Watson and Eddy Raven playing the old hits on Saturday. For conjunto dancers, Ricky Narajo y los Gamblers play earlier on Saturday.

Because this festival is downtown and not in a field or fairgrounds, there’s no sense of captivity. There are tons of great restaurants and bars to explore just steps away from the funnel cakes.

Fall is in the air—with pumpkins as far as the eye can see at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, competitive lumberjacks at the Texas State Forest Festival, and the rhythmic sound of oom-pah-pah at Addison Oktoberfest.

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From Oklahoma! to the Texas-Oklahoma border, there's plenty to celebrate the weekend across the Lone Star State.

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