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Kid-Friendly Festivals in Texas

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There is an event, activity or festival taking place virtually every weekend somewhere in Texas. Luckily for families spending their vacations in the Lone Star State, a number of these festivals are "kid-friendly," with a wholesome environment and activities set up just for the little ones. And, don't worry, each of these festivals is plenty entertaining for the parents as well, making them excellent choices for families looking for a way to spend the day while on vacation in Texas.

1. Charro Days

Staged each February since 1938, Brownsville's Charro Days is a weeklong, traditional Mexican “pachanga,” with parades, dances and a variety of fun events for the entire family. In addition, there will be a flour tortilla eating contest, folkloric dancing, and a golf tournament. And, while ’re in town, don’t miss the chance to stop by the world famous Gladys Porter Zoo. Held in: February

2. Corpus Christi Festival of the Arts

The Corpus Christi Festival of the Arts is staged annually as a means of showcasing Corpus' art scene. The festival features a variety of art displays and demonstrations, as well as performances from ballet, folklorico, theatre, dance, and other performing arts groups. The Festival of the Arts also houses a 'KidZone,' where kids can utilize interactive art stations. Held in: March

3. RioFest

Held each April in Harlingen, RioFest celebrates art and culture from both sides of the Rio Grande River. With art, food and music from both the United States and Mexico, RioFest is the perfect showcase for the cultural blending that comprises Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. RioFest also is host to a number of displays and activities designed to introduce children and their families to the natural world. ‘One the Wild Side’ events and presentations at RioFest include The Great American Duck Race, Tropical Illusions, Reptile Adventures and the Texas Camel Corps. Held in: April

4. National Polka Festival

Started in 1966 by a handful of Ennis citizens with the cooperation of the Ennis Chamber of Commerce, the National Polka Festival was designed to reflect the town's Czech heritage. The event was an immediate success and has continued to grow throughout the decades. Today, it is one of the largest heritage festivals in the national, with over 50,000 people flocking to Ennis each year for Polka music, Czech food, dances, a fun run, parade and more. Held in: May

5. Dr Pepper Birthday Celebration

Held each year in Dublin, the Dr. Pepper Birthday Celebration pays homage to a true Texas original - Dr. Pepper. During the birthday celebration, visitors are treated to free tours of the bottling plant, which is the oldest Dr. Pepper bottling plant in the world, and the Dr. Pepper Museum. Carnival games and food booths are also onsite during the celebration. Additionally, there are three "fun runs" - a 10k, 4k and 2k - as well as cycling races of 9, 34 and 62 miles. Held in: June

6. Shrimporee

For more than six decades, thousands have come to Aransas Pass to attend the annual Shrimporee. This event celebrates all things shrimp, which means there is always plenty of good seafood. In addition to the shrimp cookoff, Shrimporee offers lots of live entertainment, a beauty pageant, parade, petting zoo, arts & crafts exposition, carnival rides and plenty of other fun-filled events and activities. Held in: June

7. Luling Watermelon Thump

The Luling Watermelon Thump kicks off with a pageant, live music and a dance on Thursday night and continues on through the weekend. A variety of events and activities take place during the "Thump," including a seed spitting contest, melon eating contest, largest melon competition, queen's pageant, parade, concerts, dances and more. Held in: June

8. Austin Ice Cream Festival

Intent on bringing back old-fashioned family fun, the Austin Ice Cream Festival offers Austin area residents and visitors an entire day of simple pleasure. Of course, ice cream is the main event at the festival. In addition to just enjoying ice cream treats, those in attendance have the option of taking part is some ice cream-based contests, such as the Ice Cream Eating Contest, Homemade Ice Cream Making Contest, Popsicle Stick Sculpture Contest, and the Ice Cream Screaming Contest. Held in: August

9. Westfest

Held annually since 1976, Westfest is one of the largest Czechoslovakian heritage festivals in Texas, drawing more than 20,000 visitors annually. Westfest offers live polka music, a parade, Miss Westfest pagent, baking contest, 'Just for Kids' activity area, food booths, tractor pulls, Kolache fun run, and a Sunday polka mass. There is also a carnival-style midway and Taroky contest. Held in: September

10. 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. Held in: December
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