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, www.facebook.com/FischerDanceHall

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, www.jfgarden.org

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. East-Texas.com 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, www.roundrocktexas.gov/event/chalk-walk

Lone Star Gourd Festival
Oct. 1-3, Fredericksburg, www.texasgourdsociety.org

Oktoberfest
Oct. 1-3, Fredericksburg, www.oktoberfestinfbg.com

POPPtober Festival
Oct. 1-3, Georgetown, poppy.georgetown.org

Sandcastle Days
Oct. 1-3, South Padre Island, www.sandcastledays.com

State Fair of Texas
Oct. 1-17, Dallas, www.bigtex.com

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

Texas Wine Month
Oct. 1-31, Various locations, www.texaswinetrail.com

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

Boerne Book & Arts Fest
Oct. 2, Boerne, www.boernebookfest.com

Old Jail Exhibit
Oct. 2, Fredericksburg, www.pioneermuseum.net/old-jail.html

Creole Heritage Festival
Oct. 2, Houston, www.houstoncreolefest.com/houston-creole-heritage-festival

Songwriters Serenade
Oct. 2, Schulenburg, www.songwriterserenade.com

Hoggtoberfest
Oct. 2, West Columbia, www.thc.texas.gov/historic-sites/varner-hogg-plantation-state-historic-site

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

Pumpkin Patch
Oct. 2-31, Pipe Creek, www.pipecreekchristmastrees.com

Fischer Hall Music Jam
Oct. 8, Fischer, www.facebook.com/events/557647615353178/

Crazy Water Festival
Oct. 8-9, Mineral Wells, www.crazywaterfestival.org

Turkeyfest
Oct. 8-10, Cuero, www.turkeyfest.org

Chinati Weekend
Oct. 8-10, Marfa, www.chinati.org/chinati-weekend-open-house-2021

Seafair
Oct. 8-10, Rockport, www.rockport-fulton.org/seafair-home

Ghost Tour
Oct. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, Georgetown, williamsonmuseum.org/ghost-tours

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

Archeology Day
Oct. 9, La Grange, www.thc.texas.gov/historic-sites/monument-hill-state-historic-site

Second Saturday at Heritage Village
Oct. 9, New Braunfels, www.texashandmadefurniture.com/livinghistory

Burger Showdown 2.0
Oct. 9, San Antonio, www.facebook.com/events/2193814234094083

Nature Fest
Oct. 9, Surfside Beach, www.facebook.com/events/surfside-tx-bird-and-butterfly-trail/surfside-beach-nature-fest/2282004871882983

Scarecrow Festival
Oct. 9-10, Chappell Hill, www.chappellhillhistoricalsociety.com

Edom Art Festival
Oct 9-10, Edom, www.edomarts.com

Galveston Greek Festival
Oct. 9-10, Galveston, www.galvestongreekfestival.com

Bayou City Art Festival
Oct. 9-10, Houston, www.artcolonyassociation.org

Folkfest
Oct. 9-10, New Braunfels, www.texashandmadefurniture.com/folkfest

Tri-City Gem and Mineral Show
Oct. 9-10, Temple, www.dfarhie.wixsite.com/tcgms

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

Monarch Celebration at Wildseed Farms
Oct. 10, Fredericksburg, www.wildseedfarms.com

Nathaniel Mayfield in Concert
Oct. 10, Fredericksburg, www.fredericksburgmusicclub.com

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

Black History River Cruise
Oct. 10, San Antonio, saaacam.org/events

Revolution Film Festival
Oct. 14-16, San Angelo, www.sanangelorevolution.com

Utopiafest
Oct. 15-16, Burnet, www.utopiafest.com

Texas Bigfoot Conference
Oct. 15-16, Jefferson, www.facebook.com/TexasBigfootConference

