Dia de Rudy’s: Houston Recap

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In case you missed it, a few weeks ago we did the unthinkable…we ate at ALL SIX Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q locations around Houston in one glorious (and crazy) day! To everyone who came out for “Dia de Rudy’s” in Houston on May 21, thanks for meating with us! We loved hanging out with y’all and eating all that delicious food!

A photo posted by Chet Garner (@chettripper) on

Mmm, there’s nothing like the smell of BBQ at 9 in the morning! We started the day at the Spring, TX location with breakfast tacos and met a bunch of awesome folks.

 

From there it was on to the Tomball, TX location for a nice brunch of spicy sausage.

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And not even bumper-to-bumper traffic could stop us from having a lunch of ribs at the Houston, TX location and a second lunch of chopped beef in Katy, TX.

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We met so many awesome folks and had an amazing turn out across the six locations. Some of the folks made pretty awesome signs, like this one we saw at the Webster, TX location.

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To end the day, we headed to the Richmond, TX location at 3:30 p.m. for an awesome dinner of prime rib and we watched the premiere of the Richmond episode.

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In addition to the awesome Rudy’s swag that we gave folks who won our Bingo challenge and the $50 Rudy’s gift cards we gave to everyone who made it to all six locations, we also gave out a BIG Grand Prize at the end of the day. Using the playing cards folks collected at each location, we played a game of 5-card stud for a $250 Rudy’s gift card. Congratulations to our winner Bryan, who won with a full house!

 

Shout out to the 19 of the folks that were brave (and crazy) enough to join us at ALL SIX LOCATIONS. If you ever need to know what to get at Rudy’s, ask these guys because they are now Rudy’s experts.

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We had such a blast that we can’t wait to do it again! Thank you so much for joining us on this meaty trek and thanks to Rudy’s for having us!

100K FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY!!

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Hey Y’all!
You guys are so awesome that we almost have 100K followers on our Facebook Page!! Thank you so much for sticking with us! To show our appreciation for such amazing fans we are hosting a 100K FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY! When we reach 100K Facebook followers (please like our page here), we will give away 100 “Daytripper” car stickers, and ONE LUCKY WINNER will receive a box of “Daytripper” swag filled with our custom Nalgene Water Bottle, Hat, Pint Cup, 2 Koozies, Journal, T-Shirt and Car Sticker! Scroll down to enter!

SWAG2FOR A CHANCE TO WIN, FILL OUT THIS FORM AND LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

GOOD LUCK!

The ULTIMATE BBQ Belt Road Trip

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Here in Texas, nothing excites us more than the heavenly smell of meat cooking over an open pit and there is no sound more angelic than the crinkle of butcher paper wrapped around a piping hot brisket just waiting to be devoured. To fuel your love for barbecue, we’ve created the ULTIMATE BBQ Belt Road Trip that will take you through some delicious Texas barbecue joints. So wear your stretchy pants and get ready for one epic food coma as you eat your way through this meaty challenge.

Here’s the map

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DESTINATION 1: Louie Mueller Barbecue- Taylor, TX

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The first stop on your trip is a Texas barbecue icon right off Main Street in Taylor that’s been serving perfectly moist pepper-crusted brisket and beef ribs that are melt-in-your-mouth tender (and the size of your head) since 1949, Louie Mueller Barbecue. This barbecue institution is a must-stop for every Texan. Louie Mueller’s is a no frills joint, just smokey barbecue goodness served on butcher paper…which is the way it should be. And if you must use sauce (although you don’t really need it here) they’ve got multiple sauces to choose from.

DESTINATION 2: Southside Market & Barbeque – Elgin, TX

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Picture by Southside Market & Barbeque

After you’ve gotten your fill of moist brisket and dino-sized ribs, follow Highway 95 south to Elgin, where you’ll find one of the oldest barbecue joints in Texas: Southside Market & Barbeque. This local institution began as a meat market in 1882 that delivered its delicious meats all over town.  After owner William J. Moon spent most of his time traveling miles to deliver meat door-to-door, he opened a storefront where his leftovers and specialty “hot guts” spicy sausage links were served to customers at the end of the day. More than a century later, people are still trekking to this joint for a taste of their time-honored ‘cue, which over the years has grown into a full-scale restaurant with a menu that includes classics like the “1882 Sausage” and brisket, as well as unique items like lamb ribs and pork steak.

