APRIL FESTIVALS


MARBLE FALLS, BURNET, LAKE TRAVIS LLANO, BUCHANAN DAM, KINGSLAND and LAMPASAS

Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail

Late march and early April

Highland lakes Tourist Association, P.O. Box 1967, Austin 78767, 512-478-9085

Admission: free; fees for some activities


The Bluebonnet, the official state flower of Texas, blooms in late March and early April. Several towns in the Hill Country along the Colorado River, where bluebonnets grow in abundance, have festivals and arts and crafts fairs during the flowering period.


BURNET

Burnet Bluebonnet Festival

Second weekend in April

Burnet Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Drawer m, Burnet 78611, 512-756-4297

Admission: Free


Burnet's salute to the sate flower features a parade, dances, arts and crafts, food booths, 5K and 10K runs, and a 25 mile bike race through the country side. there's also a bluebonnet and wildflower arrangement contest and a flower photography contest. Other entertainment includes the Fort Hood Army Band and other live music snake handlers, a domino tournament, a fly-in at the airport, a carnival and a beauty pageant.


KINGSLAND

Bluebonnet Festival

First weekend in April

Kingsland/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce, P.O. box 465, Kingsland 78639, 915-388-6211

Admission: Free, but charges for food, etc.


Kingsland's activities include a 10K volksmarch, bluebonnet trails, bicycle tour, bicycle rode, music, children's games, chili cook-off, horseshoe pitching, arts and crafts, washer pitching contest, martial arts exhibition and barbecue dinner.


LLANO

Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail

Second and Third weekends in April

Llano Chamber of Commerce, 700 Bessemer, Llano, 78643, 915-247-5354


Llano has been celebrating the bluebonnet spring show for 25 years. besides bluebonnet tours, Llano has an old time fiddler's contest, food booths, and an arts and crafts fair.


LAMPASAS

Bluebonnet Fair

First Saturday in April

Lampasas County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 627, Lampasas 76550, 512-556-5172

Admission: Free


The Bluebonnet Fair features a fish fry, antique car show, live music, food booths, a bike and tricycle decorating contest, and an arts and crafts fair.


ALVIN

Rice and Crawfish

First Saturday in April

Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 2028, Alvin 77512, 713-585-8662

Admission: Free


The low, flat, easy to flood land of Alvin is ideal for both rice and crawfish farming. the festival includes a gumbo cook-off, an arts and crafts exhibit, a crawfish dinner, and live music. You'll also find children's games, dancing, horseshoe pitching, a dunking booth, and food booths.

BAY CITY

Heritage Day

First Saturday in April

Bay City Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 768, Bay City 77414, 409-245-8333

Admission: Free


Bay City greets spring with activities at the town square and old railroad depot. They have a mini-parade, historic crafts demonstrations, food booths, and live entertainment all day.


Demonstrations include butter churning, fling knapping, square dancers, cloggers, and ballet. Also a pie eating contest, carriage rides, a wildflower exhibit, and kids games.


HARLINGEN

Riofest

First or second weekend in April

Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 189, Harlingen 78551, 512-423-5440

Admission: $2.00


Riofest celebrates the arts and the ethnic diversity of Harlingen's community on the border with Mexico.


Arts and crafts, music and food abound in this event. You'll see all kinds of arts and crafts demonstrations, and hear a variety of ethnic music representing all types of Texans - German, Mexican, Scottish ,and others.


Held in Harlingen's Fair Park, the festival features several craft and entertainment areas. You may also hear lectures on various topics ranging from bird rescue to Mayan culture, and attend workshops in such folk arts as pottery, basketweaving and silk screening. there's a kid's area with games, face painting and the works.


Other events include a chili cook-off, a bicycle race, and 5K and 10K runs.


ROUND TOP/WINDEDALE

Windeale Spring Festival and Texas Crafts Exhibition

First weekend in April

Winedale Historical Center, box 11, round Top 78954, 409-278-3530

Admission: $2.00 adult; 50 cents students


Some of Texas' leading contemporary artists show their work at Winedale in a juried crafts show. You'll find wood workers, potters, basketweavers, jewelry makers, metal workers and others, all in the quiet, green setting of Winedale's restored pioneer building complex.


While touring the buildings, you can watch demonstrations of crafts such as spinning and weaving, soapmaking, fireplace cooking, corn shucking and rawhide chair making.


other events include a German play, hands on pottery demonstrations, dinner, and music performances. There's a dance, folk, jazz and classical music performances, and an outdoor dinner.


While you're in the area, you could visit nearby Round Top, where the Square Fair and Antique Fair are going on.


POTEET

Poteet Strawberry Festival

Second weekend in April (depends on Easter)

Poteet Strawberry Festival Association, Box 227, 78065, 512-742-8144

Admission: yes; covers all activities except food.


