Day Trips & Beyond: July Events Roundup

The latest on Texas festivals, swimming holes, and terrifying worms

Fun events are really heating up around the state in July.

Student actors present three Shakespearean plays over four weekends in the barn at Winedale. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Bard’s back in the barn. Shakespeare has returned to Winedale near Round Top for an abbreviated season after canceling in-person 50th anniversary shows last year. The student productions in the converted barn of three rotating plays occur weekends from Friday, July 30 through Sunday, August 15 with matinee and evening performances on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased for $10 online or by phone.
July 30-Aug. 15, Winedale, 512/471-4726,

The spring-fed swimming pool at Balmorhea is open again, but you’ll need to have a reservation to get into the gates. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Pool opened. The on again and off again opening of Balmorhea State Park Pool over the last two years is on again. The West Texas desert oasis near Toyahvale is open for day use from 8am to 7pm by reservation. To protect the natural resources, the number of visitors to the pool is limited to 650 per day. Renovations that have been underway for nearly five years continue to close the rest of the park.

With a half-moon head like a hammerhead shark, invasive hammerhead flatworms have been spotted around the state. A predator of native earthworms, the flatworms also transmit parasites. TSTI is asking residents to report sightings. (Courtesy TSTI/C. Laffey)

Slug fest. Texas is being invaded by an invasive species of worms from Southeast Asia. Recent rains are bringing the slimy hammerhead flatworm out of the ground and onto sidewalks. Brought to the States in greenhouse plants, the worms that can grow to more than a foot long have been found primarily from Orange to Uvalde, along the Gulf Coast, in the DFW area and through East Texas, according the Texas Invasive Species Institute at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. The flatworms are a known predator of beneficial native earthworms. The foreign flatworms reproduce when the body is cut, and should not be handled because of toxic secretions. Anyone who finds a hammerhead flatworm is asked to contact TISI’s Ashley Morgan-Olvera at with a picture and coordinates. Texas has registered more than 800 invasive species that cause billions of dollars of damage annually.

Travel Notes:

Pool closed. Travis County Parks Department has closed the popular and scenic Hamilton Pool Preserve to swimming through the summer and for the foreseeable future. The February snow storm loosened rocks on the overhanging cliff causing falling debris in the pool area with an increasing frequency. The trails are still open by reservation. Morning and afternoon time slots are available beginning the last week of July through September. Saturday morning guided tours have been suspended, but may resume later this summer.

Let’s go camping. One of the downsides of our state parks being so wonderful is that they are also very popular. Sometimes just getting a reservation at a favorite park can seem like an exercise in futility. The Texas State Park Online Reservation website has added a helpful new tab that makes it easier to plan spontaneous camping trips. The “Camping This Weekend” feature allows campers to find where lodging, RV slots, or tent sites are available quickly and easily without having to search each individual park separately.

Summer of love. Tickets have gone on sale for the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love in Marfa on Sept. 22-26. After skipping last year because of COVID-19, this year’s event has added a fourth day and less capacity. Self-camping is included in the general admission tickets beginning at $500 per person. Lodging is also available at El Cosmico and other accommodations around town.

Food Fight. Tickets have gone on sale for the World Food Championships’ Flavor Fest at Fair Park in Dallas, Nov. 5-7. Single day tickets begin at $15 and weekend tickets start at $40. More than 1,500 chefs will be competing for $300,000 in prize money over the three days. The food festival has something for every foodie with tastings, demonstrations, celebrity cook-offs, and more.

Freedom summer. If you’re considering a trip through the Old South this summer, a good place to begin your planning is at a new podcast about the Civil Rights Trail prepared by the Alabama Tourism Department. Available for free wherever you get your podcasts, the shows take a deeper dive into the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Once you have learned the stories behind the events, the tourism bureau’s website offers suggestions on places to visit that bring the history to life.

Other July Events:

"Lonesome Dove: Photographs by Bill Wittliff"
July 1-11, Irving,

Texas Cook’em High Steaks in Edinburg
July 2-3, Edinburg,

Llano Rock’N Riverfest
July 2-4, Llano,

Live Thoroughbred Racing
July 2-11, Grand Prairie,

Fiesta Noche del Rio
July 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 30-31, San Antonio,

Bee to Bottle Tours
July 3, Rogers,

Historic County Jail Tours
July 3, Fredericksburg,

Bird Watching at the Battleground
July 3, LaPorte,

Rockport Art Festival
July 3-4, Rockport,

Saturday Night Rodeo
July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Bulverde,

Abilene Freedom Festival
July 3-4, Abilene,

Live Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing
July 3-4, 17-18, Fredericksburg,

Fourth of July Pet Parade
July 4, Bandera,

July Fourth Community Parade and Patriotic Program
July 4, Fredericksburg,

Robert Earl Keen’s Fourth on the River
July 4, Kerrville,

Spring Ho Festival
July 5-11, Lampasas,

Wayback Wednesdays
July 7, 14, 21, 28, Goliad,

"The State of Sculpture: Texas Sculpture Group All-Member Exhibit"
July 8-Sept. 12, San Angelo,

East Texas Gusher Days
July 9-10, Gladewater,

July 9-11, Sealy,

Tour of the Gault Site
July 10, Florence,

Museum Market
July 10, San Antonio,

Black History River Cruise
July 11, 24, San Antonio,

Conservation Series #2 Spoke Hollow Release Party
July 14, Driftwood,

Texas Wildlife 2021 Convention
July 15-18, San Antonio,

Taylor Rodeo
July 16-17, Taylor,

Celebration of the Arts
July 16-18, Midland,

Night in Old Fredericksburg
July 17, Fredericksburg,

Come and Taste It
July 17, Gruene,

Old Gruene Market Days
July 17-18, Gruene,

Trade Days
July 20-22, Fredericksburg,

National Day of the American Cowboy
July 24, Bandera,

Day of the Cowboy
July 24, San Antonio,

Frontier Times Jamboree
July 25, Bandera,

Great Texas Mosquito Festival
July 29-31, Clute,

Viva Big Bend
July 29-Aug. 1, Alpine,

Hill Country Film Festival
July 29-Aug. 1, Fredericksburg,

Summer Genealogy Weekend
July 30-31, Huntsville,

TEXAS Outdoor Musical
Through Aug. 14, Canyon,

"The Science of Guinness World Records"
Through Sept. 6, Dallas,

"Still in the Saddle: A New History of the Hollywood Western"
Through Sept. 6, San Antonio,

"Frida Kahlo Oasis"
Through Nov 2, San Antonio,

"John Wayne: An American Experience"
Through Dec. 31, Fort Worth,

Sculpture Garden Exhibit
Through May 5, 2022, Wichita Falls,

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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Day Trips, Winedale, Balmorhea, Hamilton Pool, hammerhead flatworm, Texas State Parks, Trans-Pecos Festival, Flavor Fest, Civil Rights Trail, Alabama Tourism Department

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