DESTINATION 3: Black’s Barbecue – Lockhart, TX

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After your feast in Elgin, you’re on to Lockhart, the “Barbecue Capital of Texas,” as named by the Texas Legislature in 1999. Follow Highway 130 south to Highway 183 where you’ll find your next three destinations, the first of which is Black’s Barbecue. Opened in 1932, Black’s was one of the first joints in town to serve brisket; 84 years and four generations later, the family is still carrying on the tradition of providing customers with this meaty perfection today. Combine that tender brisket with an extensive menu of other meats (including a fantastic jalapeno cheese sausage) and good ol’ Southern hospitality, and you’ll feel like you’re a part of the Black family, too.

DESTINATION 4: Kreuz Market – Lockhart, TX

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Feeling stuffed? Don’t worry, your next stop is only a few blocks down the road at Kreuz Market. At Kreuz (pronounced “Krites”), meat has been king since it opened in 1900, as showcased by the restaurant’s rules of “no barbecue sauce” and “no forks.” But just one bite into their juicy salt-and-pepper rubbed brisket or hand-filled and tied sausage links, and you won’t mind those rules (or your greasy hands) one bit. In honoring owner Charles Kreuz Sr.’s German heritage, sides include hot potato salad and sauerkraut.

DESTINATION 5: Smitty’s Market – Lockhart, TX

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Still in Lockhart, your next stop is Smitty’s Market, a barbecue dream for every Texan that all started with a little family feud between the owners of Kreuz Market and their sister, Nina, who owned the building. The brothers eventually moved Kreuz down the street and Nina opened Smitty’s Market in her building in 1999. The thing to get here is the fatty brisket and the sausage which has just the right amount of juiciness. And for a twist on your normal barbecue habits, pair your meat with the fresh avocados served on the side.

DESTINATION 6: Luling City Market – Luling, TX

city3By now, your pants are no doubt feeling tighter and you’re probably almost on your way to a meat-induced slumber, but you’ve only got one more destination. Follow Highway 183 south all the way to Luling, where your final stop is the Luling City Market.  You order your meats in the same room where it’s cooking on the pit – a tradition, along with the rule of “no forks,” that’s been around since it first opened 50 years ago. And to compliment the already fantastic meat is the sauce…oh, the glorious sauce! Served in little bottles on each table, it’s praised by Texans near and far, and is quite addictive. Just remember, you can’t take it with you…but you can buy your own bottle.

FINALLY, give yourself a high-five, and take that much-needed nap. You have completed the ULTIMATE BBQ Belt Road Trip!

BEHIND THE SCENES in TAYLOR, TX!

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Hey y’all, we are already filming for Season 8 of The Daytripper! We recently filmed an episode in Taylor, TX where we ate TONS of BBQ and met alot of awesome people! Watch the video below for a BEHIND-THE-SCENES look at our trip!

Wandering through Waco

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The town of Waco has been beckoning us to revisit for quite a while. True, we’ve been there before, but we never tire of the classic spots around town. As we’ve journeyed past Waco on Interstate 35 to other day trips, we’ve noticed two iconic silos far in the distance enticing us to take a peek. So, when we found ourselves with a free day, we decided to wander through Waco and see where our adventure led us.

Of course, our trip through town started the way everyone’s must: with a tour of the Dr Pepper Museum, set in the original 1891 bottling plant where Texas’s favorite soft drink was first bottled. Across the three floors of the museum are tons of facts and pictures that would turn anyone into a “Pepper.”

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Here’s a fun fact from the museum: In 1958 Dr Pepper was heated to 180 degrees and served with a lemon as “Hot Dr Pepper.” Who knew that accidentally leaving a DP in your car on a Texas summer day was once a specialty? Our favorite part was sipping a Dr Pepper float on bar stools at the old fashioned Frosty’s Soda Shop after our tour.

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As we left the museum, we noticed a line of cars headed down the street towards large silos in the distance that could only be Magnolia Market, a home decor store opened in 2014 by HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines. Even though our stomachs were growling for lunch, we were too intrigued by the silos to heed them. Near the market grounds, the traffic was gridlocked as people parked on either side of the street for blocks. We finally found the free (and hard to find) parking lot by following the gravel driveway on the left of the market to a lot in the back.

