Day Trips & Beyond: September Events Roundup

September events around the state are waiting for you to arrive

This month we mark the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Most of us will always carry the memory of where we were on that day.

The fountain in Lauren’s Garden in Houston’s Market Square Park is full of symbolism. The bronze sculpture in the center is modeled after the bristlecone pine, representing endurance. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

I had just arrived at work when the news came over the car radio that an airliner had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City. The federal government had just grounded all airplanes. As I stood on the top floor of my office parking garage looking out over Zilker Park, the world seemed quieter, and not because of the lack of air traffic. The world appeared to stand still as we collectively waited for the other shoe to drop.

We’ve returned to our lives in the years since the attacks, but in the aftermath of that single devastating day the world changed.

For the Catuzzi family in Houston the change was enormous as they mourned the loss of their 38-year-old daughter, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, on United Flight 93 in a field in Pennsylvania. Three months pregnant, Lauren was on the way home to her husband from her grandmother’s funeral in New Jersey when hijackers crashed the plane, killing all aboard.

In 2010, the Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas Foundation administered by her parents gave the city of Houston a 9/11 Memorial Garden on the north side of Market Square Park in downtown. In the oldest part of the city, the garden is a peaceful place surrounded by skyscrapers and bustling sidewalks.

The centerpiece of the garden is a fountain with three granite walls signifying the three crash sites: New York; Washington, D.C.; and Pennsylvania. In the fountain are 40 large stones that represent those who died on United Flight 93; another 3,653 small pebbles represent those who died at the World Trade Center in NYC; and 194 larger rocks are for those lost at the Pentagon. A bronze bust of Lauren looks over the idyllic site near the corner of Congress and Travis streets.
Sept. 11, Market Square Park, Houston,

Using steam and diesel engines, the Texas State Railroad takes visitors on a ride through the Piney Woods of East Texas. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Choo-Choo-Cha-Boogie through the Piney Woods on the Texas State Railroad. The East Texas excursion train has announced their fall schedule for the rest of the year.

Train rides from Palestine to Rusk will be on Friday and Saturday in September. In October the railroad adds Thursdays to its weekend schedule. Each kid gets to take home a pumpkin when they ride on the Pumpkin Patch Express on Oct. 16, 23, and 30. The Polar Express with Santa and all his elves arrives on Nov. 19 and runs on selected dates through Dec. 26. Face coverings on the train will be optional.

The 22.5-mile railroad line began in 1881 when state prisoners laid the first tracks to bring fuel and ore to the prison’s foundry in Rusk. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began operation of the train in 1976. Since 2007 a private firm has run the excursion line.

Using steam and diesel engines, the train includes several vintage cars. The route goes through the thick East Texas forest and crosses several streams. All excursions begin from the depot outside of Palestine.
September-December: Historic train rides, Palestine, 855/632-7729,

Travel Notes:

Viva Mexico. Craftspeople and artisans of Oaxaca produce some of Mexico’s most distinctive works of art. Through Dec. 5, the Witte Museum in San Antonio will show “Orale! The Magical Art of Oaxaca.” Drawing on indigenous traditions, the artists use local materials and techniques to create a unique art form. The museum hosts a delightful mix of history, science, and art that will appeal to all ages. Open daily, admission is free from 3 to 7pm on Tuesdays.

Kerrvivors return. The Kerrville Folk Festival returns to the Quiet Valley Ranch south of Kerrville for its 49th season on Oct. 1-11. Discounted online tickets are on sale through Sept. 30. Set over two weekends with special programming for campers during the week, this year’s festival includes Guy Forsyth, James McMurtry, Beat Revival, and many others in the outdoor theatre.

Art meets entertainment III. The hypercool art collective from Santa Fe, Meow Wolf, will open its third location in Denver, Colo., on Sept. 17. Continuing its theme of providing a local artist-inspired cross between a haunted house and an indoor amusement park, the Denver location’s ”Convergence Station” will have visitors exploring quantum travel, spanning four floors of interactive space with more than 79 unique installations. Admission will be by pre-booked time slots, and masks are required inside the exhibit. Meow Wolf’s original “House of Eternal Return” opened in Santa Fe, N.M., in 2016. The second installation, Omega Mart, opened in Las Vegas, Nev., in February 2021. Rumors at one time had it that Austin was on the short list to receive a Meow Wolf installation, but it was not to be, yet.

