Day Trips & Beyond: March Events Roundup

Travel news a year into the pandemic

This month marks the anniversary of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Traveling is tough, but we’ve learned new protocols and become cautiously optimistic about venturing out again.

It’s hard work in the Texas heat for Travis Mayes preparing barbecue for the legions of hungry fans who line up at the window in Garland. The family-run business was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and then the St. Valentine’s weekend freeze broke the water pipes and the firewood was stolen. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

A cold smoker in Garland. For more than 40 years Meshack’s BBQ Shack in the suburbs west of Dallas has been serving smoked meats out of a cinder-block building. It’s a small, family-run business with Travis Mayes, who took over the restaurant from his father-in-law, as pitmaster and chief bottle washer. The pandemic made times as lean as the brisket, and then came six days of deep freeze in February. When Travis was able to maneuver icy roads to check on the shop, he found busted water pipes flooding the tiny kitchen. Adding to the misery, all his firewood had been pilfered to heat people’s homes. In early March the appeal went out to barbecue lovers for help through a GoFundMe account to raise funds to get the smoker fired up again. The Mayes family isn’t asking for a lot, so every little bit helps. “Help Meshack’s BBQ get back to Q’in.”

Once Meshack’s BBQ Shack reopens at 240 E. Avenue B, a few blocks east of downtown Garland, the window opens Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:30am until sold out. There's no dining room, so everything is sold to-go.

A Spanish proverb says, “Every head is a world unto itself.” Based in Boise, Idaho, artist Ashley Dreyfus lets her personal world out through her art. Ashley’s creation “There Is No Place Like Home” is the first-place winner in the annual contest to decorate Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer products for the upcoming year. The piece, along with 24 other finalists, will be on view at a new gallery in San Antonio. (Courtesy PBR Studios)

Beer can art and more comes to San Antonio. Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer announced that they will open Pabst Blue Ribbon Studios at 1112 S. St. Mary’s St. in San Antonio on March 13. The inaugural exhibit at the new gallery will feature the 2021 designs submitted by emerging arts for PBR cans. PBR Studios will display the 25 finalists for 90 days. After that the gallery space will rotate among different commissioned artists every 30 days. This is the third art gallery for the beer manufacturer that moved its headquarters to San Antonio last year; the others are in New York City and Los Angeles. The San Antonio gallery will be free to the public and open on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6pm and on the first Friday of the month from 4 to 10pm.
March 13, Pabst Blue Ribbon Studios Grand Opening, San Antonio,

Travel Notes:

Looking for wildflowers. It’s a little early to tell how last month’s deep freeze will affect the bluebonnet crop this spring. The lakeside town of Marble Falls is betting on a good showing of color and has already published a map of places to scope out with the kids and camera.

March is Texas History Month. In celebration of Texas Independence, the Washington-on-the-Brazos Foundation will premiere Independence! A Lone Star Rises, a documentary film about the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The film by Gary Foreman of Native Son Productions is free to view. The premiere will be on March 31 beginning at 10am with encore presentations at 1pm and 7pm. Viewers can connect to the film at Washington-on-the-Brazos Historical Foundation, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, the Texas Historical Commission Facebook pages, and the Texas Historical Commission YouTube channel.

Elon Musk takes a village. On March 2, Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. released a notice that Elon Musk and SpaceX want to swallow Boca Chica Village into their City of Starbase, Texas. Since 2014, SpaceX had already bought out most of the property owners for its spaceship launch site. According to Wikipedia, the town originated as Kennedy Shores in 1967 as a settlement for Polish migrants hoping to escape the harsh winters of Chicago. The dream disappeared later that year when Hurricane Beulah wiped out the community’s water supply system. Still a few residents have hung on. Several publications have reported that Musk intends to turn the coastal location into a resort and “21st century Spaceport.” Boca Chica, or what is left of it, is a few miles east of Brownsville where TX-4 ends into a secluded beach near the mouth of the Rio Grande.

Storm farm aid. Several Central Texas organizations have banded together to bring the Texas Strong Relief Concert to Dripping Springs. Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis will headline a day of music at Dreamland on March 13 from 3 to 10pm. The outdoor concert and food drive will benefit small and medium-sized farms across Texas that were impacted by the snowstorm that blanketed the state in February.

Virtual Rock and Roll. The Rock Stacking Championship and Llano Earth Art Fest will go online this year. The popular art festival that was held in the riverbed under the bridge in Llano is trying something new this year. Artists will showcase their rock-stacking skills online on March 26 and 27. Entry to competition is free as online content for spectators.

Other March Events:

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic some events might have changed after they were included in this listing. It is always advisable to confirm the status of the event before expending great effort to attend.

Tour at New Leaf Farm
March 5, Elgin,

Borntrager’s Public Auction
March 6, Beeville,

Birdwatching at the Battleground
March 6, San Jacinto Monument SHS, La Porte,

Bee to Bottle Walking Tour
March 6, Walker Honey Farm, Rogers,

Spring Transplant Sale
March 6, 13, 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, Garfield,

Pabst Blue Ribbon Studios Grand Opening
March 13, San Antonio,

Texas Ranger Day
March 27, Burton,

Black History River Cruise
March 14, 27, San Antonio,

Spring Break at the Pioneer Museum
March 15-20, Fredericksburg,

Outlaws and Legends
March 19-20, Abilene,

Central Texas Ceramic Expo and Handcrafted Items
March 19-20, West,

March 19-28, Waxahachie,

Dogwood Trails Celebration
March 19-April 4, Palestine,

Bluebonnet Air Show
March 20, Burnet,

Dogwood Festival
March 20, Palestine,

Houston Music and Arts Festival
March 20-21, Conroe,

Wine and Wildflower Journey
March 20-April 16, Texas Hill Country,

Return of the Mud Dauber Concert
March 20, Luckenbach,

March 26-27, Luckenbach,

Rock Stacking Championship and Llano Earth Art Festival
March 27-28, Llano,

Houston Music and Arts Festival
March 27-28, Pearland,

In search of more virtual or IRL travel ideas? Visit our Out of Town listings.
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 and follow him on Facebook.

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Travel, COVID-19, coronavirus, Meshack's BBQ, bluebonnets, PBR Studios, Texas History Month, Elon Musk, Winter Storm Uri, storm relief, Llano Earth Art Fest, Rock Stacking Competition

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