Day Trips & Beyond: June Events Roundup

Summer travel opportunities and news from all over Texas

June is upon us and there’s lots to talk about and do across the state, from seeing ancient Roman art to finding Aunt Rosie’s missing teeth.

Laura Young with Portrait of a Man. Found in an Austin Goodwill store, the Roman bust turned out to be a centuries-old work of art removed from a Bavarian villa after World War II. It is on view at the San Antonio Museum of Art for a year. (Courtesy of SAMA / Laura Young)

This old head. It’s not often that a purchase at a Goodwill store turns out to be a rare work of art, but when it does it is big news.

In 2018, Austin-based art collector Laura Young purchased a centuries-old stone sculpture of a man’s head that once belonged to King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The Roman bust had resided in the courtyard of the Pompejanum, a full-scale replica of a villa from Pompeii built by the King in Aschaffenburg, Germany. The royal palace was badly damaged during World War II, but was restored in 1994 as a museum.

How the Roman bust got to a Texas Goodwill store is anybody’s guess. After the war the U.S. Army had several military installations in Aschaffenburg, and most likely a returning soldier brought the sculpture to Texas.

The bust may portray a son of Pompey the Great (106-48BC), who was defeated in a civil war by Julius Caesar. One thing is for sure, it is on its way back to Germany. After a series of negotiations with diplomats and art historians, Young agreed to repatriate the sculpture that she paid $34.99 to its rightful owner.

The Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens, and Lakes agreed to let the San Antonio Museum of Art show the bust for a year. Housed in the historic former Lone Star Brewery, the museum’s collection spans 5,000 years of history from Greek and Roman antiques to contemporary art. The Nelson A. Rockefeller Latin American Art wing includes an astonishing collection of pre-Columbian and folk art. Timed tickets at $20 for adults are required.
Through May 21, 2023, first-century Roman bust, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, samuseum.org

Since 2016, Meow Wolf’s The House of Eternal Return has been one of the top tourist attractions in Santa Fe, N.M. Two new Meow Wolf portals are coming to Texas. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Barking cats. For years, rumors have circulated that Austin will get a version of Meow Wolf, the Santa Fe, N.M., folk-art-inspired theme park. Alas, it is not to be, anytime soon anyway. But the DIY artist collective announced that Grapevine and Houston will soon join the network of Meow Wolf portals in Las Vegas, Nev., and Denver, Colo.

Opening sometime in 2023, Meow Wolf-Grapevine will join Legoland Discovery Center and Sea Life Aquarium in the Grapevine Mills mall. A fifth permanent location will open in the Fifth Ward of Houston in 2024.

The collection of nonestablishment artists first came together in 2008 with quirky standalone art projects around Santa Fe. The group has done several pop-up shows around Texas including at last year’s South by Southwest. In 2016, the cooperative opened The House of Eternal Return in an empty bowling alley with financial support of novelist George R.R. Martin, among others.

Meow Wolf is famous for its immersive and hands-on art installations that appeal to all ages. Multiple local artists contribute their vision to the theme park atmosphere that is an art museum inside a maze with a concert venue deep in its bowels.
2023/2024, Meow Wolf Texas, Grapevine/Houston. meowwolf.com.

Aunt Rosie’s teeth are missing (Courtesy of Freestone County Historical Museum)

A bite of crime. There is no honor among thieves. The Freestone County Historical Museum in Fairfield pleaded on social media for whoever pocketed Aunt Rosie’s teeth from the display to return them. “No questions asked.”

The eight-building museum complex a short distance from I-45 includes an 1881 jail, 1850s log cabins, the 1908 Littlejohn farmhouse, antique telephone museum, bootleggers church, 1936 Ford fire truck, extensive artifact collection, genealogy library, and gift shop. The false teeth and a small metal pill box were pilfered from the Littlejohn House.

A stroll through the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts and historically significant buildings is sure to uncover some surprises. The antique telephone collection alone is worth a visit.
Wed. & Fri.-Sat., 10am-5pm. Freestone County Historical Museum, 302 E. Main, Fairfield, 903/389-3738. freestonecomuseum.com.

Travel Notes

Egg-citing. Summertime means it’s time for sea turtles to make their arduous journey across Texas beaches to lay clutches of eggs in the dunes. Sun worshipers and anglers on the coast are asked to immediately notify turtle patrols, law enforcement officers, or call 866/TURTLE-5 (866/887-8535) if they find a nesting sea turtle, see turtle tracks, or discover hatchlings.

