Every year there are hundreds of festivals and events held across Texas. From fishing tournaments to fiestas, cultural heritage festivals to rodeos, there is quite a diverse slate of events set to happen in 2013. Every month sees a "major" event taking place somewhere in Texas, along with hundreds of smaller ones. Here's a look ahead at the Texas event calendar highlights for 2013.
Laredo's annual Washington's Birthday Celebration celebrates the birthday of the nation's first president, George Washington, and is the largest event of its kind in the United States. This yearly celebration, which takes place from mid-January through mid-February, features too many activities to list, but some of the highlights include parades, pageants, fun run, concerts, a carnival, children's fun festival, fireworks and more.
Galveston’s Mardi Gras is a 12 day, 11 night party prior to lent. Not as famous as Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans or Mobile, the Galveston event is nonetheless packed with tradition and, more importantly, packed with fun. Of course, Mardi Gras revelers will be dressed in costume as they wander the streets, listening to the more than 30 bands performing on the two stages set up in the Entertainment District. Mardi Gras goers will also be treated to several parades and processions.
The first three weeks of March in Houston mean the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. This one-of-a-kind event features the second largest fair in North America, daily professional rodeo competitions, and some of the biggest names in music performing daily during the three week stretch.
Fiesta San Antonio is a massive festival featuring over 100 different events. Some of the most popular are the 10k and kids' runs, Fiesta Oyster Bake, Fiesta Mariachi Mass, Roundball Ruckus, arts fair, carnival and A Night in Old San Antonio.
Featuring a colorful Czech parade, live music, arts & crafts, a horseshoe tournament, traditional Czech foods, dancing and a 5k run, Ennis' annual National Polka Festival is the largest Czech heritage festival in the United States.
Founded in 1972 by Rob Kennedy and held every year since, the Kerrville Folk Festival is the longest running event of its kind in North America. Over the years, it has also grown to be one of the largest, with recent events featuring more than 100 artists. In fact, since its inception, more than 1,500 singer-songwriters have performed at the Kerrville Folk Festival. More than 30,000 people attend the Kerrville Folk Festival each year, many of whom choose to camp onsite and enjoy the Festival 24 hours a day.
First held in 1981, the Great Texas Mosquito Festival quickly become one of the Lone Star State's most unique and popular annual events. The Mosquito Festival features a variety of fun activities, such as barbecue and fajita cookoffs, horseshoe tournament, dodgeball tournament, washer tournament, 5k run, baby crawling contest, a carnival and more. However, it is the quality live entertainment that has firmly established the Mosquito Festival as a 'must-attend' event.
Held in the waters around Port Isabel and South Padre Island, the Texas International Fishing Tournament is the largest salt water fishing tournament in Texas. The tournament has bay, offshore and fly fishing divisions and draws around 1,200 particpants annually.
Every year West, Texas - located just north of Waco - hosts its "Westfest," which is one of the largest Czech Polka fests in the state. The event is held over the first weekend in September and features polka bands, dancing, Miss Westfest contest, parade, baking contests, fun run, horseshoes, arts & crafts and more.
Running for 24 days through late-September and early-October, the State Fair of Texas is the largest fair and stock show in the state. During the nearly month long event, everything from live music to carnival rides and good eats to art shows are offered. Of course, the highlight of the Fair is the annual Texas-Oklahoma football game.
A “Ten Day Salute to Sausage,” Wurstfest has been drawing visitors to the German-influenced Hill Country town of New Braunfels for over four decades. In the early days, when it was still known as Sausage Festival, the event drew a few thousand. Today, well over 100,000 people attend the event annually.
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.