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We entered Magnolia Market and realized that this was so much more than a store. The famed home decor shop is in a warehouse to the right of the entrance. However, below the towering silos is a luscious green field set up with free lawn games for children, a colorful garden rests on the back acre of the property and all around the site are picnic tables — and this is where we spent most of our time.

As our need for food grew unbearable, we followed the mouth-watering smells wafting from the back of the property where food trucks were lined up along the fence and hungry wanderers gathered for a bite to eat.

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There was no shortage of choices; the food trucks ranged from sweet and savory crepes to handmade biscuit sandwiches. We opted for The Cheddar Box (because gourmet grilled cheese is always the answer) and it was heavenly. We feasted on the “Sweet Granny,” a grilled cheese with apples, honey, cream cheese and cinnamon on sweet potato bread as we enjoyed the sunshine at a picnic table.

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After gorging ourselves on grilled cheese and taking in all the sun we could handle, it was time to hit up another Waco classic on our way out of town: The Waco Suspension Bridge. This architectural beauty has been around since 1870 and was actually the world’s longest single-pass suspension bridge when it was built. It used to provide wagons with a way to cross the Brazos River, but now it’s a pedestrian bridge providing photographers with inspiration and tourists with a place to take in Downtown Waco. And that’s exactly what we did.

Though we just skimmed the surface, our impromptu trip through Waco reminded us of the wanders awaiting in this timeless town. From laying out in the lush green fields at Magnolia Market to enjoying a frosty Dr Pepper in an old fashioned soda shop, there is tons to do in Waco and it definitely needs to be on your summer trippin’ list.

History Awaits at Chestnut Square

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Last week, we traveled to McKinney and we discovered a treasure trove of history right off the Square in the heart of town at Chestnut Square Historic Village — a wonderland for those who long to discover stories of the past.

Chestnut Square began in 1973 when, much to her dismay, McKinney resident Joan Palmer Hughston learned that the beautiful homes that held the history of her beloved town were being demolished. So Joan and a small group of women (the first members of the Heritage Guild of Collin County) started gathering up historic homes from around town to save them from ruin. Soon enough, this collection of 2 or 3 houses grew into an assortment of 8 homes and buildings each with unique architecture and each with a story just waiting to be told.

chestnut_Square The buildings on this Square are originally from McKinney and were moved to their current locations to form the ultimate real-life museum showcasing life from 1854-1918. The tour is rich in hands-on opportunities and stories about a simpler time, but perhaps harder life, in Texas.

We started our tour at Faires House which is proudly known at Chestnut Square as “The Oldest Standing House in McKinney” dating back to 1854. And though this little white cabin looks diminutive by today’s standards, it was a mansion in its time. Fun fact: The front door was carved by the original owner Mr. John Faires, who was a blacksmith!

Faires House

As we stepped inside this house we were transported to the olden days when cotton was the main industry in McKinney and everything was made by hand. Inside the house is a spindle and wheel and a loom that are used in demonstrations to show visitors how cotton was woven back when McKinney was “the Largest Cotton City West of the Mississippi.”

Faires House Wheel

We next arrived at the only replica (and possibly one of the coolest buildings) on the Square, the J.B. Wilmeth Schoolhouse. The tour guide told us It was modeled after a schoolhouse opened in 1892 by J.B. Wilmeth, who first taught classes solely for his 13 kids (holy-moly that’s alot!) and then opened it up for free to all children in McKinney.

Outside it looks like a shabby white cabin, but once inside you’ll forget it’s a replica and almost expect Mr. Wilmeth and his students to burst back in the door from lunch and continue their lesson where they last left off. IMG_9363_editAnd if anyone in your tour is acting up, there’s a solution for that. Just give them some time in the corner with the “DUNCE” hat and they’ll straighten right up! Luckily that didn’t happen to any of us…

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We were shocked to find out that this tiny red house was once the “Two-Bit Taylor” Inn, providing shut-eye and a hot meal for traveling salesmen in 1863. The Taylor family lived in the bottom and guests were hosted upstairs.

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For a mere 25 cents (which is actually the equivalent to $200 today) guests shared the attic-like room upstairs with as many men the Taylor’s could fit. The guests helped with chores and washed their own laundry in exchange for a home-cooked meal. Five-star service sure has come a long way since then…

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We toured one of the first homes on Chestnut Square, Dulaney Cottage, which was built in 1870. The first owner Dr. Joseph Dulaney was a surgeon in the Civil War and his quaint green house was the epitome of opulence in his day. Luxurious details like the glamorous dining room with marble top furniture expresses his wealthy living.