A turtle hatchling at Padre Island National Seashore (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Hatchling season. A Sea Turtle Nest Patrol discovered a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nest, an endangered species, containing 107 eggs at Galveston Island State Park. This was the first nest found at the park since 2012, and only the third since the Turtle Patrol began keeping record. This is shaping up to be a good year for sea turtles along the Texas coast. Patrols have already found 84 nests. The Galveston eggs were transferred to incubators at Padre Island National Seashore outside of Corpus Christi. Hatchlings will be released beginning sometime between June 10 and 14. For information about releases that are open to the public call the Hatchling Hotline at 361/949-7163 or go to the park’s Facebook page.

Hide-and-seek. As you travel this summer, be on the lookout for hand-sized bronze acorns that Brad Oldham, the artist behind Dallas’ Traveling Man sculptures and other works of public art, has hidden in plain sight around the world. Only 14 of the 100 acorns, called Great Potential, have been found. For more information, go to bradoldham.com/20th-anniversary.

Singing the blues. The good news is Texas blueberry farms are reporting good crops. The bad news is the little orbs from heaven are running a little late in being ready. Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm outside of Conroe, the oldest pick-your-own blueberry farm in Texas, says the berries will possibly be ripe by the week of June 4. Blueberry Hill Farms near Edom guesses that the berries will be ready by the second week in June. DeZavala Vineyard Sand Pit Enterprises outside of Franklin has fresh vegetables already, and thinks their blueberries will be ready to pick in the first week of June. And outside of Caldwell, Kingsbury Blueberry Farm is already letting PYO guests into the fields by appointment. There’s nothing sweeter than fresh blueberries right off the vine normally picked from Memorial Day to late July. The berries are running a little late this year, so it’s best to call the farm before making the drive. And if you’re a big fan of all things blue, check out the Texas Blueberry Festival in Nacogdoches on June 11.

Luckenbach news. This just in from the good folk carrying on Hondo Crouch’s legacy in the Hill Country: “Our legendary music mecca, Luckenbach Texas, is being challenged by a developer who is actively working to build a mega-development and distillery that endangers the magic and ecology of Luckenbach. Luckenbach, the nearby community, and environmentalists want you to join us in letting the developer know: ‘Much obliged, but no thank you.’” Go to the legendary dance hall’s web page and leave your favorite #LongLiveLuckenbach story to be posted on the virtual message board.

And finally. An 18-year-old boy too young to buy tobacco or alcohol walked into Oasis Outback, a gun shop, restaurant, and clothing boutique in Uvalde, and purchased two semi-automatic assault-style rifles on two occasions soon after his 18th birthday. He also procured at least 1,600 rounds of ammunition and dozens of 30-round magazines. The result was 19 grade schoolers and two teachers dead and 17 wounded. Gov. Abbott is right; it could have been worse: The shooter reportedly still had at least 172 bullets inside the school when police finally killed him. Worse still, he could have had multiple 100-round magazines.

Volunteers from around the state have visited Uvalde to assist with healing from this tragedy. Many organizations are seeking donations; find some here.

Other June Events:

Get sandcastle-building lessons on Saturdays in Galveston

Brown County Fair
June 1-5, Brownwood, browncountyfairandrodeo.com

Kerrville Folk Festival
June 1-12, Kerrville, kerrvillefolkfestival.org

Juneteenth Celebration
June 1-20, Galveston, visitgalveston.com

“Sons of Charlie Russell: The Cowboy Artist of America”
June 1-Sept. 5, San Antonio, briscoemuseum.org/sons

Tom-Tom Festival
June 2-4, Yoakum, yoakumareachamber.com

Hill Country Film Festival
June 2-5, Fredericksburg, hillcountryff.com

Vaudeville Variety Show
June 2-5, Lockhart, mygbt.org

Texas Music Revolution
June 3-4, McKinney, mckinneytexas.org/1759/texas-music-revolution

Moo-La Fest
June 3-4, Stephenville, visitstephenville.com

Food Truck Championship of Texas
June 4, Graham, foodtruckchampionshipoftexas.com

Houston Oyster & Seafest
June 4, Houston, galvbayevents.org

28th Anniversary Party
June 4, Houston, saintarnold.com/28th-anniversary-party

Go Bananas!
June 4, Houston, hbg.org

Texas Heritage Day
June 4, Llano, llanochamber.org/llano-events/llano-texas-heritage-day

Fishing Day at LBJ State Park
June 4, Stonewall, tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/lyndon-b-johnson

Billy the Kid Festival
June 4-5, San Elizario, billythekidfestival.com

Bach Festival
June 4-11, Victoria, victoriabachfestival.org

Free Sandcastle Building Lessons
June 4, 11, 18, 25, Galveston, visitgalveston.com

