Day Trips & Beyond: October Events Roundup

Enjoy fall foliage, festivals, and fairs

The smell of kettle corn and autumn are in the air; it must be time for a day trip.

Fischer Dance Hall is a remnant of a German agricultural settlement in the Wimberley Valley south of Austin. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Most of the time the old dance hall in Fischer sits vacant except for an occasional Saturday night fandango attended by locals or private family affairs. Every now and then the community opens up the creaky wooden doors, lifts the heavy shutters over the glassless windows, and invites the world in. On Oct. 8, Alan Marburger, Whitney Davis Grohman, and Penny Stone invite musicians and music fans to the Fischer Hall Music Jam for an evening of kicking back and enjoying the country vibes.

Being a bit socialistic, the German immigrants formed the Agricultural Society of Fischer’s Store around 1875 for the betterment of farmers and ranchers between Wimberley and Blanco. As the community prospered around the Fischer Store (now closed) at the junction of FM 32 and Fischer Store Road they added the dance hall for dances, reunions, and an occasional play. Next door to the dance hall they built a nine-pin bowling alley for a unique game brought from the old country.
Oct. 8, Fischer Hall Music Jam, Fischer,

Prof. Fairey believed that the silver and blue-green colors of palms have a cooling effect as the fronds shimmer in the breeze. Even though the garden suffered during the February freeze, it has bounced back with the spring rains and is offering fall tours (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Housing more than 3,000 plants mainly from Mexico, Asia, and the United States, the John Fairey Garden (formerly Peckerwood Gardens) outside of Hempstead is a hidden jewel. Whether you are a committed horticulturist or a part-time backyard gardener, this place is an amazing paradise that will inspire you. The uniqueness of the private park really comes alive on the docent-led tours. The garden is accessible to non-members only a few times a year and Open Days are coming up on select Saturdays in October and November. Reservations are required for the tours at 10am and 11am. The gardens are on a country road about two hours from Austin.

John Fairey taught in the School of Architecture at Texas A&M for 49 years before he passed away in 2020. In 1971 he began the project that would consume much of his time when not in the classroom. The garden has become world famous for its collection of rare and unusual plants arranged in a landscape that showcases the plants’ relationship to its environment. Among Prof. Fairey’s many accomplishments was leading a 1991 expedition to Mexico to find the rare Taxus plant from which taxol is derived, a treatment in ovarian cancer treatment. The garden is his gift to Texas and the world.
Oct. 2, 9, 23, 30, Nov. 6, 20, John Fairey Garden Open Days, 979/826-3232,

Travel Notes:

Leaf Peeping. As the days grow shorter and the nights get cooler the trees begin their autumn show. It’s impossible to know exactly where and when the fall colors will happen, but they generally begin in North Texas in October and transition south through November. East Texas is an obvious choice for searching out colorful trees, because they have so many trees. has a warehouse of useful information about fall foliage. Of course, Lost Maples State Natural Area has some of the most spectacular colors, but also large crowds especially on weekends. The park’s foliage report begins on the first Wednesday of October on the website and at 830/966-3413 Ext. 3. The Bigtooth Maple trees usually put on their show around the last week of October to mid-November.

Historic Texas. There’s a lot of history in Texas and you can better find your way to the 34 state historic sites using the Texas Historical Commission’s new and free Texas State Historic Sites Official Guide. From frontier forts to coastal lighthouses the 16-page guide directs you to interesting places around the state that you might have missed. This is one of the many helpful publications from THC that can be picked up at the historic sites or downloaded from their website. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any way to get the publications by mail.

Other October Events:

Chalk Walk Arts Festival
Oct. 1-2, Round Rock,

Lone Star Gourd Festival
Oct. 1-3, Fredericksburg,

Oct. 1-3, Fredericksburg,

POPPtober Festival
Oct. 1-3, Georgetown,

Sandcastle Days
Oct. 1-3, South Padre Island,

State Fair of Texas
Oct. 1-17, Dallas,

Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo
Oct. 1-17, Waco,

Texas Wine Month
Oct. 1-31, Various locations,

Honor, Courage, Commitment: Marine Corps Art, 1975-2018
Oct. 1-Jan. 2, 2022, Fredericksburg,