Other September Events:

Ghost Tour
Sept. 3, Georgetown,

Backin’ the Badges Motorcycle Rally and Music Fest
Sept. 3-4, Bastrop,

Big T Memorial Barbecue Cook-off
Sept. 3-4, Fairfield,

Ford Parade of Lanterns
Sept. 3-5, San Antonio,

Walburg Fest
Sept. 3-5, Walburg,

Sept. 3-5, West,

The Texas State Railroad
Sept. 3-Dec. 26, Palestine,

Benefit Fish Fry
Sept. 4, Doss,

Old Jail Tours
Sept. 4, Fredericksburg,

Willow City Historic School Open House
Sept. 4, Willow City,

Wimberley Market Days
Sept. 4, Wimberley,

Bandera Roundup
Sept. 4-5, Bandera,

George Observatory – Saturday Stargazing
Sept. 4, 11, 18, 25, Brazos Bend State Park, Needville,

Black History River Cruise
Sept. 4, 25, San Antonio,

Saturday at the Farm and Farmers Market
Sept. 4-Nov. 27, Boerne,

Music in the Cave: Axiom String Quartet
Sept. 5, Boerne,

Birding Hike
Sept. 5, Brazos Bend State Park, Needville,

Sorghum Festival
Sept. 6, Waco,

Buddy Holly’s 85th Birthday Bash
Sept. 7, Lubbock,

Lampasas Beer Barn LTX Barbecue Fest
Sept. 10-11, Lampasas,

Quanah Fall Festival
Sept. 10-11, Quanah,

International Camel and Ostrich Races
Sept. 10-12, Virginia City, NV,

Fall Planting Days
Sept. 10-12, Fredericksburg,

West Texas Fair and Rodeo
Sept. 10-18, Abilene,

Kolache Festival
Sept. 11, Caldwell,

Gault Archaeological Site Tour
Sept. 11, Florence,

Obligations of the Soldado Reenactment
Sept. 11, Goliad,

Luckenrod Car Show & Music Festival
Sept. 11, Luckenbach,

Museum Market
Sept. 11, San Antonio,

Hal & Mary Fields Day
Sept. 11, West Columbia,

Fanthrop Inn Focus Weekend
Sept. 11-12, Anderson,

Travel & Adventure Show
Sept. 11-12, Dallas,

John Fairey Gardens Open Days
Sept. 11, 18, 25, Oct. 2, 9, 23, 30, Nov. 6, 20, 27, Hempstead,

Kuhlmann-King Museum Tour and Prost! Brewing Beer
Sept. 11, 25, Boerne,

Washington County Fair
Sept. 15-18, Brenham,

Sept. 16-19, Grapevine,

HummerBird Celebration
Sept. 16-19, Rockport,

West Texas Cabrito Cookoff
Sept. 17-18, Marathon,

Port A Live Music Fest
Sept. 17-19, Port Aransas,

Tri-State Fair
Sept. 17-25, Amarillo,

Dia de Los Muertos Exhibit
Sept. 17-Oct. 16, Victoria,

Fall Equinox with Rudi & The Rudiments
Sept. 18, Boerne,

Texas Heroes Day
Sept. 18, La Grange,

Indian Artifact, Gem, and Mineral Show
Sept. 18, Lampasas,

Sept. 18, Longview,

Sept. 18, Tomball,

Sept. 18-19, Fort Davis,

Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza
Sept. 18, 25, Lake Jackson,

Daniel Hsu in Concert
Sept. 19, Fredericksburg,

Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love
Sept. 22-26, Marfa,

Comal County Fair and Rodeo
Sept., 22-26, New Braunfels,

River Revival Music Fest
Sept. 23-26, New Braunfels,

Bacon, Blues and Brews
Sept. 24-25, Belton,

Galveston Island Wild Texas Shrimp Festival
Sept. 24-25, Galveston,

Taylor Czechoslovak Society of America Barbecue Cook-off
Sept. 24-25, Taylor,

State Fair of Texas
Sept. 24-Oct. 17, Dallas,

Sept. 25, Boerne,

Sept. 25, Del Rio,

Fall Festival
Sept. 25, Fredericksburg,

Sept. 25, Huntsville,

Medina Lake Cajun Festival
Sept. 25, Lakehills,

Lampasas County Wine Tour
Sept. 25, Lampasas,

National Public Lands Day
Sept. 25, National Parks,

Infuzzed with Honey Cook-off
Sept. 25, Navasota,

Weekend in Olde DeWitt
Sept. 25-26, Cuero,

Crabapple Historic School Open House
Sept. 26, Fredericksburg,

Sandcastle Days
Sept. 27-Oct. 3, South Padre Island,

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, Lauren's Garden, Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, Market Square Park, Houston, Texas State Railroad, East Texas, Viva Mexico, Witte Museum, San Antonio, Kerrville Folk Festival

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