Winter in Texas is a bit different than in other states. Due largely to its milder winter weather, Texas is host to a number of great festivals and events during the winter season. From holiday parades to college football bowl games, marathons to Mardi Gras -- there is an unbelievably varied array of events and festivals staged from December through February in Texas.
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.
Dallas’ “Run the Rock” event combines music – over 40 bands perform along the race route – with running – it is, after all, a marathon. There is also a 5k walk/fun run, half-marathon, and relay marathon during the weekend.
In Cleburne, the Whistle Stop Christmas Lights wow visitors on an annual basis. The main draw for this county-wide event is the 11 acres of Christmas lights covering Hulen Park which stay lit for the whole month of December.
A Dallas holiday tradition for over 20 years, the Neiman-Marcus/Adolphus Children’s Parade not only kicks off the holiday season in the Big D, it is a major fundraiser for the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. You can get reserved seating, general admission tickets, or bring a lawn chair and sleeping bag and huddle up along the parade’s downtown route.
Texarkana's annual Twice As Bright Festival begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs through January 2. Throughouth the month of December, other events such as a Christmas parade, lighting of the commmunity Christmas tree, and more compliment the Twice As Bright Festival.
This annual postseason game has showcased top college football talent for seven decades. Playing in the Cotton Bowl this year will be teams from the Big-12 and SEC conferences.
The Houston International Boat, Sport and Travel Show kicks off January 6, 2012 and lasts for 10 days. Held at Reliant Center, the Houston Boat Show draws over 150,000 visitors, each of whom are treated to an eyeful of the newest boats, travel trailers, rvs, watercraft, camping equipment, fishing tackle and more.
The San Antonio River, home to the famous Riverwalk, is drained each January. But, even without water in the river, San Antonio still manages to find a way to throw a party. The annual Riverwalk Mud Festival celebrates the draining of the river and includes such crowd favorites as the Mud Pie Ball, King and Queen Coronation, Mud Art Contest and more.
The Houston Marathon, which began in 1972 with 113 runners, has grown into the largest single sporting event in the city of Houston. This annual event, which now has nearly 18,000 particpants, has also grown to include a half-marathon and 5k run as well.
Most folks probably could never guess where the largest celebration of George Washington’s birthday is held. Believe it or not, it is staged each year in the border city of Laredo, Texas. True enough, Laredo is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when Americans think of their first president. However, it is Laredo that throws the largest and oldest Washington Birthday Celebration.
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.
Charro Days is a hugely popular “fiesta” staged in the border town of Brownsville each year. Although Charro Days has been around in its current format since 1938, it is rumored that the first “unofficial” Charro Days took place in the early to mid-1800s, when citizens of Brownsville and Matamoros, just across the Rio Grande River in Mexico, came together to celebrate a cooperative climate between the two nations.