BY ANNETTE BROOKS
Just as autumn brings cooler weather, small towns across Texas pull out the stops, celebrating everything from rice, yams, and sausage to flowers, art, cowboys, infamous gangsters, and wine. We’ve pulled together a sample of fall festivals you’ll find throughout the state. Search online for additional options and check out websites such as FunTober.com/festivals/Texas for more ideas.
Texas Rice Festival
September 29 to October 2, 2021, Winnie, Texas
Winnie celebrates the harvest and Texas rice farming, offering a wide assortment of activities and shows during this fun-filled family event. The festival includes a parade and pageants and contests for welding, photography, and rice cooking, to name a few. There’s a livestock show open to all children in the FFA and 4-H that are presently enrolled in primary or secondary schools in Texas, a horse show, and so much more. Of course, there’s plenty of food, drink, and music thrown into the mix, making the Texas Rice Festival a great experience for all.
Bonnie & Clyde Days
Pilot Point, Texas, October 9, 2021
Legendary gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow met in Texas and soon began their 21-month crime spree. The famous bank robbery scene in the movie Bonnie and Clyde starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty was filmed in and around the old Farmers and Merchants Bank, now an art gallery located in Pilot Point. Perhaps one of North Texas’ remaining secret gems, Pilot Point’s historic downtown returns to a bygone era the second Saturday of October to celebrate its claim to fame. Festival goers show off classic cars from the 30s and 40s and wear period garb — many dressed to resemble Bonnie and Clyde. The event, which includes a Texas-sized assortment of food and craft vendors, offers plenty of good-natured fun for the whole family.
Texas Rose Festival
October 14 to 17, 2021, Tyler, Texas
Everything’s bigger in Texas, and Tyler’s renowned Annual Rose Festival proudly stands up to this tradition. Set against a colorful backdrop of roses, the festival draws thousands of visitors each year that come to enjoy charming ceremonial events, the Texas Rose Festival Parade, the Queen’s Tea, the Coronation, and a host of fun-filled activities, food, and refreshments. Celebrating its 88th year, this iconic Texas festival is not to be missed.
Texas Mushroom Festival
October 16, 2021, Madisonville, Texas
Did you know a fungi farm near Madisonville supplies fresh mushrooms in copious amounts to markets throughout Texas and neighboring states? With this many mushrooms around, the town is dubbed the Mushroom Capital of Texas. The festival focused on community, family, entertainment, and yes, mushrooms, kicks off with the Shiitake 5K Walk/Run. The festivities are held in the downtown square lined with vendors offering unique handmade wares and a variety of delicious foods. The event includes an art and photo contest, Taste of Texas, where you can enjoy beer and wine tastings, an auto show with trophies, and live entertainment.
East Texas Yamboree
October 20 to 23, 2021, Gilmer, Texas
Whether you’re a yam enthusiast or simply love a festive street fair, the East Texas Yamboree is the place to be. Attendees enjoy everything from the Queen’s Coronation to a boot-scootin’ barn dance, livestock and ag mechanics shows, arts and crafts exhibits, concerts, food, and refreshments. The good folks in Gilmer also love contests. The Yamboree includes a yam pie contest, a decorated yam contest, a fiddling contest, a home canning contest, and art show contests for youth and seniors.
November 5 to 14, 2021, New Braunfels, Texas
What could be better than honoring the harvest season with a good old-fashioned German festival? New Braunfels — the first Texas colony of German immigrants — celebrates its heritage by offering Alpine and Bavarian hospitality Texas-style during its annual bash held in Wurstfest Festival Grounds near the banks of the Comal River. Festival goers enjoy food, music, dancing, exciting carnival rides, games, and various German, Texan, and domestic beer in the Biergarten.
November 12 and 13, 2021, Cleburne, Texas
Step back in time to Texas in the 1800s during Pioneer Days. Held on the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum grounds, the annual event celebrates the history of pioneer life, the Chisholm Trail, and local history featuring historic buildings, the oldest log courthouse in Texas, and much more. Festival goers enjoy several re-enactments, Native American campsites and crafts, cowboy poetry and storytelling, musical groups, live performances, and much more, including chuckwagon cooking, horse-drawn carriages, food trucks, and vendors galore.
Art & Wine Festival
November 12 and 13, 2021, Winnsboro, Texas,
You won’t find a better place to spend an autumn weekend than historic Winnsboro when it transforms into a go-to destination for art and wine lovers young and old. The art ranges from traditional to abstract and includes paintings, pottery, glass, and more from established and emerging artists. Enjoy the street fair ambiance, great food, live music, and sample beer and wine from Texas wineries and breweries. Featuring more than 45 artists, authors, and dozens of wineries and breweries, the festival offers something for everyone.
Photo Courtesy: Bonnie & Clyde Days: Nite Life Magazine, Yamboree: Gilmer
Chamber of Commerce, Wurstfest: Wurstfest, Pioneer Days: Gary Barger Photography