Taking in Texas' Top Festivals
From Danno Wise

Texas' Top Stretches of Sand

Texas Offers Some of the Most Unique Annual Events to be Found Texas has one of the most diverse populations in the state. This unique blend of people, coupled with Texas’ varied geographical regions, has resulted in a number of festivals that are just as diverse as the people who call Texas home. Here is a sample of some of the Lone Star State’s best annual events. Charro Days – Held in Brownsville at the southern tip of Texas, Charro Days claims to be the oldest fiesta in Texas. Staged each February since 1938, Charro Days is a weeklong, traditional Mexican “pachanga,” with parades, dances and a variety of fun events for the entire family.

Czhilispiel – Based in the Czech settlement of Flatonia, Czhilispiel has been held annually for over 30 years, drawing some of the best chili and bbq cook-off teams from across the state.

It’s designation as a CASI endorsed event ensures top competitors will be there, it’s Czech Fest atmosphere ensures the whole family will have fun. Dickens on the Strand – For more than three decades, characters from Charles Dickens’ novels have strolled Galveston’s historic Strand during December. Known as Dickens on the Strand, this holiday festival takes visitors back to the Victorian Era as street vendors with push carts work amongst carolers and street musicians, while children busy themselves at the Royal Menagerie Petting Zoo or make snow angels in the faux snow lining the street during the “Snow on Sunday.”

Great Texas Mosquito Festival – Next to barbecue and bulls, Texas is best known for mosquitoes. So, why not celebrate them? That is exactly what they do in Clute during the Great Texas Mosquito Festival. This annual event features a barbecue/fajita cook-off, paintball tournament, karaoke, a Mosquito Chase “Run,” and more. Paying homage to a pest has never been so much fun!

Rattlesnake Roundup – Believe it or not, this is not the only Rattlesnake Roundup in Texas. However, it is the “Official Rattlesnake Roundup of Texas,” and has been around in some form or fashion since the 1960s. A carnival and midway keep the kids busy when they tire of looking at the hundreds of snakes that are brought in. Additional entertainment includes an arts and crafts show and nationally-known musicians sharing the stage in the evenings.

State Fair of Texas – Everything is big in Texas, and the State Fair of Texas is no exception. This three week fun fest is based in Dallas and showcases an impressive carnival, art competition, auto show, livestock show, and, of course, the annual “Red River Shoot-out” between the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma football teams.

Strawberry Festival – The annual Strawberry Festival draws over 100,000 visitors to the tiny town of Poteet. This event, which has been held for nearly 60 years, attracts nationally-known country music stars and Tejano entertainers in addition to the carnival, art show, rodeo, dances, parade and “Taste of Texas” food show.

Texas Renaissance Festival – A six-week trip back to the 16th century, the Texas Renaissance Festival features over 200 daily performances, 300 arts and crafts shops, 60 food and beverage shops, nightly fireworks and more than 3,000 costumed characters strolling the grounds. Your head will spin as you enter a world of castles, knights and magicians spread over the 15-acre park, which is located between Magnolia and Plantersville (approximately 50 miles northwest of Houston).

Texas Rose Festival – Started in 1933, the Texas Rose Festival has become part of the fabric of life in Tyler. The Rose Parade is just part of the fun, that includes the Coronation Ball and the East Texas Symphony Orchestra’s “Concert in the Park.” Don’t forget to visit the Rose Museum while visiting the “Rose Capital of the Nation.”

Wurstfest – A 10-day celebration of sausage, Wurstfest also serves to celebrate the German heritage of host city New Braunfels. In addition to plenty of food, Wurstfest offers up top-notch music (including plenty of Polka!), rides, games, melodramas, yodelers and more.