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By far, our favorite house on Chestnut Square was the light blue and very elegant Johnson House. This home is just as luxurious inside as it is outside. Built in 1870, the house remains in its original spot on Chestnut Square where Captain Johnson and his 13 children once lived.

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The tour guide informed us that the furniture inside Johnson House is originally from Tuck Hill a few blocks away, which belonged to Jesse James’s cousin and is rumored to have been a hideout for the notorious criminal and his pals. It’s so crazy how fascinating stories exist all over this city!

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Another fun stop on our tour was the Brimer-Anderson Grocery store that was built in 1918 and moved to the Square in 1994. It was fondly called “Dixie’s Store” by its customers after Brimer’s granddaughter Dixie who used to pass out goodies to children that visited the store.

DixieThe front of the store still sells goods like it used to, except now instead of groceries you’ll find Chestnut Square souvenirs and hand-made crafts. In the back of the store is a museum showcasing items from the store’s past and even an antique cash register.

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On our journey through Chestnut Square’s Historic Village, we found that around every corner and within every building in McKinney is a story of the past. Chestnut Square is a place where visitors can step back in time and experience this history for themselves.

“Dia de Rudy’s” in Houston, May 21

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Who’s ready for SIX delicious Bar-B-Q meals in ONE day?  Well, that’s gonna happen on Saturday, May 21 as we eat our way through Houston at every Rudy’s location.  It’s a meaty job but someone’s gotta do it and I’d love for you to join us!  We’ll start the day at the Spring, TX location for breakfast tacos and end it with BBQ and the premiere of the new Richmond episode at the Richmond, TX location. If you can’t make it to all of them, join me at one or more.  But you should know, there’ll be awesome prizes for anyone who can make it to all 6.

TIMES AND RUDY’S LOCATIONS

9:00 a.m. – Spring, TX location (20806 Interstate 45) How about some breakfast tacos to start the day?

10:00 a.m. – Tomball, TX location (24503 Tomball Parkway) Who doesn’t love a brunch of ribs and sausage?

11:00 a.m. – Houston, TX location (14620 Northwest Freeway). Time for a lunch of brisket by the pound.

12:00 p.m. – Katy, TX location (21799 Katy Freeway) Yum! A second lunch of, well, everything.

1:30 p.m. – Webster, TX location (21361 Gulf Freeway) We just love an afternoon snack of pork loin and pulled pork.

3:00 p.m. – Richmond, TX location (20500 SW Freeway)  We’ll have an afternoon dinner and the premiere of the new Richmond episode!

Of course, eating TONS of BBQ in one day will be awesome, but the fun doesn’t stop there! At each location, we will be handing out a playing card and at the end of the day, all card-holders will play a game of 5-card stud for the chance to win a $250 Rudy’s gift card.

Throughout the day, participants will be given a BINGO card to play on for an all-day contest. Winners will receive awesome Rudy’s swag.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL! Each participant that completes the challenge of eating at all 6 locations on May 21 will win a $50 gift card to Rudy’s!

So join us for a day of fantastic BBQ, fun games and sweet prizes!

Cinco de Mayo…a Texan saves the day

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Grab a margarita and sit back, because here’s a history lesson on the Mexican holiday “Cinco de Mayo.”  Psst… it’s more Texan than you think.

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Presidio La Bahia in Goliad, TX

First of all, let’s clear up the misconception that this is Mexico’s Independence Day….it’s NOT!  All this time, you’ve been throwing fiestas thinking you were celebrating “Dia de la Independencia,” but that’s on September 16. “Cinco de Mayo” actually honors the Battle of Puebla in 1862 when the Mexican Army was led to victory by, none other than, a native-born Texan.

But our story begins years before that in the town of Goliad, TX near Presidio La Bahia, where the Goliad Massacre took place. Outside the walls of this historic Spanish fort (in Texas, I repeat!), General Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza, the hero of “Cinco de Mayo,” was born in 1829.  His childhood home is now the reconstructed Zaragoza House.

A smart, young nino - Zaragoza joined the military and moved to Matamoros, Mexico before the Texas Revolution and fought in one of Mexico’s most important battles — The Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. You see, Mexico was in major debt coming off a civil war in 1860, so the president called a two-year halt on paying back debts to France, Spain and Britain. The three countries decided to attack the small, war-torn Mexico hoping to take control, but Spain and Britain withdrew after seeing how determined and well-equipped the mighty French Army was.

