November Festivals: Top 10 Texas events to check out

By: Mauri Elbel
November, 2021

November is blowing in a bounty of festivals celebrating everything from sausage and chili to holiday lights and hot rods across the Lone Star State. Here are 10 towns deserving of a day trip.

San Antonio

Through Nov. 2: Commemorate Day of the Dead in San Antonio by participating in the largest Día de los Muertos celebration in the United States. Día de los Muertos is a tradition-filled day during which families remember the departed and share memories of loved ones to celebrate their lives. San Antonio boasts more than 10 unique events spanning traditional dressed altars, virtual festivals, live music and a floating procession to celebrate the rich culture of these historic traditions. More at: https://www.visitsanantonio.com/dia-de-los-muertos/

Día de los Muertos celebration returns to Garland this year. Contributed

Garland

Nov. 1: Día de los Muertos celebration returns to Garland’s downtown square with a free family-friendly festival featuring talented young mariachis and folklorico dancers from Garland schools along with traditional altars, food and crafts. After last year’s hiatus, Garland brings back this public celebration that transforms the city’s historic downtown square with color and music. Expect traditional marigold and papel picado-bedecked altars, calavera (sugar skull) face painting, other crafts, festive foods and drinks like tamales and mangonadas, and a free screening of the Disney/Pixar film “Coco.” More at https://www.garlandtx.gov/3658/Dia-de-los-Muertos

Chili is serious business at the 54th Frank X. Tolbert and Wick Fowler International Championship Chili Cook-Off and BBQ. Photo by Rick Harral

Terlingua

Nov. 3-6: Celebrating chili is a big thing in tiny Terlingua especially when the 54th Frank X. Tolbert and Wick Fowler International Championship Chili Cook-Off and BBQ unfolds. Make the trek to West Texas for the granddaddy of all chili cookoffs, simmering with four days of live music featuring artists like Gary P. Nunn, Mike and the Moonpies and Thomas Michael Riley, cook-offs spanning chili to barbecue, a margarita mix-off, a salsa contest, an art show and more. More at abowlofred.com.

Horseshoe Bay

Nov. 5-6: Horseshoe Bay Resort’s 16th annual Wine, Dine & Jazz Festival returns this month to this golf and lakeside resort. Foodies, jazz aficionados and wine enthusiasts will gather at one of the resort’s most anticipated annual events, and will experience the genius of celebrity chefs, jazz artists and creative culinary meals throughout the weekend. The fun starts Friday night with a seated five-course dinner and wine pairing. On Saturday, enjoy celebrity chef cooking demonstrations followed by the Wine Stroll featuring Texas Hill Country wineries and bites from some of the region’s most notable chefs and restaurants. Find package information and more at https://www.hsbresort.com/wine-dine-and-jazz

Wurstfest takes place for 10 days in Nov. Credit Wurstfest

New Braunfels

Nov. 5-14: Sprechen sie fun? Head to Wurstfest for its annual “10-day salute to sausage” where you can fill up on all of the German food, beer, music and dancing you can handle. The festive celebration brings the finest in Alpine- and Bavarian-style entertainment to the Wurstfest Grounds in Landa Park. Tickets are $18 online, $20 at the gate and free Monday through Thursday and for children 12 and younger. More at wurstfest.com.

Rockport

Nov. 11-15: The Rockport Film Festival takes place the second weekend of November, when the Texas days are warm and the nights are cool, bringing the best of Independent cinema to the Texas Coast while giving back. The event kicks off with a Red Carpet event on Thursday and films screen all day Friday and Saturday. Single film block tickets are $10 each, Red Carpet party tickets are $50 and VIP Passes are $100. More at www.rockportfilmfestival.org

RELATED: Texas Beach Guide

Car fans should head to Bastrop Area Cruisers’ 15th Annual Heroes and Hotrods Veterans Weekend Car Show. Contributed

Bastrop

Nov. 12-13: Make a beeline to the Bastrop Area Cruisers’ 15th Annual “Heroes & Hotrods” Veterans Weekend Car Show. Expect to see classic street rods and flashy muscle cars, a Veterans march and tribute ceremony, awards, live entertainment, kids’ activities and more. The cruise-in starts at 4 p.m. Friday and the car show takes place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. More at www.bastropareacruisers.com.

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Cleburne

Nov. 12-13: Step back in time at Cleburne’s 18th annual Pioneer Days Celebration honoring the history of Texas, Cleburne and the Chisholm Trail with two days of family friendly fun and education. The event will feature period attire and entertainment, Wild West gunslingers, chuck wagon cooking demos, cowboy poetry, horse-drawn carriage and hayrides, kids’ activities, live music, food vendors on the grounds of the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum. Admission to the event (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days) is $8 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under (strollers free). More at https://imgoingcalendar.com/CleburneTX/event-details/60268bdf3707102ad209e36c

Marble Falls Walkway of Lights begins this month. Contributed

Marble Falls

Nov. 19-Jan. 1: The Marble Falls Walkway of Lights is one of the biggest holiday events in the Highland Lakes every year. Two million lights on more than 350 lighted sculptures illuminate Lakeside Park beginning each year in November. Walkway of Lights runs 6-10 p.m. each day through the season, weather permitting, all kicking off with the Light-Up Parade at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 along Main Street. The Walkway of Lights is free to the public, and on weekends and holidays — including Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve — children can visit with Santa and his elves. More at https://visitmarblefalls.org/event/walkway

Fort Worth

Nov. 21: The Parade of Lights illuminates the streets of downtown Fort Worth, and this year’s theme “Making Spirits Bright” parade marks the 39th year as the city’s official kick-off to the holiday season. Expect more than 100 festive floats adorned with holiday decor and over half a million sparkling lights. What began in 1983 with a crowd of only 25,000 spectators and 25 floats has grown to become Fort Worth’s most beloved holiday tradition and Texas’ largest illuminated holiday procession. More at https://www.fortworthparadeoflights.org/

If You Go

Getting there:

San Antonio is 1.5 hours from Austin.

Garland is 3.5 hours from Austin.

Terlingua is 7.5 hours from Austin. 

Horseshoe Bay is 1.5 hours from Austin.

New Braunfels is 50 minutes from Austin. 

Rockport is 3 hours from Austin.

Bastrop is 40 minutes from Austin.

Cleburne is 2.5 hours from Austin.

Marble Falls is 1 hour from Austin. 

Fort Worth is 3 hours from Austin.

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