Day Trips & Beyond: August Events Roundup

Texas fun is heating up with grape stomps, outlaw festivals, and rodeos

It’s harvest time in vineyards around the state, and that means there are grapes that need to be stomped. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

For the 394 wineries in Texas, the 2018 crop is looking like a banner year for the wine grape industry. Producers are looking to surpass last year’s record 1.8 million cases of wine. With the optimistic outlook for this year’s harvest, several wineries are inviting visitors to come out and experience the ancient art of grape stomping. Tips for grape stomping: Most wineries require a reservation to participate, wear slip-on shoes or sandals, bring bug spray, dress to get sweaty and dirty, and be prepared to have a really good time. Check out the grape stomping events at these wineries:

The historic Concordia Cemetery is the final resting place of John Wesley Hardin and many other El Paso pioneers. The boot hill opens daily to visitors from dawn to dusk. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

The notorious outlaw John Wesley Hardin was known as a hard man. He reputedly put the first notch on his six shooter at age 15. He claimed to have killed 42 men before he fell victim to the business end of revolver. After paying his debt to society with 25 years in the state penitentiary, Hardin moved to El Paso a changed man with a law license and his quick temper intact. On Aug. 19, 1895, Constable John Selman entered the Acme Saloon in El Paso and shot Hardin in the back. The John Wesley Hardin “Secret Society” commemorates Hardin’s life and death with reenactments of that fateful day, a graveside ceremony, toasts to the outlaw, and cemetery ghost tours.
Sat., Aug. 18, 6-9pm, Annual Meeting of the John Wesley Hardin “Secret Society,” Concordia Cemetery, El Paso, 915/581-7920, www.concordiacemetery.org.

Travel Notes:

August is the best time of the year to wish upon a shooting star. The Perseid meteor shower is predicted to peak between August 11 and 13. The annual event will happen during a waxing crescent moon making for a dark sky. While the best viewing time will be in the predawn hours, there is a good chance you’ll spot a meteor any time after the sun goes down and the moon sets in the weeks leading up to the peak.

For more than three decades the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architecture has persuaded their members and others to make the trip to East Beach in Galveston to test their skills at making sandcastles. Sculptures in the AIA Sandcastle Competition on August 25 are judged on their originality, execution, technical difficulty, and techniques.

I’ve often thought that the big empty lot next the Saint Arnold Brewery in Houston would make a great softball field for Houston vs. Austin tournaments. What better place to play softball than next to a brewery? Instead the state’s oldest continuously operated craft brewer decided to open a large beer garden and restaurant. According to the brewery’s social media announcement, the new meeting space does not replace the indoor beer hall (open on Saturdays), and “combine[s] beer, food, architecture, art, and a view of downtown to create a destination...” The beer garden opens daily 11am to 10pm, 11pm on weekends. While you’re there, don’t forget that tours happen every day at 1, 3, 5, and 7pm.

Here’s a twist on craft beer tourism: Ales to Rails on the Verde Canyon Railroad. The four-hour scenic train ride through the wilderness outside of Sedona, Ariz., will feature locally made beers in the train’s bar car from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31. You could call it a rolling Oktoberfest.

The Star of the Republic Museum has added a new thrill to learning Texas history. This summer the Washington-on-the-Brazos Historic Site museum has added a “Runaway Scrape Escape.” The escape room will challenge groups to solve a series of logic games based on historic events to “unlock” the door ahead of Santa Anna's approaching army. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ups will be accommodated as space allows.

August 15 is National Relaxation Day. A good excuse to take a mental health day and a day trip.

Other August Events:

XIT Rodeo & Reunion
Aug. 2-4, Dalhart, www.xit-rodeo.com

Shakespeare at Winedale
Aug. 2-5, 9-12, Round Top, www.shakespeare-winedale.org

Hill Country Rally for Kids Barbecue Kickoff
Aug. 3-4, Driftwood, www.hcrally.com/bbq-cookoff

Schulenburg Festival
Aug. 3-5, Schulenburg, www.schulenburgfestival.org

Lone Star Gourd Festival
Aug. 3-5, New Braunfels, www.texasgourdsociety.org

Texas Ranger Day
Aug. 4, Fredericksburg, www.trhc.org

Neches Wilderness Canoe Race
Aug. 4, Palestine, www.necheswildernessrace.com

“Salado Legends”
Aug. 4, Salado, www.tablerock.org

Harvest Festival
Aug. 4, 11, 18, Bryan, www.messinahof.com

Crush for Fun
Aug. 4-5, 11-12, Brenham, www.pleasanthillwinery.com

Grape Stomp 2018
Aug. 4, 11, New Braunfels, www.drycomalcreekvineyards.com

Live Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing
Aug. 7-8, 25-26, Fredericksburg, www.gillespiefair.com

De Leon Peach & Melon Festival
Aug. 7-11, De Leon, www.peachandmelonfestival.net

Gallup Native Arts Market
Aug. 9-11, Gallup, N.M., www.gallupnativeartsmarket.org

El Camino Real de SUP
Aug. 11, Bastrop, www.bastropsup.com

Harvest Fiesta & Grape Stomp
Aug. 11, Burleson, www.lostoakwinery.com

Asia Society Texas Center Architecture Tours
Aug. 11, Houston, www.asiasociety.org/texas/events/architecture-tour-62

Victoria Faire
Aug. 11-12, Victoria, www.texasmarketguide.com

Grape Stomp at Pedernales Cellars
Aug. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, Stonewall, www.pedernalescellars.com

India’s 72nd Independence Day Celebration
Aug. 15, Irving, www.mgmnt.org

Prazka Pout Picnic
Aug. 15, Praha, www.stmaryspraha.org

Cherry on Top
Aug. 16-19, Marfa, www.cherrycult.org

Highland Village Balloon Festival
Aug. 17-19, Highland Village, www.lionsballoonfest.com

Fayette County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo
Aug. 17-18, La Grange, www.visitlagrangetx.com

North Texas Fair & Rodeo
Aug. 17-25, Denton, www.ntfair.com

Smokey the Bear’s Birthday Party
Aug. 18, Beaumont, www.fmotassn.com

John Wesley Hardin “Secret Society” Annual Meeting
Aug. 18, El Paso, www.concordiacemetery.org

Come and Taste It
Aug. 18, Gruene, www.grapevineingruene.com

Living History Saturday
Aug. 18, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, Brenham, www.wheretexasbecametexas.org

Grape Punch
Aug. 18-19, 25-26, Hye, www.williamchriswines.com

Gillespie County Fair
Aug. 23-26, Fredericksburg, www.gillespiefair.com

Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred
Aug. 23-26, Wichita Falls, www.hh100.org

Harvest Festival
Aug. 24-25, Fredericksburg, www.messinahof.com

Annual Grape Stomp
Aug. 25-26, Sept. 1-2, Stonewall, www.beckervineyards.com

Margarita & Salsa Festival
Aug. 25, Waco, www.margaritasalsa.com

Texas Rose Horse Breed Show
Aug. 25-26, Tyler, www.texasrosehorsepark.com

AIA Sandcastle Competition
Aug. 25, Galveston, www.aiahouston.org

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 110th Birthday
Aug. 27, Stonewall, www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/lyndon-b-johnson

Oatmeal Festival
Aug. 31-Sept. 1, Bertram, www.oatmealfestival.org

Kerrville Fall Music Festival
Aug. 31-Sept. 1, Kerrville, www.kerrvillefolkfestival.org

Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival
Aug. 31-Sept. 2, Galveston, www.brewmastersbeerfest.com


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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Day Trips, grape stomps, John Wesley Hardin, AIA Sandcastle Competition, Saint Arnold Brewery, Ales to Rails, Star of the Republic Museum, escape rooms

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