“Batalla del 5 de mayo de 1862″ portrays the battlefield at Puebla.

Napoleon III (nephew of the Napoleon you’ve heard of) sent 6,000 French troops to Mexico, hoping to not only receive debt payments but also to invade the country and rule it. Mexican General Zaragoza (our fellow Texan) heard they were coming to Puebla, so he gathered up all the men he could and formed a little army to defend the city. It seemed like suicide for such a small group of men to stand against such a powerful legion of French troops twice its size.

The Battle of Puebla lasted the entire day of May 5.  In the end Zaragoza and his skilled soldiers defended the city and won the battle, killing over 400 French men and losing only 86 of their own.  Zaragoza became a national hero!

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The Zaragoza Statue in Goliad, TX

Well, the story doesn’t go well from there. Zaragoza died of fever and France went on to capture Mexico City and win the war.  However, the bravery of that little battalion of men and their leader proved that Mexico was not to be messed with and ignited hope in the hearts of the Mexican nation. They eventually won their independence back from France in 1867.

To show their appreciation to Zaragoza and his Texas roots, the citizens of Puebla, Mexico dedicated a statue of the General in Goliad, TX, his birth place. So today, when you’re toasting your margaritas and eating your tacos, take a moment to appreciate the bravery and courage this day represents.  And it’s all because of a Texan you’ve likely never heard about.  Viva Tejas!

New Episodes Are Here!

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Brace yourselves because here at The Daytripper Headquarters we’ve been traveling to awesome towns around Texas and you won’t believe what we found: Texas-sized dinosaurs, Indian tales, ravenous alligators, towering canyons and Elvis… Starting this week, we’re airing the last FIVE episodes of Season 7, so here’s the list of episodes that you won’t want to miss. Be sure to check your local PBS station for premiere times.

DALLAS

DTSite_dallas160122_019 In Dallas, we soar to new heights on the Reunion Tower, learn about the Alamosaurus (a Texas dinosaur) at the Perot Museum and get into all kinds of crazy adventures in the Bishop Arts District. We also explore the nature side of the Big D on the trails by the Trinity River and eat all the food we can fit into our stomachs at Pecan Lodge and Chicken Scratch.

NEW BRAUNFELS

DTSite_newBraun150924_010 Between holding deadly snakes, feeding gators and learning to water-ski, things get pretty slippery in New Braunfels. But don’t worry, we also take time to enjoy the relaxing float of the Comal River and of course, eat up the delicious German goodies and spicy history in this town.

RICHMOND

DTSite_richmond160321_003 In Richmond we trip across the past, present and future of Texas. We learn about the good ol’ days on the George R. Ranch in the 1930s, eat phenomenal ethnic foods and learn about the mixed cultures in the area, and then catch a glimpse of the galaxy at the George Observatory.

TURKEY

DTSite_turkey160211_002 If you think Texas is flat then check out the Turkey episode to see the beautiful rocky canyons we explore in this Panhandle town. We also learn about the Indians that once inhabited this area from a modern-day Indiana Jones and see tools from the barbershop days of Bob Wills, the King of Western Swing.

HILLSBORO

DTSite_Hillsboro160219_022Our day trip to Hillsboro is a blast to the past – we enjoy homemade ice cream in a 50′s diner and find all sort of classic knick-knacks at the Roadside America museum. We even come across an old jailhouse with cells that hold tales of Bonnie and Clyde, Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley.

Can’t Miss Spring & Summer Festivals

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It’s festival season which means that in the next few months, cities all over Texas will be throwing awesome parties celebrating the best things about Texas. Now this list isn’t comprehensive, but there are enough cool festivals here to keep you and your family busy partyin’ almost every weekend this April through July.

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RED POPPY FEST – Georgetown, TX

Picture by Live and Play in Georgetown, Texas Facebook

Picture by Live and Play in Georgetown, Texas Facebook

When: April 22-24

Admission: FREE

Each year Georgetown, TX throws a huge weekend-long celebration in April when the red poppies bloom to celebrate their title as “The Red Poppy Capital of Texas.” The 17th Annual Red Poppy Fest includes all kinds of fun events and activities from a classic car show to a self-guided red poppy tour through town. There will be food vendors, live entertainment and a craft fair. All guests are invited to wear red and attend the “Paint the Town Red” parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday – which is actually being hosted by Mr. Chet Garner, himself! And to add to the weekend’s celebration, there will be a performance by country superstar Tracy Lawrence on Saturday night. Find more information here.

