Day Trips & Beyond: November Events Roundup

Pre-holiday travel tips

Texas celebrates with lots of fun festivals before turning on the Christmas lights at the end of November.

The statewide woodworking competition features handcrafted furniture. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

In its 19th year, the Texas Furniture Makers Show has built a reputation of showcasing remarkable handcrafted art disguised as furniture. The juried show at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center features the work of the best of the best craftsmen from around the state. Some if it is inventive, all of it is beautiful, from dining room tables to rocking chairs and toys you wouldn’t let a child touch. Whether you enjoy art, custom furniture, woodworking, or just appreciate seeing the creativity burnished into each piece, this is one of the most special exhibitions of the year.
Nov. 1-30, Texas Furniture Makers Show, Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, Kerrville, 830/895-2911,

John and Diana Anderson in front of their new chili parlor (Photo courtesy JD’s Chili Parlor)

A loyal following of chili heads have watched JD’s Chili Parlor ascend from a small grocery store in Canyon Lake and stands at local farmers markets to an entrepreneurial incubator in San Antonio with their delicious bowls chili con carne. Diana and John Anderson now have a permanent al fresco location at the LocalSprout Food Hub east of downtown San Antonio. On Friday, Nov. 16, from 5-9pm they will celebrate their grand opening. For $25, guest get a five-course chili tour of the parlor’s most popular dishes. Reputed to be the first chili stand in San Antonio since the famous Chili Queens were ousted from Military Plaza, JD’s Chili Parlor is open for lunch and dinner from 11am to 6pm.
Nov. 16, JD’s Chili Parlor Grand Opening, 503 Chestnut St., San Antonio, 210/573-1092,

Big pots of cowboy coffee are ready for the guests at the King Ranch Hand Breakfast. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

When Capt. Richard King came to Texas to pilot steamboats on the Rio Grande, he probably never envisioned that his name would become linked to the state in such a big way. The King Ranch has a permanent place in the upper echelons of the legend of Texas. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving the ranch invites the public to have a cowboy breakfast at its annual Ranch Hand Breakfast while watching the cowboy and cowgirls perform rodeo tricks, tell stories, and sing a song or two. As part of the annual Ranch Hand Festival in Kingsville, the breakfast is a great time to see parts of the legendary ranch that are usually off limits to visitors.
Nov. 17, Ranch Hand Breakfast, Kingsville, 800/333-5032,

Travel Notes:

The first pair of whooping cranes of the season returned to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Rockport on Oct. 22, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. The tallest birds in North America migrate to and from Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park each fall and spring. The only “natural” flock of whooping cranes numbers around 505 individuals with only 24 chicks fledged this summer. With recent rains increasing the availability of food, the birds have spread out along the coast.

Fall is the best time to plant native Texas wildflowers. The ideal time to plant bluebonnet seeds is between Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 with best results if the seeds are sown no later than mid-November. Planting in fall allows the seeds time to germinate and develop root systems ready for spring flowers. For more information from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, go to

Abilene now claims the title of “Storybook Capital of America.” In 2015, the West Texas town was declared the “Storybook Capital of Texas” by the state Legislature. The new moniker became official when the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office approved the city’s application to trademark the slogan. Abilene is home the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival held annually in June, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, and 35 statues of beloved characters in the Storybook Sculpture Project.

Other November Events:

Texas Furniture Makers Show
Nov. 1-30, Kerrville,

Rockport Film Festival
Nov. 1-4, Rockport,

Lost River Film Fest
Nov. 1-4, San Marcos,

Say Si Muertitos Fest
Nov. 2-3, San Antonio,

Nov. 2-4, Burnet,

Fall Rose Festival
Nov. 2-4, Independence,

Nov. 2-11, New Braunfels,

Discovering the Passionate Films of Luchino Visconti
Nov. 2-Jan. 13, 2019, Houston,

Austin Town
Nov. 3, Angleton,

Texas Troubadour Songwriter Classic
Nov. 3, Clifton,

Farm to Table on the Square
Nov. 3, Waxahachie,

Texas Butterfly Festival
Nov. 3-6, Mission,

Lone Star Film Festival
Nov. 7-11, Fort Worth,

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival
Nov. 7-11, Harlingen,

International Quilt Festival
Nov. 8-11, Houston,

Cinema Arts Festival
Nov. 8-12, Houston,

Heroes and Hot Rods Car Show
Nov. 9-10, Bastrop,

Kid ’n’ Ewe and Lamas [sic] Too Fiber Festival
Nov. 9-10, Kerrville,

Heirloom Rubber Stamp & Paper Arts Festival
Nov. 9-10, New Braunfels,

Fischer Fest
Nov. 9-11, Fischer,

Scottish Gathering & Highland Games
Nov. 9-11, Salado,

Nov. 10, Alvin,

Books on the Bosque
Nov. 10, Clifton,

Fort Martin Scott Treaty Day
Nov. 10, Fredericksburg,

Heritage Syrup Festival
Nov. 10, Henderson,

World Art Car Day
Nov. 10, Houston,

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

Heritage Festival
Nov. 10-11, Santa Fe,

Veterans Day Parade
Nov. 11, Fredericksburg,

East Texas Pipe Organ Festival
Nov. 11-15, Kilgore,

Henry Smith Day
Nov. 14, Brazoria,

Festival of Cranes
Nov. 14-17, San Antonio, N.M.,

Come and Taste It
Nov. 15, Gruene,

Reel East Texas Film Festival
Nov. 15-17, Kilgore,

Pioneer Days
Nov. 16-18, Cleburne,

Ranch Hand Weekend
Nov. 16-18, Kingsville,

Nov. 16-18, New Braunfels,

Fall Fiber Fiesta
Nov. 16-18, Santa Fe, N.M.,

Williamson Creek School Open House
Nov. 17, Gillespie County,

Ranch Hand Breakfast
Nov. 17, Kingsville,

Living History Saturday
Nov. 17, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site,

North Pole Flyer
Nov. 17-18, 24-25, Cedar Park,

Gruene Market Days
Nov. 17-18, Gruene,

Sacred Springs Powwow
Nov. 17-18, San Marcos,

Polar Express Train Ride
Nov. 17-Dec. 27, Palestine,

Rodica and Friends in Concert
Nov. 18, Fredericksburg,

Nov. 18, San Antonio,

Thankful for Nature Days
Nov. 19-21, Round Mountain,

Homestead Fair
Nov. 23-24, Waco,

Chicken Farm Art Center Annual Open House
Nov. 23-25, San Angelo,

Eisbahn Outdoor Ice Skating
Nov. 23-Jan. 1, 2019, Fredericksburg,

Christmas in Comfort
Nov. 24, Comfort,

Christmas Arts & Crafts Show
Nov. 24, Luling,

Walk Through the Wetlands
Nov. 26, San Antonio,

Texas Dance Hall Preservation Photo Exhibit
Nov. 26-Jan. 31, 2019, La Grange,

Wassail Weekend
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Denton,

Dickens on the Strand
Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Galveston,

Nov. 30-Dec. 1, New Braunfels,

Bethlehem Revisited
Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2, 7-9, Waxahachie,

Blanco County Courthouse, Johnson City, draped in thousands of lights (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Christmas Light Displays

12 Days of Christmas at Night
Nov. 9-Dec. 31, Dallas,

Walkway of Lights
Nov. 16-Dec. 26, Marble Falls,

Festival of Lights
Nov. 17-Jan. 6, 2019, Galveston,

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

Lighted Yule Trail
Nov. 21-Jan. 1, 2019, Luling,

Dancing Lights of Mill Pond – Christmas Extravaganza
Nov. 22-Jan. 5, 2019, San Saba,

Lighting of Community Christmas Tree and German Pyramid
Nov. 23, Fredericksburg,

Lighting of the Square
Nov. 23, Georgetown,

Holiday River Parade
Nov. 23, San Antonio,

Lost Pines Christmas
Nov. 23-Dec. 31, Bastrop,

Starry Starry Nights Lighted Christmas Park
Nov. 23-Dec. 31, Llano,

Louisiana Trail of Lights
Nov. 23-Jan. 1, 2019, Shreveport-Bossier, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe Natchitoches, Alexandria/Pineville, La.,

Holiday Lights on the River Walk
Nov. 23-Jan.4, 2019, San Antonio,

Lights Spectacular
Nov. 23-Jan. 6, 2019, Johnson City,

Concho Christmas Celebration
Nov. 30-Dec. 31, San Angelo,

Fiesta de las Luminarias
Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Dec. 7-9, 14-16, San Antonio,

Gerald E. 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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