Texas: More Than Just Big Cowboy Hats and Tumbleweeds
By: Chris Harris, Guest Contributor*
Texas is the largest state in the USA, outside of Alaska, yet many people seem to dismiss the Lone Star State as a holiday destination. Texas has a number of great and diverse events throughout the year, as well as amazing weather, and it should not be overlooked.
The Early Part of the Year
In January, you should head to Laredo for the George Washington Birthday Celebration. The largest party of its kind in the USA, the multi-week festival features many events for all the family, from fireworks displays to carnivals and live music.
In February there is a Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston, Texas, that rivals New Orleans. While not as well-known as its Louisiana sister, the Galveston Mardi Gras has all the same traditions: street performers, live music, plenty to drink and eat, and an all-night party atmosphere.
The Middle of the Year
In May the National Polka Festival takes place in Ennis. This 3 day celebration of Czech culture starts with a charity fun run and continues on with food stalls, live entertainment and a street parade. Join in with the famous Polka Dancing and try some traditional Czech cuisine. This is a great way to have fun and learn about a country’s culture at the same time, similar to a TravelBound tour.
In July the wackiest festival of all takes place in Clute. The Great Texas Mosquito Festival is a true one-of-a-kind. With dodgeball competitions, baby-crawling races, BBQ cook-offs and other unique events, this festival is sure to get you doing things you’d never even considered doing before. It’s a great and truly one-off event for the whole family.
Port Isabel is home to the Texas International Fishing Tournament in August. Drawing over a thousand participants every year, this huge event has bay, offshore and fly fishing divisions and is Texas’ largest salt-water fishing competition.
The Later Parts of the Year
In September, Dallas needs to be your destination for the Texas State Fair. Held annually for over 100 years, Fair Field in Dallas is home to the largest celebration in Texas. Everything from big name musical acts, to petting farms and fun-runs, the festival runs for 24 days with too many events to list. The event culminates with the traditional Football game between Texas and Oklahoma. This festival is really what Texas is all about.
In November you should make your way to New Braunfels for “Wurstfest”. Billed as a ten day celebration of sausage, this event draws over a hundred thousand visitors every year. Eat up (quite literally) the German culture with a great atmosphere and food and drinks for everyone. A brilliant way to get to know people from all over Texas.
Any Time Is a Good Time
Texas is huge and has plenty to offer. I’ve not even touched on the many year-around tourist spots you probably already know about, but you could feasibly have a great time touring from festival to festival. Whatever you do, don’t forget about Texas, there is simply too much to ignore.
*Chris Harris has been writing on the subject of travel in the USA and offbeat destinations for a number of years. He contributes to a number of web and print magazines, as well as online sites such as TravelBound.