 

MAY

 TEXAS SANDFEST – Port Aransas, TX

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When: April 29 – May 1

Admission: $5

This beach festival is all about sand, fun and a little competition. Texas Sandfest is a three-day competition where you can watch as pro sand sculptors create mind-blowing castles and sculptures out of the sand on the Port Aransas beach. Not a pro? That’s alright – they also have competitions on Saturday for amateurs, kids and teens. The festival includes craft and jewelry vendors, live music, a Beer and Wine Garden, and more! Purchase tickets here.

TEXAS CRAB FESTIVAL – Crystal Beach, TX 

Picture by Texas Crab Festival Facebook.

Picture by Texas Crab Festival Facebook.

When: May 6-8 

Admission: Fri. or Sat. entry is $11.54, Sun. is free

Join the city of Crystal Beach for a three-day festival of family fun and lots of seafood at The 31st Annual Texas Crab Festival . The festival features all kinds of activities from a Texas 2-Step Dance Contest to a Crab Gumbo Cook-off. And the Wiener-Dog Race is a can’t miss event! There will also be a 5K Run, a 1K Walk (for those too full of crab to be athletic) and live music. Find more information here.

TACOFEST – Fort Worth, TX

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Picture by Fort Worth Weekly.

When: May 7

Admission: $10 – $50, price depends on pass purchased

If you aren’t getting enough tacos in your diet, then head to the Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth for a taco fiesta! This celebration of Cinco De Mayo hosted by Fort Worth Weekly lasts from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and features live music, mariachi bands, vendors and of course lots and lots of tacos from area restaurants and food trucks. At TacoFest, there will also be a celebrity judged taco competition, and from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. is unlimited taco sampling. “Taco” ’bout a good time…(sorry, couldn’t help myself!) Click here to purchase tickets.

HOUSTON CRAWFISH, CRAB & GRILL FESTIVAL – Houston, TX

Picture by Houston Crawfish, Crab & Grill Festival.

Picture by Houston Crawfish, Crab & Grill Festival.

When: May 14

Admission: $20 before event, $25 at the gate

Calling all foodies: This is a party dedicated to Houston’s finest Cajun and New Orleans-inspired eats. HCCGF is a weekend designed for the purpose of stuffing your face with all the scrumptious crawfish specialties, mouth-watering crab dishes and fantastic grilled foods you want from area restaurants and caterers while honoring the culture that created these amazing meals. And what pairs perfectly with delicious Cajun food? Why, live performances from R&B, Reggae and Soul musicians all weekend. Just be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting covered with butter from your crawfish boil. Click here to purchase tickets.

GENERAL SAM HOUSTON FOLK FESTIVAL - Huntsville, TX

Picture by General Sam Houston Folk Festival Facebook.

Picture by General Sam Houston Folk Festival Facebook.

When: May 13-15

Admission: $3 – $5, price depends on age

The town of Huntsville, TX is hosting the 17th Annual General Sam Houston Folk Festival to celebrate one of their most historic citizens. This year’s festival features historical reenactments, craft vendors, live entertainment and more on the grounds of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. There will also be opportunities to learn more about Sam Houston and Texas history from the Lone Star Chapter of the Sons of the Republic. Click here for more information.

MAIN STREET FEST – Grapevine, TX

Picture by Grapevine Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Picture by Grapevine Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

When: May 20-21

Admission: $5 – $15, price varies depending on time

The 32nd Annual Main Street Festival promises to be a blast for kids and adults. Mom and Dad can enjoy a selection of over 80 craft brew beers or a glass of wine from the Grapevine wineries while kids check out the KidZone, museum exhibits and kids shows. There will also be a Carnival and Midway with rides and games for families to enjoy, lots of shopping and live entertainment. You can find more information here.

STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL - Pasadena, TX

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Picture by Pasadena Strawberry Festival.

