10 of the best fall festivals in or near – mySA

Fall in Texas is synonymous with football (go, UTSA Roadrunners), cooler weather and festival season. And the the best way to celebrate the decreasing temperatures is to explore fall festivals in and around San Antonio.

Often these festivities are celebrating more than the changing season, highlighting local cultural and culinary heritage. The family-friendly fests usually start in late September and take place through October and into early November. From mermaids to sausages to kolaches, keep reading for 10 uniquely fun Central Texas fall festivals. 

Editor’s Note: Since the dates and times for these annual festivals can vary per year, please verify the dates before traveling.

A variety of sweet kolaches from Kolache Shoppe.

A variety of sweet kolaches from Kolache Shoppe.

Courtesy of Carla Gomez

Kolache Fest, Hallettsville

Date: Sept. 24, 2022
Distance from downtown San Antonio: 106 miles
Admission: Free

Kolaches, a traditional Czech pastry brought to Texas by immigrants in the 19th century, have become a staple in the Texan diet. Every September, the small town of Hallettsville, located roughly halfway between Houston and San Antonio, hosts a one-day extravaganza to celebrate these delectable pastries. The festival kicks off early on Saturday morning with a 5K run followed by a parade and an afternoon packed full of activities at KC Hall, including food, arts and crafts vendors. A 42-domino tournament, car show and barbecue cook-off are a few of the fun-filled programs scheduled, too.

The Mermaid Capital of Texas Festival in San Marcos, TX takes places each fall. 

The Mermaid Capital of Texas Festival in San Marcos, TX takes places each fall. 

Courtesy of Mermaid Society SMTX

Mermaid Promenade and Street Faire, San Marcos

Date: Sept. 24, 2022
Distance from downtown San Antonio: 50 miles
Admission: Free

The college town of San Marcos lies along the banks of the San Marcos River, fed by the Edwards Aquifer, and was officially designated the Mermaid Capital of Texas in 2021. The Saturday-only event kicks off with a parade of eclectic floats donned with merfolk, marchers, dancers and music. The celebration continues afterward with the Downtown Street Faire with live music, food trucks and a juried art market. Keep an eye out for the 10 mermaid statues around town. The city’s obsession with mermaids started in the 1950s with Aquarena Springs, a theme park that featured mermaid-like women, known as “Aquamaids,” who dazzled audiences with their underwater ballet and synchronized swimming routines while breathing through a hose. The performances ended in the 1990s, but the love for merfolk continued — the Mermaid Society of Texas was formed in 2016. The month of September features a variety of other mermaid-inspired events and art fairs meant to celebrate arts, culture and foster river guardianship.

A piglet goes nose-to-noes with its mom on July 28, 2021. 

A piglet goes nose-to-noes with its mom on July 28, 2021. 

MediaNews Group/Orange County Re/MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Hogeye Festival, Elgin

Dates: Oct. 20-22, 2022
Distance from downtown San Antonio: 116 miles
Admission: Free

Every October, the Sausage Capital of Texas goes hog wild for it’s annual swine-themed family street festival. The “pigtivities” include an appearance by the Sowpremes, an infamous music group that rides in on Harleys, a barbecue pork contest and the Road Hog Car Show! Try your luck at Cow Patty Bingo or the ACME brick-throwing contest. Then, sample some of the local delicacy — Elgin Hog Guts Sausage. Kids can ride ponies, feed pigs and participate in art projects, too. There are also carnival rides, live music on three stages and art and craft vendors.

A close-up of a scarecrow by pumpkins.

A close-up of a scarecrow by pumpkins.

Jesse Alcala / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Scarecrow Festival, Chappell Hill

Dates: Oct. 8-9, 2022
Distance from downtown San Antonio: 160 miles
Admission: Free

For some family fun, don’t miss this scarecrow-themed event in downtown Chappell Hill. Originally started by The Chappell Hill Historical Society as a small-town antique festival, it has evolved to welcome fall to Washington County.  The annual lineup includes 400 vendors with a juried art and craft show that also includes food and live music.

Bite-sized desserts at the Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival.

Bite-sized desserts at the Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival.

Courtesy of Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival

Tasting Texas Wine + Food Festival, San Antonio

Dates: Oct. 27-30, 2022
Admission: Tickets can be purchased online.

San Antonians won’t have to travel far for this new culinary fall festival focused on showcasing culinary offerings from across the Lone Star State. Spread over four days, the downtown event will showcase over 100 renowned and up-and-coming chefs from Texas and other parts of the U.S. Join a tequila tasting along the San Antonio River Walk or pop by one of the ticketed curated nightly events featuring visiting chefs in some the city’s premier restaurants. The event is a partnership between Culinaria, Visit San Antonio and the James Beard Foundation. Proceeds will go toward the scholarship programs at the James Beard Foundation.

