Day Trips & Beyond: March Events Roundup

Spring is the season for Texas travel

UPDATE: Due to COVID-19, many events are canceled and many venues are closing for an extended period, so be aware of this before making any plans.
It’s the beginning of wildflower season and time to hit the road.

The Orange Show Monument in Houston is one man’s vision of a theme park dedicated to his favorite fruit. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

After being closed for almost three months of restoration work, the Orange Show Monument on the east side of Houston reopens on March 14. In 1956, when postal worker Jeff McKissack applied for a building permit, he told the city that he had changed his mind about building a beauty shop on the lot across Munger Street from his home and that he had a better idea. For the next 23 years he single-handedly built a maize-like urban oasis using found objects and discarded items. His passion park extols the virtues of good nutrition, hard work, and eating oranges. In 1980, McKissack died at age 78. The folk-art masterpiece was saved by a group of investors led by Marilyn Oshman and is now run by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. The center also supports the art-filled Smither Park next door to the Orange Show, the Beer Can House, the Art Car Parade on April 18, 2020, and the Art Bike Parade on May 9, 2020.
March 14, Orange Show Monument Grand Reopening, Houston, www.orangeshow.org

Bloodless bullfighting in Texas took its final bow on Feb. 16, at least until next year. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

At the season finale at Santa Maria Plaza de Toros in La Gloria it was announced that another show might occur this spring. David Renk Jr., the grandson of the bullring’s proprietor, said local ranchers are interested in continuing the bullfights that feature the matador grabbing a flower from the bull’s back rather than killing the animal. Fred Renk says that the bullring is still for sale and that four bullfights are tentatively scheduled for next January and February. “But someone else will have to run them,” says the 84-year-old former matador. “I’m done.” No further information about a website or dates is available at this time.

Travel Notes:

In 1967, bestselling author and animal rights advocate Cleveland Amory founded the Fund for Animals to “speak for those that can’t.” Since then the Fund has supported animal rights causes around the world. In 1979, the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch opened outside of Murchison as a sanctuary and retirement home for abused tigers, bears, primates, bison, burros, and other animals. More than 800 exotic and domestic animals live at the 1,400-acre ranch. This is not a zoo, but the ranch has begun offering educational tours of its facilities 95 miles southeast of Dallas near Athens. The sanctuary, which includes the Doris Day Equine Center, is a part of the largest and most diverse network of animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers in the country. The bimonthly Ranch of Dreams Tours are a rare and intimate look at an animal success story. Bus tours with limited seating are scheduled for March 7 and 28. Additional tours will be held throughout the year.

As we travel around the state local musicians play the soundtrack of the festivals and fairs. Without them the events would be much less colorful. And so it was with great sadness that we learned that Hal Ketchum was suffering from the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You can help his wife Andrea cover the staggering medical bills by donating at www.gofundme.com/halketchummedicalfund or view a three-song film at www.thedancehalltapes.com and leave a voluntary cover charge.

We all have special places where we like to work and create. For Guy Clark it was a small basement workshop where he wrote songs and worked on guitars. The furnishings from Clark’s private space have been added to the exhibition “Outlaws & Armadillos: Country’s Roaring 70s” at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. The exhibition includes a collection of artifacts and stories illustrating the musical connection between Austin and Nashville during the 1970s. The re-creation of the singer-songwriter’s home workshop features a wall of cassette tapes, a handmade workbench, photos of Buck White and Townes Van Zandt, woodworking tools, and other personal items. Outlaws & Armadillos continues through Feb. 14, 2021.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is taking public comments on proposed changes to fishing at Moss Lake (Cooke County), Lake Nasworthy (Tom Green County), Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties), Falcon International Reservoir, and Brushy Creek Lake and Brushy Creek (Williamson County). Brushy Creek Lake in Cedar Park will see a lowering of size and bag limits, plus new equipment restrictions. Comments can be made by phone, mail, email, or in person until March 25.

It’s about that time of the year again and the wildflowers have already started showing their colors. DeWitt County was named “Wildflower Capital of Texas” in 1999. With more than 1,000 species of wildflowers in the county, the backroads are a rainbow of colors into early June. For a map and guidance to the most picturesque locations, call the Cuero Visitors Center at 361/275-2112 or at 210 E. Main St.

