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Written by Jane Kellogg Murray

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Boots, beaches, books, and biergartens—that's the so-called "theme" of this weekend's varied events, with offerings like South Padre Island's 30th annual Sand Castle Days, Fredericksburg's Oktoberfest, and the Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin.

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As Texas' blistering summer heat begins to subside, find yourself outdoors this weekend at events like the Trans-Pecos Festival in Marfa, Oktoberfest celebrations in Boerne and Austin, and—everyone's favorite—the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.

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Fall is in the air as the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens unveils its popular pumpkin-filled installation, Grand Prairie celebrates the annual fall migration of the monarch butterfly, and Six Flags gears up for Halloween season with it's annual Fright Fest.

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From mermaids in San Marcos to cowboys in Austin, get ready for a wild weekend of events across Texas.

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Fall comes to life with a slew of events, including the Dallas Chocolate Festival and Fall Planting Days at Wildseed Farms—where visitors can learn wildflower planting techniques.

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Labor Day weekend's numerous event offerings include the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series at Possum Kingdom Lake and the long-running Fayette County Fair in La Grange. It's also the final weekend of "Wild Weather," an exhibit at San Antonio's Witte Museum that explores how scientists are working to better forecast severe weather events like Hurricane Harvey.

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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 Reunion Lawn Party at Dallas' Reunion Tower, Austin's Quesoff, and LBJ Day festivities at the Texas White House.

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Prepare yourself for another fun-filled hot weekend: The Hotter 'N Hell Hundred rides through Wichita Falls, The Texas White House celebrates what would have been LBJ's 109th birthday, and the longest continually running fair in Texas—the Gillespie County Fair—returns for its 129th year.

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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.

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August heats up with the original ranch rodeo in Wichita Falls, Hatch chiles in Grand Prairie, Grilling at the Gage in Marathon, and Austin's annual Quesoff.

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The final few days of summer feature kid-friendly fun—and fun that'll make you feel like a kid—including Austin's ice cream festival and grape stomps at Texas wineries.

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The Big Bend feeder town of Terlingua is no ghost town the first weekend in November. That’s because every year for half a century, the former mining outpost has hosted up to 20,000 chiliheads vying to help crown the year’s best chili con carne. It all began in 1967 as a cookoff between two chili aficionados: Wick Fowler of the Chili Appreciation Society International, and H. Allen Smith, a former New Yorker who had published a magazine article titled, “Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do.” As the legend goes, the two men tied (despite Smith’s use of beans in his recipe—an abomination by Texas standards), and so began the tradition of returning to the west Texas desert each year. Today, hundreds of chili cooks compete all year in order to obtain an invitation to compete in Terlingua Nov. 1-4. The cookoff splintered into two festivals in 1983: the Original Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff and the Terlingua International Chili Championship, held concurrently on the same weekend, just a few miles apart, so now—in addition to arguing about who makes the best bowl of chili—attendees can argue about which cookoff is better. Regular attendees get in the spirit all week long by camping in tents and RVs, and enjoying live music nightly.

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