Dia De Los Muertos at La Villita.

Dia De Los Muertos at La Villita.

Courtesy of Louie Preciado, Visit San Antonio

Dia De Los Muertos, San Antonio

Dates: Oct. 29-30, 2022
Admission: Free

The Alamo City hosts the largest festival in the country to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead. This Latin tradition focuses on celebrating and sharing memories of departed loved ones. The event is always held on the last weekend of October at Hemisfair Park, the site of the 1968 World’s Fair. Activities include viewing ofrendas (altars), live music, art vendors, a procession, workshops and live poetry. Download the festival’s free app for the schedule, musical lineup, vendor map and altar voting. In addition to the main festival, there are other Day of the Dead celebrations across the city in October and November, including a colorful river parade of 20 elaborated decorated river barges. 

A box of raw pecan nuts for sale on a sunny day.

A box of raw pecan nuts for sale on a sunny day.

Ava_Marie/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Seguin Pecan Festival, Seguin

Dates: Oct. 30, 2022
Distance from downtown San Antonio: 36 miles
Admission: Free

Celebrate the official state nut of Texas, the pecan, during this action-packed weekend. After posing for a photo with the world’s largest pecan, join in the Get Crackin’ Contest to see who can crack as many whole pecans as possible in three minutes. Stop by the Seguin Art League’s Paint Out & Wet Paint Sale, an outdoor event where artists have two days to paint “anything Seguin,” before heading over to the pub crawl. Art and food vendors will also be on site. The town and many events are named after one of Sam Houston’s lieutenants, Colonel Juan N. Seguin, who later became mayor of San Antonio. Aside from pecans, the festival celebrates the heritage of the town, along with a celebration of life at Seguin’s gravesite.  

2019 Texas Book Festival

2019 Texas Book Festival

Courtesy of by Giant Noise PR for Texas Book Festival

Texas Book Festival, Austin

Dates: Nov. 5-6, 2022
Distance from downtown San Antonio: 80 miles
Admission: Free

Calling all bookworms! This weekend festival, located on the grounds of the Texas State Capital and Congress Avenue in Austin, is one of the nation’s premier literary events. Over 250 nationally and critically recognized authors attend annually for literary discussions about their books and related historical and cultural themes. The event also includes the Texas Teen Book Festival featuring conversations with authors of young adult literature. Former librarian and First Lady of Texas, Laura W. Bush, founded the event along with Mary Margaret Farabee and a dedicated team of volunteers to honor Texas authors and benefit the state’s libraries.

This November 2006 photo provided by the Wurstfest Association of New Braunfels shows sausage being prepared for sale at Wurstfest, an annual German festival held in New Braunfels, Texas. (AP Photo/Wurstfest Association of New Braunfels, K. Jessie Slaten)

This November 2006 photo provided by the Wurstfest Association of New Braunfels shows sausage being prepared for sale at Wurstfest, an annual German festival held in New Braunfels, Texas. (AP Photo/Wurstfest Association of New Braunfels, K. Jessie Slaten)

K. Jessie Slaten/AP

Wurstfest, New Braunfels, Texas

Dates: Nov. 4-13, 2022
Distance from downtown San Antonio: 32 miles
Admission: Tickets can be purchased online.

This sausage-themed festival began as a Saturday-only event in 1961, founded by a local veterinarian who was the city meat inspector, and has expanded to 10 days of festivities. The festival pays homage to the town’s German heritage with polka and accordion music, dancing and of course, delectable sausage. The Bavarian delicacies — schnitzel, potato pancakes, sauerkraut and pastries — all pair well with the abundance of ice-cold beer on tap. Test your strength at the beer mug holding contest. The festival typically draws a crowd of over 200,000 visitors — the 2019 festival currently holds the record for the highest visitation numbers with 233,000.

A competitor wearing a kilt and throwing a hammer. 

A competitor wearing a kilt and throwing a hammer. 

Gannet77/Getty Images

Scottish Gathering and Highlight Games, Salado

Dates: Nov. 11-13, 2022
Distance from downtown San Antonio: 145 miles
Admission: Tickets can be purchased at the gate or online in advance.

The oldest Scottish festival in Texas takes place in the small town of Salado every November to honor its’ original Scottish settlers. Scottish Clan Societies from across the U.S. are invited to attend the three-day event’s action-packed line-up. The festivities begin on Friday night with a Calling of the Clans, a torchlight ceremony, followed by a welcome dinner. The Highland athletic events — tossing the caber, hammer throw, weight toss and throw, and tossing the sheaf — are some of the main attractions. In addition, there are a variety of musical competitions from bagpipe to drumming.  Foodies will love the Bonniest Knees, Scottish Shortbread and Bonniest Beard Contests. Don’t miss the Scottish Dog Parade and Contest.

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