Ah, springtime in Texas. Flowers are in bloom, and it’s not yet scorching hot outside. It’s what we like to call Festival Season, when Texans get out to celebrate without risking third degree sun burn. And believe us, spring festivals in Texas celebrate anything and everything!
Note: With the continued presence of Coronavirus in Texas, things are a little dicey. Some of our favorite festivals have announced dates for 2021, but it remains to be seen whether the infection levels will subside enough to allow the festivals to return. Many festivals are taking a “wait & see” attitude. TravelLatte will monitor the 2021 festival season, and update accordingly.
Last Updated: 23 January 2021
Spring Festivals in Texas
We want to preface this rather long “listicle” with this: We love festivals. Cultural celebrations like Oktoberfest are always fun. Even better, make it about food, like one of our favorites, the Romanian Food Festival! (Can you say yum?) Or maybe it’s a collection of adorable Dachshunds running to their heart’s content. Whatever the occasion, we will pull this car over and make everyone come with us!
Three reasons we are festival fanatics:
- We are willing to admit that we could always stand a little more culture. We love festivals that celebrate the traditions, arts and crafts, and foods that people have brought with them from their homelands. America IS a melting pot, and there’s no better place than local cultural festivals to experience the best of it.
- Yes, we do enjoy experiencing and learning about culinary traditions, but we also enjoy corndogs, funnel cake, and pretty much any meat on a stick. It’s just who we are. Once again, no better place to find that than a festival – whether it’s a small town celebrating Mother’s Day, or the granddaddy of them all, the Texas State Fair. (Go ahead, let us know how great YOUR state fair is!)
- C’mon, it’s just plain fun learning about things like rattlesnakes! Okay, the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup is a poor example. Still, we challenge you to find more fun than you’ll have shucking crawfish with friends, or watching people build sand castles that you kind want to move into. Watching bands and dancing in the street, admiring artists of all sorts, or browsing one-of-a-kind souvenirs that will forever remind you of that one day in… That, friends, is festival fun at its finest!
We love hitting the road to enjoy springtime festivals in towns and cities big and small, and there are some truly great ones. We’re taking you with us (vicariously, of course) as we run through some of the best spring festivals in Texas!
The Elephant in the Festival: SXSW
For many people, Texas plus festival equals SXSW, the annual entertainment symposium in Austin. We’re old enough – and have been attending long enough – to remember when it was just a few days of alternative bands you probably never heard of, hoping to land a record deal. As happens anytime there’s a crowd (plus music and alcohol), things quickly got out of hand. “South By” today is a multi-week event filled with lectures, films, book readings, software symposiums, business conferences, and yes, music. In fact, something like 2000 musicians, across all genres, from 60 countries will be performing over six days.
While SXSW is entertaining on many levels, it has become everything the original festival was (intentionally) not. It’s lost much of its authentic Texas festival appeal. But don’t worry, there is plenty more to celebrate across the Lone Star State. Whether you are road tripping for Spring Break, visiting for a weekend, or actually live here, we’ve got a lineup of spring festivals in Texas sure to satisfy everyone, from the Big D and Funky Town, all the way to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Note: These are all annual festivals. If you find one you like, but it’s a little late for this year, tuck this list away for a future spring festival season. For festivals that are not in Texas’ major cities, we’ve highlighted the two closest big cities you’re likely to be familiar with. Follow the links for festival locations, details, and tickets where needed.
Find Your Festival: 18 Spring Festivals in Texas
- Where: Palestine, Texas
- When: March 19-April 4, 2021
- Admission: Free
Love exploring smaller towns, wooded parks, and hiking or biking trails? The Dogwood Trails Festival in Palestine, Texas is just the ticket for you. This annual celebration of beautiful flowering trees began in 1938, and now blooms over three weekends in March and April. Even if you’re not in town for the weekend, the Dogwood Trails are in bloom every day along three scenic drives, and a hiking/biking trail.
