From rodeos to revelry, here are Austin Travels’ top picks for the 10 Texas festivals worth the trip this February.
Feb. 9-11: Bandera may be known as the Cowboy Capital of the World, but this February, it will take on a Cajun twist during the annual Cowboy Mardi Gras. Expect boots and beads, horses and feathers, Zydeco and honky tonk over the course of three days as revelers partake in the festive fusion of food, fun and frivolity. Home base is the 11th Street Cowboy Bar, which will host several live concerts with Zydeco music and more. The festivities also include a gumbo cookoff, pet and human Mardi Gras costume contests, and one of the most colorful and unusual Mardi Gras parades west of NOLA. Purchase tickets and find out more at banderacowboycapital.com.
Feb. 9-26: Since 1949, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has become one of the largest, most prestigious single events in the city. Expect everything from animals and agriculture to family entertainment including a carnival, petting zoo and pony rides in addition to 18 days of rodeo. The concert lineup includes Ryan Bingham, Jake Owen, Keith Urban, Carly Pearce and more taking the stage each night at the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum fairgrounds. More at sarodeo.com.
Feb. 10-21: Bead there for the largest Mardi Gras celebration in Texas––the 112th celebration of Mardi Gras! Galveston. More than 3 million beads will be thrown at Mardi Gras! Galveston where revelers can expect elaborate parades, headliner performances, family events, feasting, balcony parties and Mardi Gras island-style festivities. The bulk of Mardi Gras festivities take place in Galveston’s historic downtown in the Mardi Gras Entertainment District, with activities running in the area bordered by 20th to 25th Streets and Harborside Drive to Mechanic Street. Many parades and events also take place along the beachfront on Seawall Boulevard between 25th Street and 57th Street. More at www.mardigrasgalveston.com.
Feb. 10-11: “Get Back to the Basics of Love” at Luckenbach’s 48th annual Hug-In and Valentine Ball. On Friday night, Weldon Henson & The Broken Spokes take the stage from 8 to 11 p.m. Gary P. Nunn and Summer Dean hold court from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday for the Valentine Ball. Purchase tickets and find out more at www.luckenbachtexas.com.
Feb. 15-19: OUTsider, one of Austin’s most progressive festivals, brings together Austin’s LGBTQ community for three days of creation and inspiration. OUTsider –– an Austin-based transmedia nonprofit organization that celebrates the originality and creative nonconformity of LGBTQ+ communities through provocative, and overlooked film, dance, theater, performance art, music, writing and visual art –– unites queer artists, audiences and scholars from around the globe to exchange ideas, ignite conversations, transcend boundaries and experience new pleasures through artistic discovery. More at outsiderfest.org.
Feb. 16-19: Dreaming of traveling in your very own RV? The 2023 Austin RV, Central Texas’ premier RV showcase, rolls into the Austin Convention Center this month. Expect entertainment for the entire family, 250,000 square feet of RVs and RV accessories, informative seminars and live music. Attendees will appreciate the ease of viewing hundreds of RVs under one roof, giving them the chance to explore and compare what each manufacturer and dealer have to offer –– including seven of the Austin area’s most reputable dealers showcasing their best deals of the year on fifth wheels, toy haulers, travel trailers, teardrop trailers, truck campers and motorhomes. More at https://www.austinrvexpo.com/.
Feb. 16-19: Let the good times roll in Beaumont at Mardi Gras Southeast Texas. Themed “Carnival Nights and Midway Lights,” this festive celebration brings entertainment in the form of parades, concerts with headliners including LT & The Zydeco Mob, Uncle Kracker, Paul Wall and Tropa Estrella as well as carnival rides, Cajun food and more. The fun unfolds in downtown Beaumont, and you can purchase tickets and find out more at www.mardigrastx.com.
Feb. 18: Barefoot Mardi Gras captures the great spirit of Island life in the Gulf Coast Capital. Let the good times roll with this annual Mardi Gras celebration featuring everything from a beach parade beginning at 11 a.m. to the King and Queen’s Ball. Learn more at https://www.visitcorpuschristi.com/event/barefoot-mardi-gras-parade-2023/896/.
Feb. 18-25: The 86th Annual Charro Days Fiesta has celebrated the unity of bi-national cultures and traditions since 1938. Expect a festive mix of parades, live music, fiesta dances, a thrilling Charros Days carnival, a costume ball, food and fun to celebrate the spirit of two cultures between the border towns of Brownsville and Matamoros. More at www.charrodaysfiesta.com.
Feb. 23-26: The 26th annual Whooping Crane Festival is a one-of-a-kind event focused on the Whooping Crane –– the rarest of cranes and one of the most endangered birds in the world. The Texas Coastal Bend is the only place where you can see the world’s last naturally occurring population of Whooping Cranes during their annual return to their wintering habitat at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The four-day event will feature renowned speakers, birding trips, boating trips, nature tours, photography workshops, a trade show and much more. More at www.whoopingcranefestival.org.