Mesquite Championship Rodeo
June 4-Aug. 27, Mesquite, mesquiterodeo.com

Crider’s Rodeo and Dancehall
June 4-Sept. 3, Hunt, cridersrandd.com

Music Festival
June 5-July 17, Round Top, festivalhill.org

Boerne Village Band Concert
June 7, Boerne, ci.boerne.tx.us/1104/concerts-in-the-park

Children’s Art & Literacy Festival
June 9-11, Abilene, abilenecalf.com

Chisholm Trail Roundup
June 9-11, Lockhart, chisholmtrailroundup.com

Texas State Square and Round Dance Festival
June 9-12, Temple, squaredancetx.com

Juneteenth Celebration
June 10-11, Elgin, elgintx.com/194/juneteenth-festival

Thomas Michael Riley Music Festival
June 10-11, Luckenbach, luckenbachtexas.com

Llano Volunteer Fire Department Barbecue Cook-Off
June 10-11, Llano, fb.com/llanovfdannualbbqcookoff

Quanah Parker Medicine Mounds Gathering
June 10-11, Quanah, quanahparker.org

Lavender Festival
June 10-12, Blanco, blancolavenderfest.com

Fiesta Noche del Rio
June 10-Aug. 6, San Antonio, fiestanochesa.com

Tony Parker’s Heroes and Villains
June 10-Sept. 4, San Antonio, samuseum.org

Czech Kolache Klobase Festival
June 11, East Bernard, kkfest.com

Pride in Bloom
June 11, Dallas, dallasarboretum.org/event/pride-in-bloom

Tomato Fest
June 11, Jacksonville, jacksonvilletexas.com/tomato-fest

Blueberry Festival
June 11, Nacogdoches, texasblueberryfestival.com

Riverside Pride
June 11, New Braunfels, riversidepridetx.org

FolkFest
June 11, New Braunfels, texashandmadefurniture.com

59th Texas Water Safari
June 11, San Marcos, texaswatersafari.org

Multicultural Festival
June 12, Alpine, alpinemulticulturalfestival.weebly.com

Pecan Creek School Open House
June 12, Gillespie County, historicschools.org

Second Saturdays With Steve
June 12, San Felipe, thc.texas.gov/historic-sites/san-felipe-de-austin-state-historic-site

Freestone County Fair and Rodeo
June 13-18, Fairfield, fcfar.org

Come and Taste It
June 16, Gruene, grapevineingruene.com

Peach JAMboree and Rodeo
June 16-18, Stonewall, stonewalltexas.com/peach-jamboree

Juneteenth Unity Weekend
June 16-19, Dallas, dallassouthernpride.com

Agave Festival
June 16-19, Marfa, agavemarfa.com

Audie Murphy Day
June 17-18, Farmerville, fb.com/audiemurphyday

Okie Noodling Tournament and Festival
June 17-18, Pauls Valley, Okla., okienoodling.com

Bentonville Bike Fest
June 17-19, Bentonville, Ark., bentonvillebikefest.com

See who is crowned "Thump Queen" on Thursday during Luling's Watermelon Thump, June 23-26

Great Texas Balloon Race
June 17-19, Longview, greattexasballoonrace.com

TexasFest Dallas
June 18, Little Elm, texasfestdallas.com

Salado Spring Craft Beer Festival
June 18, Salado, barrowbrewing.com/salado-springs-beer-fest

Dogwood Jamboree
June 18, Palestine, dogwoodjamboree.com

Rattlesnake Gravel Grind
June 18, Sweetwater, rattlesnakegravelgrind.bike

Eastside Market
June 19, Waco, eastsidemarketwtx.com

Women, Aviation, and WW II
June 20-Aug. 12, Irving, irvingarchivesandmuseum.com

Watermelon Thump
June 23-26, Luling, watermelonthump.com

Jim Schlather Day
June 23, Gruene, gruenetexas.com/frankday.php

Black History River Cruise
June 24, San Antonio, saaacam.org

Bison Calf Tour
June 25, Fredericksburg, roamranch.com

Pride Celebration
June 25, Houston, pridehouston.org/celebration

Pride Festival
June 25, Taylor, taylorpride.org

As You Like It
June 26, Winedale, liberalarts.utexas.edu/winedale


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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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Day Trips, Laura Young, Roman bust, San Antonio Museum of Art, Meow Wolf, Freestone County Historical Museum, sea turtles, Brad Oldham, Great Potential acorns, blueberry farms, Luckenbach, Uvalde

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