Spring is a great time to get out and explore Texas’ past. The Texas Historical Commission’s website features a map to the 30 properties that THC maintains around the state. The Goodnight Heritage Center between Clarendon and Armstrong may be the next addition to the list. According to ABC-7 in Amarillo, negotiations are underway to add Goodnight’s former home to state protection.

One of THC’s properties, The Fulton Mansion in Rockport, has reopened. Built in 1877 by a local rancher and merchant, the two-story home was heavily damaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The historical significance of the house lies in its French Second Empire style, unique construction methods, and advanced mechanical systems for the time.

According to EarthSky.org we will see supermoons on March 9, April 8, and May 7 this year. A supermoon is the full moon happening at the closest point to Earth in the moon’s monthly orbit. The April supermoon will come the nearest to us of the three perigee. Time to plan a camping trip.

Other March Events:

Commemoration of the Battle of the Alamo
March 1-7, San Antonio, www.thealamo.org

H.D. Bugbee Western Art Exhibit
March 1-31, Clifton, www.bosquemuseum.org

Dallas Blooms Festival
March 1-April 12, Dallas, www.dallasarboretum.org

Sherwood Forest Faire
March 1-April 19, McDade, www.sherwoodforestfaire.com

Glory of Spain: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library
March 1-May 25, Houston, www.mfah.org

Flying Horse Carousel
March 1-Oct. 31, Brenham, www.cityofbrenham.org/city_government/departments/parks_and_recreation/flying_horses_carousel.php

Texas Independence Day
March 2, Gruene, www.gruenetexas.com

Planetarium Show
March 3, 10, 17, 24, 27, 31, Clute, www.brazosportcenter.com

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
March 3-22, Houston, www.rodeohouston.com

Fort Clark Days
March 6-7, Brackettville, www.fortclarkdays.org

Texas Birthday Bash
March 6-7, Navasota, www.texasbirthdaybash.com

Spring Frio Family Camp
March 6-10, www.friofamilycamp.com

Brazoria Heritage Celebration
March 7, Brazoria, www.brazoriahf.org

Dallas Blues Festival
March 7, Grand Prairie, www.theatregp.com

Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta
March 7, Houston, www.buffalobayou.org/event/48th-annual-buffalo-bayou-partnership-regatta-presented-by-gillman-subaru/

Texas Independence Day Celebration
March 7, Luckenbach, www.luckenbachtexas.com

Feathered Friends! Free Family Fun Day
March 7, Wimberley, www.hayscountytx.com/departments/hays-county-parks-recreation/jacobs-well-natural-area

Farmers’ Market at the Cibolo
March 7, 14, 21, 28, Boerne, www.cibolo.org/herfffarm/farmersmarket.html

Saturday Night Rodeo
March 7, 14, 21, 28, Bulverde, www.tejasrodeo.com

Ranch of Dreams Tour
March 7, 28, Murchison, www.fundforanimals.org/blackbeauty

Gospel Brunch
March 8, Gruene, www.gruenehall.com

Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour (supporting Texas State Parks)
March 9, Austin, www.wholeearthprovision.com/info/banff-mountain-film-festival

Spring Break at the Pioneer Museum
March 9-14, Fredericksburg, www.pioneermuseum.net

Nederland Heritage Festival
March 10-15, Nederland, www.nederlandhf.org

Rio Frio Fest
March 11-15, Concan, www.riofriofest.com

Line Dancing Class
March 12, Lockhart, www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lockhart/park_events

Texas Storytelling Festival
March 12-15, Denton, www.tejasstorytelling.com

Texas Steel Guitar Jamboree
March 12-15, Irving, www.texassteelguitar.org

American Daffodil Society National Show
March 12-16, Dallas, www.texasdaffodilsociety.org

The Greatest Show on Dirt
March 13, Paige, www.cottonbowlspeedway.com

Best Little Cowboy Gathering in Texas
March 13-14, La Grange, www.bestlittlecowboygathering.org

World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup
March 13-15, Sweetwater, www.rattlesnakeroundup.net

