Day Trips & Beyond: November Events Roundup

Highland Games, Wurstfest, and more

Fall and spring are the reasons we live in Texas, so get out there and live while the weather’s beautiful. Find a chili cook-off, film festival, or musical show that meets your tastes this November.

Cowboy boots and Scottish kilts are fashionable family attire when the Texas Scottish clans come together for a weekend of music, food, and fun in Salado. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

In the 1830s, Sterling C. Robertson persuaded more than 600 families to come to colonize a swath of Texas running 100 miles wide and stretching 200 miles northeast up the Brazos River covering what would become 30 present-day counties. In the midst of this sea of grassland was a colony of Scottish families around what became the settlement of Salado. Since 1960, the descendants of these early pioneers have called Scottish Texans to their village to celebrate the annual Scottish Gathering and Highland Games. The largest gathering of the clans in Texas honors the traditions and history of Scotland over three days with bagpipe and drum bands, sporting events, dancing, music, and food.
Nov. 10-12, Scottish Gathering & Highland Games, Salado, 254/947-5232,

Houston-raised Sam Wainwright Douglas’ latest film, Through the Repellent Fence, follows the art collective group Postcommodity as they construct a two-mile-long outdoor artwork that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border and is one of the films showing at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival. (Photo courtesy Houston Cinema Arts Festival)

No singular film festival brings more of Houston’s creative talent together than the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival. From hip-hop to Singin’ in the Rain, comedies to documentaries, the festival captures the indomitable artistic energy of the Bayou City. This is a regional film festival with truly a local focus and an international sensibility.
Nov. 9-13, Houston Cinema Arts Festival, Houston, 713/429-0420,

Travel Notes:

Next year Wimberley’s Blue Hole Regional Park, one of the best swimming holes in Texas, will go to an online reservation service. The scenic, tree-lined recreation area is in danger of being loved too much. According to The Wimberley View, usage of the park increased 20% last year over the previous year. When the 126-acre park along Cypress Creek reaches its capacity of 250 swimmers, the gates are closed until someone leaves. “The overcrowded park we are having right now is leading to staff being treated very unfairly,” Becca Manning, Wimberley parks director, told the local newspaper. “We hire a lot of 16- and 17-year-old kids …. They get cussed at, bribed and yelled at. We’ve had staff in tears at the office because they are emotionally drained ….” Bribed? The new online reservation system begins March 1, 2018. Visitors can choose between 9am to 1pm or 2pm to 6pm time slots. Along with the reservation system, swimmers will see an increase in the admission fee.

November is the time to get ready for next spring’s wildflower season. Whether you’re seeding your yard or a favorite scenic location in the country, the best time to sow wildflower seeds is between Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, with best results if they are planted no later than mid-November.

Who doesn’t love a good festival wrapped around sausage and beer? Wurstfest, Nov. 3-12 in New Braunfels, is one of the best. Don’t let the fun of polkas and beer steins get the best of you – get a ride to and from the party. Twisted Texas Tours is offering bus transportation and admission to the festival for $49 per person. Much cheaper and a lot more fun than a visit to the justice of the peace.

To see San Antonio in an entirely different light, head down to the after-dark arts festival at Hemisfair Park. Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival, Nov. 10-11, fills the indoor and outdoor spaces with innovative and inspiring work by an international roster of artists. The edgy art show is free on Friday night from 7pm to midnight, with ticketed events on Saturday. There is also a Southtown Arts Festival on Saturday afternoon featuring some of the artists in Luminaria.

Other November Events:

International Chili Championships
Nov. 1-4, Terlingua, or

Open House at La Presidio La Bahia
Nov. 2, Goliad,

Rockport Film Festival
Nov. 2-4, Rockport,

Lone Star Motorcycle Rally
Nov. 2-5, Galveston,

Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards
Nov. 2-5, Jefferson,

Nov. 3-12, New Braunfels,

Public Observatory Viewing
Nov. 4, Georgetown,

National Bison Day
Nov. 4, Lubbock,

Nov. 4-5, George West,

Hidden Dallas Tour
Nov. 4, 12, 18, Dallas,

East Texas Pipe Organ Festival
Nov. 6, Kilgore,

Planetarium Show
Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28, Clute,

Lone Star Film Festival
Nov. 8-12, Fort Worth,

Texana Chili Spill
Nov. 9-11, Edna,

Texas All Star Big Band Bash
Nov. 9-11, Fredericksburg,

Luminaria Arts Festival
Nov. 10-11, San Antonio,

Spinach Festival
Nov. 10-12, Crystal City,

Scottish Gathering and Highland Games
Nov. 10-12, Salado,

Lumberjack Harley Fall Wine, Whiskey and Brew Tour
Nov. 11, Nacogdoches,

An Evening With Sophia Loren
Nov. 12, Galveston,

Reel East Texas Film Festival
Nov. 16-18, Kilgore,

“The Wall That Heals”
Nov. 16-19, San Angelo,

Winter Wonderland
Nov. 17-18, Wimberley,

Nov. 17-19, New Braunfels,

Holiday Lighted Parade and Courthouse Lighting Ceremony
Nov. 18, Kerrville,

Night in Old Pearl City
Nov. 18, Pearl City/Yoakum,

Via Colori Street Painting Festival
Nov. 18-19, Houston,

Parade of Lights
Nov. 19, Fort Worth,

Whistle-Stop Christmas
Nov. 20-Dec. 31, Cleburne,

Thanksgiving Day Parade
Nov. 23, Houston,

Christmas Extravaganza
Nov. 23-Jan. 4, San Saba,

Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree and German Pyramid
Nov. 24, Fredericksburg,

Dickens on Main
Nov. 24-25, Boerne,

Chicken Farm Art Center Open House
Nov. 24-26, San Angelo,

A Wonderland Christmas
Nov. 24-Dec. 23, San Antonio,

River of Lights
Nov. 24-Dec. 31, Bastrop,

Holiday Lights at Loy Lake
Nov. 24-Dec. 31, Denison,

Eisbahn Outdoor Ice Skating
Nov. 24-Jan.2, Fredericksburg,

Christmas on the Square
Nov. 25, Leakey,

Holiday Cookie Decorating and German Traditions
Nov. 25, Stonewall,

Trail of Lights
Nov. 25-Dec. 28, Wimberley,

Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza
Nov. 26-Dec. 1, San Antonio,

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.

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