Free attractions available each weekend of the festival include a Fairy Garden Trail, Forest Picnics in the Park, Stained Glass Tours, and the Dogwood Jamboree. Be sure to allow extra time for one don’t-miss attraction any time you’re in Palestine: the Piney Woods Excursion Train at the Texas State Railroad. The restored sight seeing coaches and steam engine take you on a 25 mile trip that goes back time as well as into the Piney Woods.
Palestine is located about 130 miles southeast of Dallas-Fort Worth, or 176 miles northeast of Austin.
- Where: Dallas, Texas
March 26-29, 2020
- Admission: $17/Adult, $14/Senior, $12/Child 2-12; Parking is $15; A Grand Tasting opening night tickets start at $150
The 2020 Food & Wine Festival was regretfully cancelled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. No dates have been announced for 2021.
The Dallas Arboretum is a world renowned botanical garden, and is worthy of a visit on any trip to North Texas. There may be no better time to be at the Dallas Arboretum than in the spring, particularly during the annual Food & Wine Festival!
If you’re lucky enough to attend the VIP opening events, you’ll be spoiled with food and drinks from 40 of the area’s top chefs. Whenever you go, though, there will be vendors throughout the garden’s 66 acres and half-million flowering spring bulbs. 2020 will feature the Arboretum’s first-ever Farmer’s Market, and demonstrations at the on-site restaurant, A Tasteful Place will focus on food from garden to kitchen to your mouth!
The Dallas Arboretum sits on beautiful White Rock Lake in northeast Dallas, less than 30 milles from DFW Airport, and 11 miles from Dallas Love Airport.
- Where: Houston, Texas
March 27-29, 2020
- Admission: $12/Adult, $5/Children 5-15, $30/Family Pass, $20/Individual 2-Day Pass
The 2020 Bayou City Art Festival was rescheduled for 10-11 October 2020. No dates for 2021 have been announced.
Houston is often called the Bayou City thanks to areas waterways and proximity to the Texas Gulf Coast. Hence the Bayou City Art Festival in Houston’s Memorial Park. Over 300 artists working in 19 disciplines will have works on display, for sale, and in juried competitions. There will be two stages of live entertainment, children’s activities, and (our favorite) food trucks.
Memorial Park is just 25 miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), and 15 miles from William P. Hobby Airport.
- Where: Llano, Texas
- When: April 3, 2021
- Admission: Free; Saturday evening concert: $20pp
The Llano Fiddle Fest has been reduced to a one-day contest and concert on 3 April 2021. The full-weekend slate is expected to return for 2022.
Three interesting facts about Llano, Texas: It is the Deer Capital of Texas, with the highest density of white-tailed deer in the U.S. It is, geographically, the heart of Texas. And it hosts the Llano Fiddle Fest every April! Three days of literal fiddling about: fiddle competitions, fiddle concerts, and even air-fiddling. (The one thing we can do with a fiddle!) There are events scheduled in several venues throughout Llano, both indoors and out.
To be honest, any excuse is a good one to visit Llano, nestled in the Texas Hill Country along the crystal-clear Llano River. The entire downtown area is a National Historic District, with very modern wineries a stone’s throw away. Speaking of stones, Llano is home to Enchanted Rock, and hosts the World Rock Stacking Championships, part of the annual Llano Earth Art Fest. Want more? Bluebells cover the rolling hills from mid-March through Memorial Day.
Llano is in Central Texas, just 75 miles west of Austin, and 216 miles southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth.
- Where: Spring, Texas
- When: April 10-11, 2021
- Admission: General Admission is free; Wine Tasting Admission is $35pp
What better location for a spring festival in Texas than a town called Spring? And what better to celebrate than wine and art? If you agree, the Spring Texas Wine & Art Festival is the place for you. Every year, Texas wineries share the stage with art, music and food in Old Town Spring.
Along with the festival, you can browse the Victorian shops and galleries downtown. Having begun as a railroad town in the mid-1800s, the area has a rich history that you can explore at the Spring Historical Museum. Or, explore the paranormal side of those Victorian buildings on an Old Town Spring Ghost Walk.
Spring, Texas is part of the larger Houston area, served by George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports, roughly 15 and 35 miles away, respectively.
- Where: Burnet, Texas
- When: April 9-11, 2021
- Admission: Varies by event; many are free
Every year, during the second weekend of April, 30,000 people descend on the small town of Burnet (population: 6,000) for an annual celebration of the State Flower of Texas: Bluebonnets. This isn’t just any Bluebonnet Festival, because Burnet is officially the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas. And this is a traditional home-town celebration the whole community takes part in.
The fun starts the day before the festival with a carnival on Thursday. Then the Kiwanis Club kicks things off on Friday with an All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast, to fuel you up for the weekend ahead. Over the next three days there is so much to take in: arts and crafts, demonstrations, performances, and live entertainment are just the beginning. There are two parades to enjoy: A pet parade, and the Bluebonnet Festival Grand Parade, with marching bands, classic cars, and more. And we’ve only scratched the surface.
They don’t stop with 5- and 10k races, there are rubber ducky and wiener dog races, too. There’s a classic car show, a “wild west” style shoot-out, and even a demolition derby! With all of these activities, the festival takes place in locations all across Burnet. Some events do have admission fees, but most are free.
A Special Way to Celebrate
For a very special outing, start your Bluebonnet Festival experience in Bertram, about 45 miles northwest of Austin. At the historic Cedar Park depot, you’ll climb aboard the Austin Steam Train Association’s Bluebonnet Festival Flyer, a diesel locomotive with vintage coaches. Settle in for an unbelievably scenic ride through the Texas Hill Country. The sea of blue waves rippling across the hillsides are the world-famous wild flowers. They’ll usher you right to the festival, and back to Bertram after a few hours in Burnet. Tickets start at $50/adult, and $40/child, and generally sell out before the Festival.
- Where: Dallas, Texas
April 11-12, and October 3-4, 2020
- Admission: Free
Dates for the 2021 Turtle Creek Arts Festival have not been announced.
Every spring, the tony Turtle Creek area of Dallas hosts the Turtle Creek Arts and Crafts Festival at Reverchon Park. The 2020 festival will feature more than 100 painters, sculptors, glass blowers, photographers, jewelers and more. There will be artist demonstrations, a children’s play area, and live acoustic music. Festival foods and healthy alternatives will also be available.
Turtle Creek is not far from the Dallas Arts District, making it easy to make a day of gallery going. Reverchon Park is just four miles from Dallas Love airport, and less than 20 miles from DFW International Airport.
- Where: Fort Worth, Texas
April 16-19, 2020
- Admission: Free
Dates for the 2021 Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival have not yet been announced.
Dallas-Fort Worth’s largest arts festival happens every spring over nine blocks of downtown Cow Town. The Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival brings together Visual Arts, Music, and Culinary Arts for a blockbuster weekend surrounding historic Sundance Square.
This is literally the largest four-day arts event in the Southwest. The world class display of Fine Arts is considered one of the best in the country. You’ll have many chances to take home a painting that speaks to you – perhaps even painted while you wait! Music on Main features live performances across the spectrum, from jazz and orchestra, to rock, to hometown favorites, the Grammy Award-winning Brave Combo. In addition to the 23 downtown restaurants, there are several food courts – plus wine and craft beer stations. And Main St. Creates was created just for the kids to explore and enjoy the arts.
Downtown Fort Worth is worth a weekend (or more) on its own. From the Stockyards (featuring a daily cattle drive!) to General Worth Square, where President Kennedy gave his final speech, the city is drenched in history. The nearby Cultural District features museums, galleries, and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Downtown Fort Worth is roughly 25 miles from DFW Airport, which has TexRail train service right to downtown (except on Sundays). Dallas Love Airport is 33 miles away, and can also be reached by rail, though not directly.
- Where: San Antonio, Texas
- When: April 15-25, 2021
- Admission: Varies per event
If you’re thinking about roller coasters and thrill rides, you’re thinking of Six Flags Fiesta Texas which, yes, is in San Antonio. However, Fiesta San Antonio is completely different. For one thing, most events are free, and there are so many of them!
Fiesta San Antonio is a collection of events all over town, and there is literally something for everyone. Fiesta Flower Show, Fiesta Oyster Bake, Fiesta Pop, Fiesta Masquerade, Fiesta Carnival…there’s even a Fiesta Fiesta at Hemisfair! Eating, dancing, football, futball, LaCrosse, running, biking…really, something for everyone.
Events happen all over the greater San Antonio area, except for Fiesta Texas. While you’re running around town for the Fiestas, remember the Alamo! Together with the world famous San Antonio Riverwalk, and the Tower of the Americas at Hemisfair Park, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.
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Happy Trails y’all. Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Photo taken 4/17/19 along Turner Rd off of FM 1722. #ennisbluebonnets19 #ennistx
- Where: Ennis, Texas
- When: April 16-18, 2021
- Admission: Free
Texas is nearly synonymous with Bluebonnets, which is why the Ennis Blue Bonnet Trails and Festival is one of North Texans’ favorite spring events.
The small town of Ennis is no stranger to world-class festivals – it also hosts the International Polka Festival every summer. In the spring, the fields around Ennis erupt in hues of blues, and the city has mapped out several Bluebonnet Trails to help you meet the best blooms up close and personal. The trails are set up by April first every year, and the Bluebonnet Festival takes place in mid-April. The historic downtown area is filled with arts & crafts, food vendors, kids’ activities, and live entertainment, culminating with nightly concerts. The Wine Wander through downtown Ennis is a popular festival event, and requires a $30pp ticket. The rest of the weekend is free!
While you’re in town, you should stop by the vintage Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum, adjacent to the streets that host the festival. Then stick around after dark for a movie at the retro Galaxy Drive-In Theatre. You read that right: Drive-in theatre. It’s a seriously fun blast from the past!
Ennis is just under 45 miles southeast of Dallas-Fort Worth, and about 175 miles northeast of Austin.
- Where: Port Aransas, Texas
- When: April 23-25, 2021
- Admission: 3-Day Festival Wristbands are $15/Adult, $5/Children 6-12
If you’ve ever spent an afternoon battling the sun and tides to build the perfect sand castle, then you’re our kind of people. And the Texas SandFest is a springtime highlight for people like us!
Every April for the last 23 years, sand sculptors and artists have gathered at Port Aransas to build their dream castles – and statues, artworks, and monuments to the shore. You can even enter the competition, if you’d like! There are divisions for Amateurs, Semi-Pro, and Master sand sculptors, solo or team. Yes, this is serious stuff but, if you’re like us, the real joy is walking the beach admiring the amazing artistry in sand.
SandFest wears the title of Largest Native-Sand Sculpture Competition in the USA, and is an internationally recognized event! The three-day festival includes food, drinks, shopping, and live entertainment, too. While you’re there, explore Port A’s five nature preserves for hiking, biking, and birdwatching – thousands of birds migrate through the area, in addition to hundreds of resident species. Or grab a rod and reel; Sportfishing is the king of all sports here, the Fishing Capital of Texas!
Port Aransas is on Mustang Island, just across the bay from Corpus Christi, Texas. You can reach the island by ferry, road, and public transportation from Corpus Christi. Flying into Corpus Christi, you would land at Corpus Christi International (CRP). If you’re up for a road trip, San Antonio is about 190 miles to the northwest, and Houston is 230 miles to the northeast.
- Where: Austin, Texas
April 17-19, 2020
- Admission: $15 2-Day Pass; $65 2-Day Pass + Preview Party (plus processing fee when purchasing online)
Art City Austin will return in Spring 2021, with exact dates TBD.
2020 marked what was to be the 70th Annual Art City Austin at Republic Square. The global Coronavirus Pandemic pushed that celebration into 2021. The weekend event celebrates the “arts, artists, and creativity that make Austin an Art City,” and showcases more than 75 local and visiting artists and artisans in a variety of disciplines. Thankfully, that includes culinary artists who will be conducting delicious demos. The festival includes art talks and panel discussions, and plenty of shopping opportunities to find and take home a new masterpiece.
Austin has enough attractions to fill a week without repeating! Just make sure you allow some time to visit the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. Among the collection is Frederic Remington’s panoramic painting, “The Charge,” and Ellsworth Kelly’s famed “Temple for Light” installation.
- Where: Austin, Texas
April 24-26, 2020
- Admission: Weekender Pass $250; Feast Under the Stars $250; All-In Pass $625 (plus processing fee)
The 2020 Austin Food & Wine Festival was cancelled; tickets will be honored at the 2021 event, now scheduled for November 5-7.
This one requires some disclaimers: #1 – it’s expensive. However, your ticket includes ALL food and drinks, demos, and tasting sessions for the weekend. #2 – It’s strictly 21+ as alcohol is included.
With that out of the way, this is one of the Lone Star State’s premier food festivals. More than 50 premier restaurants and chefs from around Texas and the country participate, including Food Network star Andrew Zimmern. Add in master sommeliers, mixoligists, brewmasters, and winemakers, so you’ll be well watered as well as fed. Of course, this is Texas, so experienced barbeque pitmasters will be manning the grills.
Hugely expensive, but you will leave with new experiences, knowledge, and a very full tummy.
- Where: Buda, Texas
April 25-26, 2020
- Admission: Free
The 2020 Buda Country Fair & Wiener Dog Races were cancelled. The Wiener Dogs remain in training for 2021, with dates TBD!
One of the great things of festival season is the sheer variety of things we celebrate. One of the most unique is the Country Fair and Wiener Dog Race in Buda. Yes, Wiener Dog Race, with all (or, at least, some) of the thrills of greyhound racing, only cuter! Of course, things aren’t limited to dachshunds. There’s a pet parade open to all, along with arts and crafts, kids games, live entertainment, vendors, and an IBCA-sanctioned BBQ cook-off. Just, maybe don’t order a hot dog.
The fun takes place in the self-proclaimed Wiener Dog Capital of Texas! Buda is less than 20 miles from Austin, and 60 miles from San Antonio. Being just off of Interstate 35, it’s a great stop on a Central Texas Road Trip. Nearby you can enjoy the Schlitterbahn water parks and natural springs in New Braunfels, get a dose of charm and history in Gruene, and shop your heart out at the San Marcos Outlet Stores. If the weather’s warm enough, enjoy a Texas summer tradition, tubing on the Guadalupe River.
- Where: Spring, Texas
April 25-26, 2020
- Admission: $12/adult and $5/children 6 and up
Dates for the 2021 Texas Crawfish Festival have not yet been announced.
Load up on mudbugs and Zydeco at the Texas Crawfish and Music Festival! We re-visit Spring just a couple weeks after the annual Texas Wine and Art Festival for another annual tradition in this Houston suburb. Besides pots of crawfish and corn, there’s a petting zoo and carnival, plus a second stage of Country music, in case those rousing Cajun party tunes aren’t quite your style.
It’s come and go, so you can pay once, and come back later in the day, if you choose. Admission covers the crawfish and music. If small crustaceans aren’t your thing, there will be BBQ, burgers, Cajun delicacies, and even vegetarian options.
Spring, Texas is part of the larger Houston area, served by George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports.
- Where: Fort Worth, Texas
April 25-26, 2020
- Admission: $12/adult, $10/Seniors, $6/children 6-15
Dates for the 2021 Spring Japanese Festival have not yet been announced.
Any time you’re in the Fort Worth vicinity, it’s worth visiting the Fort Worth Botanic Garden! There are a variety of displays and festivals at the Garden throughout the year, and the Spring Japanese Festival is one of the most popular. Which means you should expect crowds, and parking challenges; if you can, take a bus or ride-share to the park.
The Japanese Garden is arguably the most stunning area in the Botanic Garden’s 110 acres. For the Spring Japanese Festival, there are vendors, displays, and performances, in addition to the garden’s usual exhibits, plants, and structures.
Your admission fee gets you into the Botanic Gardens. While you’re there for the festival, you should explore more of the 12 garden collections spread over 110 acres. The world-class Fort Worth Zoo is nearby, as are the city’s best museums and galleries, if you’d like to make a weekend of it.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is in the city’s Cultural District, close to Interstate 30 and just west of Downtown Fort Worth. It is served by Fort Worth’s Trinity Metro Line 007.
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Official dates + times for the Spring 2020 @pecanstreetfest | MAY 2-3 | 6th street between ih35 and 6th | dig it
- Where: Austin, Texas
May 2-3, 2020
- Admission: Free
The Pecan Street Festival went virtual for 2020. It remains to be seen whether 2021 will be virtual as well, or will return to an in-person event. Either way, dates are TBD.
For more than three decades, the 6th Street Historic District of downtown Austin has been showing off the city’s artsy side at the Pecan Street Festival. It’s a juried event that happens every May and September, attracting hundreds of local and national artisans, and tens of thousands of festival-goers. You’ll find original, handcrafted creations in just about every medium you can imagine: glass, metal, wood, clay, leather, stone…even repurposed and reimagined materials. Food vendors and live entertainment round out the festival experience.
Despite the name, don’t go looking for Pecan Street when you go; it was long ago renamed – and is now the world famous – 6th Street. Austin is served by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and the Capital Metro Route 20 runs between the Airport and the 4th/5th/6th Street area.
- Where: Crystal Beach, Texas
- When: May 7-9, 2021
- Admission: $10 for anyone 15 or older, except on Sunday when everyone gets in for free
The Texas Crab Festival has not yet been impacted.
This springtime festival promises something just a little different: Music, arts, and… crabs! Crystal Beach, on the Texas Gulf shore, celebrates Mothers Day in style with a three-day-weekend-long festival devoted to one of the Gulf of Mexico’s tastiest denizens. It just so happens that Mothers Day is also soft-shell crab season!
There’s more to do than cracking claws, though: live music, an RV show, carnival rides, a 5K run, a Gumbo Cookkoff, and yes, artsy stuff, too. But really, you – and thousands of your new best friends – will be there for the crabs! Which has earned the Texas Crab Festival a place on USA Today’s “10 Best Festivals to Dive Into,” and an appearance on Food Network’s “Eating America with Anthony Anderson.”
By The Way The Texas Crab Festival is a non-profit. After paying for festival expenses, all proceeds help fund youth scholarships and camps, local schools, and volunteer fire departments. Helping a good cause has never been so much fun!
Crystal Beach is located on the Bolivar Peninsula, south of Houston. The easiest way to get there requires driving to Galveston Island, and taking the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry. If you happen to be road tripping from east of Houston, it’s easiest to exit Interstate 10 at Winnie, and take Highway 124 down to the shore, turn right and keep going. If you’re flying into Houston, Crystal Beach is about 60 miles from central Houston taking the ferry route, or 100 miles taking the long, land-locked way around via Highway 124.
Are You “Festivaled Out”?
How many festivals is too many? Trick question! We can never get enough. How about you? What festivals do you enjoy attending, springtime or any time? Let us know in the comments.
We think attending spring festivals in Texas is the perfect way to make the most of the beautiful weather, and recharge from those winter blues. Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to take in some of these fun events. Please let us know if you do, and which ones you like best!
Thanks for coming along for the read!