It’s a clear sign that fall has arrived when you start to see your Memorial neighbors spending more time outdoors. Besides the cooler temperatures and the rich shades of orange and gold creeping into our fall foliage (in our decorations, at least!), the pumpkins are the final telltale sign. You’ll find thousands of the gorgeous gourds covering the grounds of the Memorial Drive United Methodist Church the whole month of October. But the annual pumpkin patch is more than just visually appealing; it’s also the largest fundraiser for the church youth group.
Along with the arrival of pumpkins, comes the arrival of festivals—a lot of them! Here are a few festivals that may be a little out of the way, but are well worth the trip.
Texas history buffs will love the Come and Take It Festival that celebrates the firing of the first shot of the Texas Revolution on October 2, 1835, which happened near Gonzales. The festival takes place in downtown Gonzales the first weekend in October. For more information, call 1-888-672-1095 or go to www.gonzalestexas.com.
Nothing says fall like clogging and German food. You’ll find this and more at DeutschesFest in Tomball on October 8. Clogging performances, music, games, rides, food, and arts and crafts are all put on by the Salem Lutheran School. For more information, call 281-290-1257.
More than 50,000 people will be expressing their affection for a time-honored grain at the Katy Rice Harvest Festival on October 7 and 8. Among the featured competitions is a rice cook-off along with plenty of chefs showcasing their sometimes secret, and always delicious recipes. For more information, call 281-828-1100.
Catfish lovers won’t want to miss the Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival that kicks off October 13. A stellar line of musicians and a variety of Cajun cuisine helps draw a crowd of 40,000 to this three-day festival that takes over downtown Conroe. For additional information, call 1-800-324-2604 or go to www.conroecajunfestival.com.
A short trip to Chappell Hill is sure to enchant you at the Scarecrow Festival October 14 and 15. Discover the magical land of scarecrows, along with a huge pumpkin patch, live music, food, and more than 250 craft booths. For more information, call 1-888-BRENHAM or go to www.chappellhillmuseum.org.
If music is what you’re in the mood for, head west to San Antonio for a smorgasbord of squeezebox sounds. Musicians playing Polish polkas, Cajun zydeco, and Mexican conjunto will be ripping up the River City at the free International Accordion Festival on October 13 through 15. For more information, call 210-573-6984 or go to www.internationalaccordionfestival.org.
You don’t have to go all the way to New Braunfels for German beer and polka music. For 25 years, Galveston Island has held its own version of Oktoberfest in the historic downtown district. Flip-flops are optional at this “oompah” party, although attendees are encouraged to dress in authentic German costume. The Island Oktoberfest takes place at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church on October 28. Call 409-762-8477 for more information.
A classy celebration of autumn is just a 30-minute drive from Houston. The South Shore Dockside Food and Wine Festival takes place on October 28. The upscale event takes place at the South Shore Harbour Resort and Marina and promises to provide a pleasurable payoff. Enjoy wine tasting, culinary demonstrations, luxury yacht displays, and live music. For more information, call 281-334-4900 or go to www.southshorefestival.com.
This fall you can easily add one of Oprah’s favorite things to your list of seasonal must-dos. It’s not too far of a drive up to the small East Texas town of Golden for the annual Sweet Potato Festival. Folks come from all over the country to join in the festivities that started back in 1982. Oprah was so convinced that the Golden sweet potatoes were the best she’d ever had, she highlighted the festival during her Best of Everything show in 2004. You’ll find the festivities underway in Wood County the weekend of October 28. For more information, call 903-765-2444.
After a short drive to Pasadena, you can try your hand at basket weaving or rope making. The Martyn Farm Fall Festival at the Armand Bayou Nature Center recreates the old-fashioned sights and sounds of early 20th-century farm life. Aside from music, food, and crafts, children will enjoy farm animals, wagon rides, and playing 1900-era games. The 25th annual festival takes place November 11 and 12. For more information, call 281-474-2551 or go to www.abnc.org.
As the poet Robert Frost said best, “Nothing gold can stay.” Say goodbye to extreme humidity, bathing suits, and the indoors. It’s time to grab your favorite sweater and embrace autumn.