A short drive south from San Antonio lies the Strawberry Capital of Texas - Poteet. Its annual festival attracts 90,000 visitors to sample the luscious crop. Activities include a parade, a dance, strawberry judging and auction, a fiddler's contest, an arts and crafts fair, a rodeo, and a carnival.


Six large stages feature continuous entertainment, including music, ethnic dancing and clowns. food booths sell strawberry ice cream, Poteet Strawberry Festival Wine, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, and strawberry parfait.


BELLVILLE

Country Livin' Festival

Second weekend in April

Bellville Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 670, Bellville 77418, 409-865-3407

Admission: Free


Bellville attracts about 13,000 people with this spring festival, which includes a dance, self guided bluebonnet trails, antique show, craft demonstrations and horseshoe tournament. there's also a hayride, an arts and crafts fair, tours of county jail museum, Little Mr. and Miss bluebonnet pageant, a biergarten, a stage show, and food booths.


FREER

Rattlesnake Round-Up

Mid-April

Freer Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 717, Freer 78537, 512-394-6891

Admission: $2.00 for adults


This began in 1965 as the Freer Oil-O-Rama with oil field equipment displays, airshow and beauty pageant. Back in those days, oil field crews often met face to face with rattlesnakes, which made their work dangerous, not to mention unpleasant. so they began having snake catching contests during Oil-O-Rama. Eventually the snake hunting became so popular it dominated the festival and inspired the new name.


Now, the Rattlesnake Round up features a parade, daredevil snake shows with live cobras and rattlesnakes, a dance, contests, an arts and crafts fair, live entertainment, rodeo, the miss Freer pageant, and food booths.


PORTLAND

Portland Pioneer Days

Mid-April (depends on Easter)

Portland Chamber of Commerce, P.O. box 388, Portland 78374, 512-643-2475

Admission: Free


Pioneer Days host a crowd of about 25,000 people who come for the parade, outdoor music, a street dance, games arts and crafts, and food booths. There's also a fajita cook off, a style show, a pageant, a golf tournament, a carnival, and an auction.


SMITHVILLE

Smithville Jamboree

Weekend after Easter

Smithville Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 716, Smithville 78957, 512-237-2313

Admission: $5.00 for adults; includes dances


The Jamboree features two downtown parades, dances at night, an arts and crafts fair, a fireworks display, and horse shoe and washer pitch tournaments. They usually have a day when senior citizens get free admission.


The festivities take place at Crockett River Bend Park on the Colorado River just outside Smithville. there's plenty of food for sale, so bring your folding chair, picnic basket, and enjoy.


BEAUMONT

Neches River Festival

Week after Easter

Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 3827, Beaumont 77704, 409-880-3749 or 1-800-392-4401

Admission: Free


This festival celebrates both the Neches River and the school students of Beaumont, with many activities centering around educational accomplishments.


The second weekend of the festival is probably the best for visitors with its downtown parade, boat show, and chili cook-off. You'll also find a costume contest, a bicycle race, a flower show, a flotilla, and an arts and crafts show. There's plenty of music and other entertainment. many festival activities are at the city's Riverfront Park.


BURTON

Cotton Gin Festival

Third weekend in April

Operation Restoration Inc., P.O. Box 132, Burton 77835, 409-289-5102

Admission: $2.00 per adult


The Burton Farmer's Gin is one of the few remaining complete cotton gin and mill complexes in the United States. that is, it contains cotton gin technology from the beginning of ginning up to 1974. Plans are in the works to make the gin a national museum, in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution.


The festival raises money for restoration of the buildings, as well as celebrating Burton's heritage. there's plenty of live entertainment both Saturday and Sunday, including contemporary and country and western bands, folk music and vocalists.


Other activities include a parade, a fireworks display, a sausage cook-off, ice cream and pie eating contests, farm equipment displays, an arts and crafts fair, food booths, and a carnival.


DRIPPING SPRINGS

Founders Day and Chicken Cook-Off

Third weekend in April

Dripping Springs Founders Day, P.O. Box 578, Dripping Springs 78620, 512-858-4740

Admission: Free


This celebration includes a parade, a chicken cook-off, a street dance, arts and crafts, contests, live music, a fiddler's contest, horseshoe and washer pitch contests, and a car show.


HUNTSVILLE

General Sam Houston Folklife Festival

Third weekend in April

Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 538, Huntsville 77342, 1-800-289-0389

Admission: $5.00 per adult


Dozens of civic groups in the Huntsville area work together to honor General Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas, and to celebrate the state's folklife heritage.


The festival takes place on the grounds of the Sam Houston memorial museum, where Houston built his home, and in Pritchett Field, on the campus of Sam Houston State university, next to the museum grounds.


As many as 16,000 people may attend over three days. The festival showcases different parts of Texas' ethnic culture, including Indian, German, Hispanic, Irish, African-American, Polish, Scottish and others. In each area, you can sample ethnic food, hear music, and observe folk art demonstrations.