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

Harvest Festival
Oct. 15-16, Woodville, www.heritage-village.org

Texas SandFest
Oct. 15-17, Port Aransas, www.texassandfest.org

Fort Concho Night Tours
Oct. 15, 23, San Angelo, www.fortconcho.com

AirSho
Oct. 16, Corsicana, www.coyotesquadron.org

River Festival
Oct. 16, Kerrville, www.kerrvilleriverfestival.org

Bird Banding
Oct. 16, Nov. 19, Lake Jackson, www.gcbo.org

Lavender Festival
Oct. 16, Stonewall, www.beckervineyards.com

Dia de los Muertos Festival
Oct. 16, Victoria, www.navemuseum.org

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

Georgia O’Keefe, Photographer
Oct.17-Jan. 23, 2022, Houston, www.mfah.org/exhibitions/georgia-okeeffe-photographer

Party Under the Bridge
Oct. 21, Wharton, www.whartonchamber.com

Food and Wine Fest
Oct. 21-23, Fredericksburg, www.fbgfoodandwinefest.com

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

Island Oktoberfest
Oct. 22-24, Galveston, www.galvestonoktoberfest.com

Galveston Ghost Stories
Oct. 22, 23, 29, 30, Galveston, www.galvestonhistory.org/calendar

Hogeye Festival
Oct. 23, Elgin, www.hogeyefestival.com

Sesquicentennial Celebration
Oct. 23, Hearne, www.facebook.com/hearenchamber

Hot Pepper Festival
Oct. 23, Palestine, www.facebook.com/hotpepperfestival

Expression Session Surfing Contest
Oct. 23, Port Aransas, www.portaransasmuseum.org

Texas Country Reporter Festival
Oct. 23 Waxahachie, www.texascountryreporter.com

Ghosts Along the Brazos
Oct. 23, West Columbia, www.thc.texas.gov/historic-sites/varner-hogg-plantation-state-historic-site

Texas Clay Festival
Oct. 23-24, Gruene, www.texasclayfestival.com

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

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

Opal Lawrence Historical Park Saturday Tours
Oct. 23, Nov. 27, Mesquite, www.cityofmesquite.com/201/Opal-Lawrence-Historical-Park

Fall Antique Week
Oct. 25-30, Round Top, www.roundtoptexasantiques.com

Magnolia Silobration
Oct., 28-30, Waco, www.magnolia.com

Wings Over Dallas Airshow
Oct. 29-31, Dallas, www.wingsoverdallas.org

Wooden Boat Festival
Oct. 29-31, Port Aransas, www.portaransasmuseum.org

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

Squared Silly
Oct. 30, Lampasas, www.visionlampasas.org

Llano River Pumpkin Float
Oct. 30, Llano, www.llanochamber.org/llano-events

Pecan Fest
Oct. 30, Seguin, www.seguingonuts.com

Bob Wills Fiddle Festival and Concert
Oct. 30-31, Greenville, www.facebook.com/bobwillsfiddlefest

Train Show
Oct. 30-31, New Braunfels, www.newbraunfelsrailroadmuseum.org

Texas Butterfly Festival
Oct. 30-Nov. 2, Mission, www.texasbutterflyfestival.com

Calder-Picasso
Oct. 31-Jan. 30, 2022, Houston, www.mfah.org/exhibitions/calder-picasso


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.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Day Trips
Day Trips & Beyond: October Events Roundup
Day Trips & Beyond: October Events Roundup
The weather’s ideal to learn about Bob Dylan or see hot air balloons

Gerald E. McLeod, Sept. 30, 2022

Day Trips & Beyond: September Events Roundup
Day Trips & Beyond: September Events Roundup
Find fall foliage and festivities all over Texas

Gerald E. McLeod, Sept. 6, 2022

More by Gerald E. McLeod
Day Trips: Rooftop Bars, San Antonio
Day Trips: Rooftop Bars, San Antonio
Catch a bird’s-eye view of the Alamo City

Sept. 30, 2022

Day Trips: The Vanishing Texana Museum, Jacksonville
Day Trips: The Vanishing Texana Museum, Jacksonville
Train ticket leads to museum demolition

Sept. 23, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Day Trips, Fischer Dance Hall, John Fairey Garden, Lost Maples State Natural Area, Texas Historical Commission, Oktoberfest, State Fair of Texas

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle