Day Trips & Beyond: May Events Roundup

Get ready for baby sea turtles, balloon launches, and more

The days are getting longer and the roads are calling with fun activities around the state.

Turtle hatchlings can be released as early as May and as late as August from Padre Island National Seashore outside of Corpus Christi. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

One of the most amazing natural events in Texas is when the baby sea turtles make their first mad dash into the crashing waves. April through July is the prime nesting season along the Gulf Coast from Galveston to Tamaulipas, Mexico. The Kemp’s ridley, the smallest and most critically endangered sea turtle, makes its nest on Texas beaches. If you see a sea turtle or what might be a nest or tracks, call the Texas Sea Turtle Hotline at 866/887-8535. Then get ready to see the baby sea turtles make a dash for life at an early morning hatchling release at Padre Island National Seashore.
May-August, Turtle Hatchling Release, Padre Island National Seashore, 361/949-7183, www.nps.gov/pais/learn/nature/hatchlingreleases.htm

Off Highway 287 west of Palestine, the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility will conduct three launches in the coming months. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

The silver balloons launched from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine tower over multistory buildings. Sometime during May and June, the research facility will send three of the giant helium-filled balloons into the upper atmosphere to collect scientific data about the universe, atmosphere, and weather. Opened in 1963, the Palestine base is one of only a handful of sites in the world where balloons as large as 400 feet in diameter are launched. After the experiments are completed the balloons land in the West Texas or New Mexico deserts. Weather dictates when the balloons can be turned loose. The public is invited to watch the inflation and release of the balloons and payload at the base west of Palestine. To find out when the launches will occur call the base or visit their website beginning in mid-May.
May-June, Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, Palestine, 903/729-0271, www.csbf.nasa.gov

Travel Notes:

Your state-issued fake ID will have to be replaced with a REAL ID if you want to use your driver’s license to board a commercial airplane after Oct. 1, 2020. REAL ID compliant identification cards generally are marked with a star in the upper right corner of the card. According the Transportation Security Administration website, the new cards must meet minimum tamper-resistant security standards. If you have renewed your Texas driver’s license or ID card since October 2016, you probably have a compliant card.

The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock hosts free Summer Showcase Concertsevery Thursday evening from May 23 to August 22 from 5:30 to 7:30pm. This year’s series covers everything from Italian music to Spanish guitar with a little bit of funk, country, and soul thrown in. The family-friendly shows also include children’s craft areas, food trucks, cash bar, and admission to the Center’s museum.

It is just about that time of year when the waters of the Texas Coast begin calling. The Texas General Land Office monitors water quality on recreational beaches from the Sabine River to the southern tip of South Padre Island. You can find the latest data on water quality at www.beachwatch.com.

Other May Events:

SystemsGo Rockets
May 2-4, Stonewall, www.systemsgo.org

CineMarfa Film Festival
May 2-5, Marfa, www.cinemarfa.org

Live Thoroughbred Racing
May 2-July 21, Grand Prairie, www.lonestarpark.com

West Texas Heritage Days
May 3-4, Fort McKavett State Historic Site, www.thc.texas.gov/news-events/events/west-texas-heritage-days

Richard III performed by Shakespeare at Winedale's Spring Class
May 3-4, Winedale Historical Center, www.liberalarts.utexas.edu/winedale/events/40299

Friday Afternoon Club at Gruene Hall
May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Gruene, www.gruenehall.com

West Texas Taco Championship
May 3-4, Big Spring, www.visitbigspring.com

Texas Longest Yard Sale
May 3-5, Brownsville to Johnson City, www.facebook.com/Texas-Longest-Yard-Sale-857307784288262

Medina River Cleanup
May 4, Bandera, www.medinariver.net/cleanup.aspx

Mostly Native Plant Sale
May 4, Boerne, www.cibolo.org

Heritage Day Festival
May 4, Bonham, www.visitbonham.com

Eighter from Decatur Food Truck Challenge
May 4, Decatur, www.eighterfoodtruckchallenge.com

Honey/Bee Jubilee
May 4, New Ulm, www.newulmtexas.com

Blackland Prairie Days
May 4, Taylor, www.ci.taylor.tx.us/321/Taylor-Blackland-Prairie-Days

Cinco de Mayo Celebration
May 4-5, Goliad, www.presidiolabahia.org

Cottonwood Art Festival
May 4-5, Richardson, www.cottonwoodartfestival.com

Lavender Festival
May 4-5, Stonewall, www.beckervineyards.com

Scarborough Renaissance Festival
May 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-27. Waxahachie, www.srfestival.com

Wein and Saengerfest
May 5, New Braunfels, www.weinandsaengerfest.com

State Historic Sites Free Day
May 5, Various Locations, www.thc.texas.gov

MayFest
May 8-11, Marble Falls, www.marblefalls.org/events/2019/mayfest

Western Heritage Classic
May 9-12, Abilene, www.westernheritageclassic.com

Canadian River Music Festival
May 11, Canadian, www.canadianrivermusicfestival.com

AirSho
May 11, Corsicana, www.coyotesquadron.org

Historic School Open House
May, 11, Fredericksburg, www.historicschools.org

AsiaFest 2019
May 11, Houston, www.asiasociety.org/texas

Squeeze Me on the Square: Squeeze-Box Music Festival
May 11, Kyle, www.cityofkyle.com/recreation/kyle-market-days-music

Migratory Bird Fest
May 11, San Antonio, www.mitchelllake.audubon.org/migratorybirdfest

Shreveport Stuffed Shrimp Festival
May 11, Shreveport, La., www.stuffedshrimpfestival.com

National Train Day
May 11, Temple, www.templerrhm.org

Wimberley Garden Tour
May 11, Wimberley, www.wimberleygardenclub.org

Gospel Brunch With a Texas Twist
May 12, Gruene, www.gruenehall.com

Songwriters’ Showcase
May 13, Port Aransas, www.portaransasartcenter.org/songwriters-showcase

Tejano Conjunto Festival
May 15-19, San Antonio, www.guadalupeculturalarts.org/tejano-conjunto-festival

Thirst for Nature
May 16, Boerne, www.cibolo.org

Funtier Days featuring World Championship Bison Cook-off
May 17-18, Santa Anna, www.santaannatex.org

Western Frontier Days
May 17-18, Sheffield, www.thc.texas.gov/historic-sites/fort-lancaster-state-historic-site

General Sam Houston Folk Festival
May 17-19, Huntsville, www.samhoustonmemorialmuseum.com

Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival
May 17-19, Richardson, www.wildflowerfestival.com

Dennis Hopper Day
May 17-19, Taos, N.M., www.dennishopperday.com

Testicle Festival
May 18, Castel, www.masontxcoc.com/event/castell-general-store-testical-festival

Texas Steak Cook-Off and Wine Festival
May 18, Hico, www.texassteakcookoff.com

Old Town Street Festival
May 18, Leander, www.oldtownstreetfestival.com

Liberty Air & Space Show
May 18-19, Shreveport-Bossier, La., www.barksdaleafbairshow.com

Emile Pandolfi in Concert
May 19, Fredericksburg, www.fredericksburgmusicclub.com

Americana Music Jam
May 19, Gruene, www.gruenehall.com

Eckert James River Bat Cave
May 23-26, 30-31, Mason, www.masontxcoc.com/attractions-recreation/bat-cave-reserve

Kerrville Folk Festival
May 23-June 9, Kerrville, www.kerrvillefolkfestival.org

Crawfish Festival
May 24-26, Fredericksburg, www.fbgjaycees.com/crawfish-festival.html

National Polka Festival
May 24-26, Ennis, www.nationalpolkafestival.com

USO-Style Memorial Day Hangar Dance
May 25, Fredericksburg, www.hangarhotel.com/events.htm

Art Walk
May 25, Johnson City, www.artjc.org

Artfest
May 25-26, Port Aransas, www.portaransasartcenter.org/artfest-2019

Festival of Wine and Food
May 25-26, Rockport, www.texasmaritimemuseum.org

Concert in the Cave – Axiom String Quartet
May 26, Boerne, www.cavewithoutaname.com

The World of Bob Dylan Symposium
May 30-June 2, Tulsa, Okla., www.dylan.utulsa.edu/world-bob-dylan-symposium


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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 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, Texas travel, sea turtles, Kemp's ridley, Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility, REAL ID, Buddy Holly Center, Summer Showcase Concerts, Texas coast, Gulf Coast

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