Day Trips & Beyond: January Events Roundup

Happenings, news, and more

Ring in the new year by getting outside the Austin city limits.

Photo Courtesy of Phillip Gould

Courir de Mardi Gras, Southwest Louisiana, Jan. 29-Feb. 9

Carnival time in Acadiana means a Cajun Mardi Gras that roughly translates as “the run of the Mardi Gras.” Instead of a parade in which gifts are tossed to onlookers, in this Mardi Gras tradition, the participants themselves become the beggars looking for gumbo ingredients. Rural communities like Mamou, Elton, Church Point, Basile, and Eunice have their own Courir de Mardi Gras traditions each with their own twist. Visitors are welcome to partake in the community pot of gumbo and an evening of dancing. See for more info.

Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Spindletop Drillers Reunion, Beaumont, Jan. 9, 10am-4pm

Before Jan. 10, 1901, Beaumont was a sleepy little port town that catered to the East Texas lumber industry. On that day 115 years ago, Anthony Lucas hit an oil gusher about six miles outside of town that would usher in the age of petroleum for the Texas economy. Everything changed when oil, mud, and sand blew 100 feet into the air and the modern petroleum industry was born.

Today, Gladys City, the settlement closest to the Lucas well, is a historic village with shops much like they might have appeared more than a hundred years ago. On Saturday, Jan. 9, the park celebrates the anniversary of the gusher with family activities, contests, reenactments, craft demonstrations, lunch on the grounds, and then they will blow the gusher (using water). See for more info.

Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Grand Opening of Independence Plaza, Space Center Houston, Jan. 23

Independence Plaza at Space Center Houston will offer a unique space shuttle experience when it debuts on Jan. 23. Visitors will enter the shuttle replica Independence, mounted on top of the historic and original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA), and then explore the interior of the giant plane. It will be the world’s only shuttle mounted on an SCA and the only display allowing the public to enter both. See for more info.

Other January Events

Jerry Jeff Walker Concert
Jan. 2, the Grand 1894 Opera House, Galveston, 409/765-1894,

Sam Rayburn Day Celebration
Jan. 9, Bonham, 903/583-5558,

Music and Art Expo by Red River Revue Center for the Arts
Jan. 9, Clarksville, 903/739-0659,

Texas Prime Women’s Gymnastics Meet
Jan. 15-17, Irving,

Martin Luther King Jr. March
Jan. 18, San Antonio,

Washington’s Birthday Celebration
Jan. 21-Feb. 22, Laredo, 956/722-0589,

Taste of the Town
Jan. 28, The Woodlands, 281/367-5777,

Mardi Gras
Jan. 29-Feb. 9, Galveston,

Red River Mardi Gras and Jazz Festival
Jan. 29-30, Sherman, 903/816/2811,

A Taste of New Orleans Mardi Gras Celebration
Jan. 30, Palestine, 903/723-3014,

Gerald McLeod has been traveling around Texas and beyond for his "Day Trips" column for the past 24 years. Keep up to date with his journeys on his archive page. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 40312, South Austin, TX 78704.

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Day Trips & Beyond: January Events Roundup
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Gerald E. McLeod, Jan. 6, 2022

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Day Trips, NASA, Mardis Gras, Beaumont

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