When: May 20-22

Admission: $5 – $30, price varies depending on price and day

This is one sweet celebration! The Strawberry Festival has been going since 1974 and is one of the biggest traditions in Pasadena which is deemed the “The Strawberry Capital of the South.” The three-day festival starts with an Opening Strawberry Festival Parade and the unveiling of the World’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake, which is a 2073 sq. ft. cake that is made each year and served throughout the festival. The festival also features a mud volleyball tournament in a 3-foot mud pit, a carnival, performances by Aaron Watson and Eric Paslay, and much more. Proceeds from the event go toward scholarships for area colleges. Learn more here.

THE NATIONAL POLKA FESTIVAL – Ennis, TX

Picture by The National Polka Festival Facebook.

Picture by The National Polka Festival Facebook.

When: May 27-29

Admission: $8 – $25, price varies depending on day

Get your polka on and join the people of Ennis as they celebrate Czech heritage at the 50th Annual National Polka Festival. The three-day festival kicks off with a Polka dance competition, then on Saturday morning guests are invited to watch the free parade through downtown. The festival also features a Kolache-eating contest, a 5K and a weekend full of live music from polka bands including Grammy Award-winning Brave Combo.

 

JUNE

TASTE OF DALLAS – Dallas, TX

Picture by Taste of Dallas Facebook.

Picture by Taste of Dallas Facebook.

When: June 3-5

Admission: $14 – $50, price varies depending on pass purchased 

The residents of Dallas come together every year in Fair Park to experience the best music, food and arts the city has to offer. At this year’s 30th Taste of Dallas festival there is something for everyone like a Kids Zone with a petting zoo and inflatable slides, the Foodie Experience complete with free samples of the area’s best foods, wines and beers, and the Main Stage where a free music festival will be hosted all weekend. In celebration of Taste of Dallas‘s 30th birthday, a cake has been created by “The Cake Boss’s” Carlos Bake Shop and will be passed out at the festival. You can purchase tickets here.

TOMATO FEST - Jacksonville, TX

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When: June 11

Admission: FREE

Come join the “Tomato Capital of the World” for a day of music, fun and – of course – LOTS of tomatoes at The 32nd Annual Tomato Fest! Events include a Tomato Peeling Contest, in which contestants peel tomatoes with their teeth; a Tomato Shoot, where kids use BB-Guns to shoot tomatoes and a Salsa Contest. There will be a Farmer’s Market where you can buy some of those famous Jacksonville tomatoes, and you can also eat your weight in fried green tomatoes. Learn more about the event here.

TEXAS FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL – San Antonio, TX

Picture by Texas Folklife Festival Facebook.

Picture by Texas Folklife Festival Facebook.

When: June 10-12

Admission: $5 – $12, price varies depending on age and day

The Texas Folklife Festival was modeled after a celebration of cultures at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Throughout the weekend, the festival celebrates the differences of over 40 different ethnic groups. The Folklife Festival showcases ethnic heritages through foods, crafts, entertainment and more on the grounds of the Institute of Texan Cultures. Tickets can be purchased at the gates on the day of the event or here.

2ND ANNUAL ROUTE 66 FESTIVAL – Amarillo, TX

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When: June 18

Admission: FREE

The 2nd Annual Route 66 Festival will really help you “get your kicks!” This free festival features all the things you need to celebrate Historic Route 66 from Antiques to Classic Cars. There will also be a Swap Meet, food, live music, shopping and more! So grab your family and plan a road trip to this iconic highway. Check this site to find out more information.

WATERMELON THUMP – Luling, TX 

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When: June 23-26

Admission: $5 – $15, prices varies depending on day

The Watermelon Thump has been a beloved tradition in Luling since 1954. Start practicing your seed-spittin’ skills in preparation for the World Championship Seed Spitting Contest, and practice polishing off melons promptly because the Watermelon Eating Contest is judged on speed not quantity. The festival also features a mechanical bull, carnival rides, craft fair, live music and more! Learn more here.

JULY

GREAT TEXAS BALLOON RACE – Longview, TX

Picture by Great Texas Balloon Race Facebook.

Picture by Great Texas Balloon Race Facebook.

When: July 22-24

Admission: $12, $15 at gate

Take flight with the city of Longview at the Great Texas Balloon Race. During this three-day festival guests can get up close and personal with giant, colorful hot air balloons and watch as they soar over the festival grounds. A highlight of this festival is the Special Shapes Spectacular, an event when hot air balloons in fun shapes float above the grounds and the Balloon Glow when the hot air balloons are lit at night. There will also be live performances by Aaron Watson and Restless Hearts. Find more information here.