You'll experience a variety of other entertainment on the wooded grounds of the museum, including music, storytellers, dancing, singing and dramatic performances. You may see people dressed as historic figures who knew Houston. You can visit the museum, see Sam Houston's home and eat plenty of good food.


MAURICEVILLE

Crawfish Festival

Third weekend in April

Crawfish Festival Committee, P.O. Box 683, Mauriceville, 77626, 409-745-3777

Admission: $2.00 per adult


Crawfish farming is a new industry in Texas, started in the early 1980s. Of course, people in Southeast Texas have been eating crawfish Cajun-style for a long time.


The Crawfish Festival includes a parade, a dance, a crawfish eating contest, a crawfish cooking contest, a crawfish calling contest, an arts and crafts fair, and music.


SOMERVILLE

Spring Festival

Third Weekend in April

Somerville Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 352, Somerville 77879, 409-596-2383

Admission: $ 2.00 per car entrance fee to state park


The boat parade visible from Welch park at lake Somerville makes this festival unique. Decorated boats of all shapes and sizes plow the waves between the mainland and an island. There's also a dance at night, a variety of games, food booths, horseshoe pitching, a chili cook-off, an arts and crafts fair, live entertainment, and bingo.


KIRBYVILLE

Magnolia Festival

Third Weekend in April

Kirbyville Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 417, Kirbyville, 75956, 409-423-5827

Admission: Free


The tallest Pyramid Magnolia in the United States grows near Kirbyville, at the edge of Newton County. In Texas, this small version of magnolia grows naturally only in Newton and Jasper counties, in the eastern part of the Big Thicket.


This tree on private property has a circumference of 76 inches, a height of 57 feet and a crown spread of 37 feet, said Ron Dosser of the Texas Forest Service.


The largest Southern Magnolia in Texas is in the next county, just outside of Jasper. This giant tree has a trunk circumference of 194 inches, is 112 feet tall, and has a 45 foot crown. It grows on property owned by the Louisiana-Pacific Timber Company.


The Festival honoring this tree with the fragrant flowers features a parade, a dance, contests, an arts and crafts fair, live entertainment, a pancake breakfast, a 5k run and walk, food booths, and a carnival.


WEST COLUMBIA

San Jacinto Festival

Third Weekend in April

West Columbia Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 837, West Columbia 77486, 409-345-3921

Admission: Free


This festival pays tribute to the Texan victory over the Mexican Army at San Jacinto in 1836, when Texas won its independence from Mexico. West Columbia became the first official capital of the Republic of Texas and the meeting place of the Columbia Congress, which elected Sam Houston president and signed the constitution.


The festival includes historical tours, the Belle of the Brazos pageant, a volleyball tournament, helicopter rides, a parade, a dance, contests, arts and crafts, entertainment, and food booths.


MONTGOMERY

Trek and Trades

Third week in April

West Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1, Montgomery 77356, 409-597-4155

Admission: Free, except for homes tour


They've been holding the Trek, a tour of historic homes, since 1954 in Montgomery. The Trades part of the festival includes a parade, an arts and crafts fair, food booths, country cooking, and a variety of entertainment.


SNOOK

Snookfest

Third Saturday IN April

Snookfest, P.O. Box 10, Snook 77878, call City Hall at 409-272-3021

Admission: Free


Snookfest features a parade at 10 a.m., antique farm equipment exhibits, an arts and crafts fair, games, and horseshoe, washer, and domino tournaments.


You can hear Czech and country music in the park all day while you sample some of the Mexican, Czech and other foods for sale. A children's barnyard and an evening dance at the fire station complete the schedule.


CRYSTAL BEACH

Texas Crab Festival

Last weekend in April

Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1170, Crystal Beach 77650, 409-684-5940

Admission: small parking fee


Bring a folding chair to this beach festival, where you can see a crab cook-off and a sandcastle building contest. They also have crab races, the crab legs contest, live entertainment by area bands, food booths, arts and crafts, carnival rides, seafood and a variety of beach games.


HALLETSVILLE

Texas State Championship Fiddler's Frolics

Fourth weekend in April

Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 313, Hallettsville 77964, 512-798-2662, or Knights of Columbus hall, 798-2311

Admission: $5.00


This weekend musical celebration started in 1970. the fun includes two nights of live bands, usually country and Cajun; You can hear good fiddle music all weekend, played by musicians of all shapes and sizes. There's also dancing, arts and crafts, food booths, a fun run, and a barbecue cook-off. the fiddling competition takes place Saturday. On Sunday, they choose the champion fiddler and induct players into the Texas Fiddler's Hall of Fame.


LA PORTE

Sylvan Beach Festival

Last Saturday in April

La Porte-Bayshore Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 996, La Porte 77572-0996, 713-471-1123

Admission: $1.00 per adult


Since 1956, La Porte Has celebrated its seashore, Sylvan Beach, with this festival that draws about 25,000 people. Events include a parade, dance, live entertainment, music, a chili cook-off and a variety of games. There's also a Miss Sylvan contest.

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