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Written by Jane Kellogg Murray

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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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Make wine the old-fashioned way in Stonewall at the Becker Vineyards Annual Grape Stomp on Aug. 25-26 and Sept. 1-2. To toast the end of harvest season, half barrels will be filled with grapes so oenophiles can try their hand—well, foot—at crushing grapes. After your stomp session, you can stamp your purple footprints on the back of a souvenir T-shirt to commemorate the occasion. During the second weekend, there will be a Lucy & The Italian Woman Contest, where attendees can channel their inner Lucille Ball. Costumes—and enthusiasm—are required! The event is free and open to the public.

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The name says it all. The Hotter ’N Hell Hundred grew out of efforts to find a special way for Wichita Falls to celebrate its 1982 centennial. In the hottest month of the year, most Texas cities might plan an indoor festival—or you might think Wichita Falls would celebrate its namesake with some fun on the water. Instead, the Wichita Falls Bicycle Club proposed a bicycle ride—100 miles in 100-degree heat to celebrate 100 years, coining the name and a race that would attract intrepid cyclists to North Texas for decades to come. This annual August race is still the largest single-day 100-mile bicycle ride in the nation—and one of the largest in the world; last year the event welcomed some 11,000 registrants for the weekend. This year, Aug. 23-26, attendees can enjoy live outdoor concerts, a consumer show, a spaghetti dinner, and more in addition to competing against the road, the wind, and a heat that’s hotter than (you guessed it) hell.

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Don’t expect to see rodeo events like bull riding or steer wrestling at the Texas Ranch Roundup in Wichita Falls. It’s not just about sport; instead, the 38th annual event, Aug. 17-18, will simulate events at the cattle roundups of the late 1800s and early 1900s, showcasing the hard work of true cowboys at 10 Texas ranches selected to participate because of their rich, long histories. Competitive events reflect activities that routinely take place at ranches, such as calf doctoring, bronc riding, wild cow milking, team penning, and branding—plus a chuckwagon cooking contest, and a trade show featuring bits, spurs, and Western collectibles.

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