Boerne Book & Arts Fest
Oct. 2, Boerne,

Old Jail Exhibit
Oct. 2, Fredericksburg,

Creole Heritage Festival
Oct. 2, Houston,

Songwriters Serenade
Oct. 2, Schulenburg,

Oct. 2, West Columbia,

John Fairey Garden Open Days
Oct. 2, 9, 23, 30, Hempstead,

Pumpkin Patch
Oct. 2-31, Pipe Creek,

Fischer Hall Music Jam
Oct. 8, Fischer,

Crazy Water Festival
Oct. 8-9, Mineral Wells,

Oct. 8-10, Cuero,

Chinati Weekend
Oct. 8-10, Marfa,

Oct. 8-10, Rockport,

Ghost Tour
Oct. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, Georgetown,

Music in the Cave: Joseph Kuipers, a Cello Event
Oct. 9, Boerne,

Archeology Day
Oct. 9, La Grange,

Second Saturday at Heritage Village
Oct. 9, New Braunfels,

Burger Showdown 2.0
Oct. 9, San Antonio,

Nature Fest
Oct. 9, Surfside Beach,

Scarecrow Festival
Oct. 9-10, Chappell Hill,

Edom Art Festival
Oct 9-10, Edom,

Galveston Greek Festival
Oct. 9-10, Galveston,

Bayou City Art Festival
Oct. 9-10, Houston,

Oct. 9-10, New Braunfels,

Tri-City Gem and Mineral Show
Oct. 9-10, Temple,

Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch
Oct. 9-30, Medina,

Monarch Celebration at Wildseed Farms
Oct. 10, Fredericksburg,

Nathaniel Mayfield in Concert
Oct. 10, Fredericksburg,

Nitro Circus: You Got This Tour
Oct. 10, Round Rock,

Black History River Cruise
Oct. 10, San Antonio,

Revolution Film Festival
Oct. 14-16, San Angelo,

Oct. 15-16, Burnet,

Texas Bigfoot Conference
Oct. 15-16, Jefferson,

Czech Heritage Fest and Muziky
Oct. 15-16, La Grange,

Harvest Festival
Oct. 15-16, Woodville,

Texas SandFest
Oct. 15-17, Port Aransas,

Fort Concho Night Tours
Oct. 15, 23, San Angelo,

Oct. 16, Corsicana,

River Festival
Oct. 16, Kerrville,

Bird Banding
Oct. 16, Nov. 19, Lake Jackson,

Lavender Festival
Oct. 16, Stonewall,

Dia de los Muertos Festival
Oct. 16, Victoria,

Texas Arts and Music Festival
Oct. 16-17, Brenham,

Georgia O’Keefe, Photographer
Oct.17-Jan. 23, 2022, Houston,

Party Under the Bridge
Oct. 21, Wharton,

Food and Wine Fest
Oct. 21-23, Fredericksburg,

Williamson County Fair and Rodeo
Oct. 21-24, Taylor,

Island Oktoberfest
Oct. 22-24, Galveston,

Galveston Ghost Stories
Oct. 22, 23, 29, 30, Galveston,

Hogeye Festival
Oct. 23, Elgin,

Sesquicentennial Celebration
Oct. 23, Hearne,

Hot Pepper Festival
Oct. 23, Palestine,

Expression Session Surfing Contest
Oct. 23, Port Aransas,

Texas Country Reporter Festival
Oct. 23 Waxahachie,

Ghosts Along the Brazos
Oct. 23, West Columbia,

Texas Clay Festival
Oct. 23-24, Gruene,

Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show
Oct. 23-24, Fort Worth,

Dia de los Muertos Festival
Oct. 23-24, San Antonio,

Opal Lawrence Historical Park Saturday Tours
Oct. 23, Nov. 27, Mesquite,

Fall Antique Week
Oct. 25-30, Round Top,

Magnolia Silobration
Oct., 28-30, Waco,

Wings Over Dallas Airshow
Oct. 29-31, Dallas,

Wooden Boat Festival
Oct. 29-31, Port Aransas,

Music in the Cave: The Haunted Show
Oct. 30, Boerne,

Squared Silly
Oct. 30, Lampasas,

Llano River Pumpkin Float
Oct. 30, Llano,

Pecan Fest
Oct. 30, Seguin,

Bob Wills Fiddle Festival and Concert
Oct. 30-31, Greenville,

Train Show
Oct. 30-31, New Braunfels,

Texas Butterfly Festival
Oct. 30-Nov. 2, Mission,

Oct. 31-Jan. 30, 2022, Houston,

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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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Day Trips, Fischer Dance Hall, John Fairey Garden, Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas Historical Commission, Oktoberfest, State Fair of Texas

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