If there’s one thing we love above anything else in Texas, it’s food. We know it’s worth celebrating and take advantage of every opportunity to do just that. Now that the weather’s warming up, all kinds of food festivals will start popping up all over the state – but you can find plenty year-round as well. If you love trying new foods (or just love being surrounded by copious amounts of your old favorites), here are some food festivals in Texas to add to your bucket list.
1. CASI Terlingua International Chili Cook-Off (Terlingua)
Chili is one of the most iconic foods in Texas. Something about the combination of tender meat, hearty tomato sauce, and rich sour cream just screams Southern comfort. We all have our own secret family recipes that we swear rival any other in the state - and the first Saturday of November, you can put that to the test, as well as try hundreds of other self-proclaimed "winning" recipes from people all across Texas.
2. Wurstfest (New Braunfels)
Another food you love if you're from Texas is sausage. Well, meat in general, really, but biting into a juicy hunk of sausage is a particularly satisfying experience. For 10 days in early November, you can enjoy this "Salute to Sausage" complete with German music and dance, carnival rides and games, and German and Texan beer - all while surrounded by the beautiful Comal River. You can't miss it!
3. Zest Fest (Irving)
Can you take the heat? We're known for our love of all things spicy here in Texas, and Zest Fest is your chance to test just how deep that love runs. Every January, creators of the spiciest products in Texas come to show off their masterpieces. There are demos by celebrity chefs and thousands of sizzling food samples that make it the festival the hottest weekend of the year in Texas despite it being held in the middle of winter.
4. Brazos Valley Cajun Fest (Bryan)
This may not be Louisiana, but you won't know any better after trying some gumbo or jambalaya at this festiva in early March. And you'd better come hungry - there'll be vendors lined up as far as the eye can see trying to win you over with their recipes so they can be crowned winner of the cook-off.
5. Texas State Fair (Dallas)
Fried everything. 'Nuff said.
6. Kemah Crawfish Festival (Kemah)
Few things are as beautiful as an endless pile of crawfish, buttery corn, and plump new potatoes. It's sold by the pound at this annual festival in early April to satisfy every hearty Texas appetite.
7. Texas Steak Cookoff (Hico)
If you like steak (of course you do, this is Texas), then pay close attention, because this festival is coming up next month! It's the biggest steak cookoff in the Southwest United States - so big that Texas Monthly and even the Food Network are talking about it. You'll get to sample countless steaks from chefs who gave their all to wow your taste buds, and you'll have the honor of helping decide who takes home the grand prize.
8. Texas Renaissance Festival (Todd Mission)
Ren Fest is every foodie's dream. Stroll around and sample foods from every country's days of old. You'll truly feel like you've stepped back into medieval times as you gnaw on a leg of mutton while watching a jousting match.
9. Chisholm Trail Roundup (Lockhart)
CALLING ALL BARBECUE LOVERS! (AKA the entire population of Texas.) What better place to hold a BBQ Cookoff than the BBQ capital of the state? Head over to Lockhart June 3 & 4 to try some of the most delicious barbecue on earth, vote for your favorites, and enjoy live music AND a rodeo while you're at it! A perfect summer day, no doubt.
10. Westfest (West)
The diversity of Texas will never cease to amaze me. We even have a Czech community in the town of West! Every Labor Day weekend, they host the annual Westfest, an event full of live music, polka dancing, parades, and (of course) the glorious kolaches that the Czechs so kindly graced us with when they immigrated.
Have you ever been to any of these food festivals? Would you like to visit any of them this year?