Llano Earth Art Fest (LEAF)
March 13-16, Llano, www.llanoearthartfest.org

Raptor Rehab Talk
March 14, Corpus Christi, www.stxbot.org

Fiesta of Flight Air and Space Expo
March 14, Del Rio, www.drchamber.com

St. Patrick’s Celebration
March 14, Dublin, www.dublintxchamber.com

Celebrate Texas 2020
March 14, Fredericksburg, www.trhc.org

Austin Lounge Lizards in Concert
March 14, La Grange, www.thebugleboy.org

Guided Ghost Tours
March 14, Seguin, www.hauntedmagnoliahotel.com

Crawfish and Shrimp Boil
March 14, Spring Branch, www.anhalthall.com

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 14, Surfside Beach, www.beachblarney.com

Luck O’ the Pup Flyball Tournament
March 14-15, Kerrville, www.kerrvilletexascvb.com/events/2020/luck-o-the-pup-flyball-tournament

Fiesta of Gems
March 14-15, San Antonio, www.swgms.org

Guided Tours of Jacob’s Well Natural Area
March 14, 28, Wimberley, www.hayscountytx.com/departments/hays-county-parks-recreation/jacobs-well-natural-area

Doug Montgomery in Concert
March 15, Fredericksburg, www.fredericksburgmusicclub.com

Spring into Asia
March 16-20, Houston, www.asiasociety.org/texas

Come and Taste It
March 19, Gruene, www.grapevineingruene.com

Madison County Fair and Rodeo
March 19-28, Madisonville, www.mcfa.net

Round Top Spring Antiques Show
March 19-April 5, Round Top, www.exploreroundtop.com

Outlaws and Legends Music Fest
March 20-21, Abilene, www.outlawsandlegends.com

Heart of Texas Country Music Festival
March 20-28, Brady, www.heartoftexascountry.com

Dogwood Trails Celebration
March 20-April 5, Palestine, www.texasdogwoodtrails.com

Spring Equinox Concert in the Cave with Rudi and the Rudiments
March 21, Boerne, www.cavewithoutaname.com

Texas Ranger Day
March 21, Burton, www.burtontexas.org

Pecan Creek School Open House
March 21, Fredericksburg, www.historicschools.org

Bird Banding/Brew on the Bayou
March 21, Lake Jackson, www.gcbo.org

Mud Dauber Festival and Chili Cookoff
March 21, Luckenbach, www.luckenbachtexas.com

Dog Rodeo
March 21, New Braunfels, www.nbtexas.org/fischerpark

Dogwood Jamboree
March 21, Palestine, www.dogwoodjamboree.com

General Granbury’s Birthday Bash and Cookoff
March 21-22, Granbury, www.visitgranbury.com

Old-Time Music and Dulcimer Festival
March 26-28, Palestine, www.oldpalmusic.com

Mason Chamber Music Festival
March 26-29, Mason, www.masonchambermusicfestival.org

Bon Temps Rouler Cajun Throwdown
March 27-28, Galveston, www.btrcajunthrowdown.com

Diamondback Jubilee and Rodeo
March 27-28, Lometa, www.lometalionsclub.org

Women Who Wander
March 27-29, Concan, www.womenwhowandertexas.com

Texas Pinball Festival
March 27-29, Frisco, www.texaspinball.com/tpf

Matagorda Fay Birdfest
March 27-29, Palacios, www.matagordabaybirdfest.org

La Bahia Antique Show
March 27-April 4, Burton, www.labahiaantiques.com

Texas Wildlife & Woodland Expo
March 28, Conroe, www.lonestar.edu/wildlifeexpo

Hill Country Indian Artifact Show
March 28, Fredericksburg, www.hillcountryindianartifacts.com

Reds, Whites, and Brews
March 28, Hutto, www.facebook.com/downtownhutto

Star Party
March 28, Johnson City, www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/pedernales-falls

Port A Paella Competition
March 28, Port Aransas, www.paellaloversunited.com

Texas Onion Festival
March 28, Weslaco, www.weslaco.com

Living History Weekend
March 28-29, College Station, www.americangimuseum.org

Travel & Adventure Show
March 28-29, Dallas, www.travelshows.com/shows/dallas

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Festival
March 28-29, Eagle Lake, www.fws.gov/refuge/attwater_prairie_chicken

KCKL Big Bass Tournament
March 28-29, Kemp, www.kcklbass.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 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, wildflowers, The Orange Show, bloodless bullfighting, Cleveland Amory, Fund for Animals, Hal Ketchum, Guy Clark, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Fulton Mansion, supermoon

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