Day Trips & Beyond: April Events Roundup

Seize the day ... trip

April showers bring lots of wildflowers and mean the beginning of the festival season in Texas. If you haven’t yet attended one of these iconic events, don’t wait another year.

There’s no telling what kind of artful contraption will make an appearance at this year’s Art Car Parade in Houston. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world. The legendary Houston Art Car Parade has spawned many imitators, but the original is still the best. The four days of festivities begins Thu., April 6, with the parade through downtown on Saturday and the awards show on Sunday. The legendary Cheech Marin makes an appearance as Grand Marshal. The parade to silliness began in 1988 with 40 wheeled objects and now attracts more than 250 vehicles from around the U.S. and foreign countries with around 250,000 spectators. You could be one of them.

April 6-9, Art Car Parade, Houston,

Jousting, jesters, artisans, and turkey legs are a part of the 37th Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie. (Photo Courtesy of Scarborough Renaissance Festival)

Step back in time to the days of Merry Olde England re-created on the Texas plains at Scarborough Renaissance Festival on Saturdays and Sundays, April 8 through May 29, plus Memorial Day Monday. One of the oldest and largest Renaissance festivals in the nation, SRF has expanded its entertainment and food options. This is a fun event for all ages with different themes and special events each weekend.

April 8-May 29, weekends, Scarborough Renaissance Festival, Waxahachie,

Travel Notes:

Join Samantha Brown at Gruene Hall for a special filming of PBS’s Places to Love on Thu., April 6, 6-10pm. They need dancers to fill the dance floor as Hot Club of Cowtown provides the tunes for the nationally televised show. There is limited capacity, so get there early for the free show. For more information, go to

Immerse yourself, family, and friends in a full day at the world-famous Ewing Mansion and Southfork Ranch. The new “Day at the Ranch” package includes a horse-riding program, trail ride, tours of the grounds and mansion featured on the Dallas TV show, and lunch. Reservations are required and can be made at 972/442-7800 x215,, or

Explore the world of the African lion with Dr. Craig Packer, director of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota, speaking at the Science Mill in Johnson City. On Sat., April 29, 3:30pm, Dr. Packer will discuss his new book Lions in Balance and his research on these dangerous and endangered animals. For tickets, go to

Look for the large acrylic boot receptacles at retailers and dance halls around the state to place the red or blue pull tabs from your cans of Lone Star Beer. For every Lone Star tab collected, the “Tabs for Texas” campaign will donate $1 to Texas Dance Hall Preservation. The nonprofit organization preserves and promotes historic dance halls and hopes to raise $30,000 by April 30.

Sign up now for the lowest prices to participate in the Lantern Fest at South Padre Island on Sept. 22 & 23. Seeing hundreds of lighted lanterns rise into the night sky is an unforgettable spectacle.

Other April Events:

April 6-9, Galveston,

Victoria Independent Film Festival
April 6-9, Victoria,

Steve Martin and Martin Short
April 7, Sugar Land,

Bluebonnet Festival
April 7-9, Burnet,

Strawberry Festival
April 7-9, Poteet,

Cajun Heritage Fest
April 8, Port Arthur,

Runaway Scrape
April 8, Richmond,

Bluebonnet Festival of Texas
April 8-9, Chappell Hill,

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Festival
April 8-9, Eagle Lake,

April 8-9, New Braunfels,

Wildflower Celebration
April 8-23, Fredericksburg,

1947 Disaster Memorial
April 12, Texas City,

Ghosts and Legends Tour
April 14-15, Granbury,

NPS Free Entrance Days
April 15-16, 22-23, National Parks,

Galveston Food and Wine Festival Pre-Events
April 20 & 27, Galveston,

Birdiest Festival in North America
April 20-23, Corpus Christi,

Old Settler’s Music Festival
April 20-23, Driftwood,

Fiesta San Antonio
April 20-30, San Antonio,

Burton Cotton Gin Festival
April 21-22, Burton,

Concours d’Elegance
April 21-23, Arlington,

Founders Day Festival
April 21-23, Dripping Springs,

Texas Rockin’ Seafood Festival
April 21-23, LaMarque,

Balcones Songbird Festival
April 21-23, Marble Falls,

1836 Chuckwagon Race
April 21-23, Palestine,

Texas SandFest
April 21-23, Port Aransas,

Spring Native Plant Sale and Festival
April 22, Kerrville,

San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-Enactment
April 22, LaPorte,

Frontier Day at Fort Concho
April 22, San Angelo,

Rootstock: A Texas Wine Festival
April 22, Waco,

Butterfly Festival
April 22, Wimberley,

A Night in Old San Antonio
April 25-28, San Antonio,

Hill Country Film Festival
April 27-30, Fredericksburg,

Fort Martin Scott Days
April 28-29, Fredericksburg,

Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival
April 28-30, Fredericksburg,

State Championship Barbecue and Goat Cook-Off
April 28-29, Goldthwaite,

Arts and Jazz Festival
April 28-30, Denton,

Red Poppy Festival
April 28-30, Georgetown,

Wiener Dog Races
April 29-30, Buda,

Gerald McLeod has been traveling around Texas and beyond for his "Day Trips" column for more than 25 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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