Since 1954, people have been coming out to Luling during a Thursday through Sunday in June for the annual Watermelon Thump. The festival draws an estimated 30,000 people to this small town of 5,000, where attendees enjoy live music, a parade, car show, carnival, children’s activities, and watermelon beer and wine coolers in the beer garden. The highlights of the festival, though, include the crowning of the Watermelon Thump Queen, the champion watermelon auction, and the world championship watermelon seed spitting competition.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right? At least that’s what the folks in Clute, Texas believe as they celebrate the pesky mosquito at the Great Texas Mosquito Festival the last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of July each year. Since 1981, the festival has drawn in crowds for mosquito calling competitions, carnival rides, the Mosquito Chase 5K Run, cook-off competitions, live music, and games like washer and horseshoe pitching. One of the best parts of the festival is the Mosquito Legs competitions, where contestants battle to see who has the skinniest, most mosquito-like legs.
Every Labor Day weekend since 1976, the town of West has celebrated the area’s Czech heritage with Westfest. Known as The Czech Heritage Capital of Texas, the area’s celebration includes the Kolache 5000 Race, cultural dance performances, a polka mass, carnival, helicopter rides, live music, and authentic Czech food like beer bread sandwiches, kolaches, and pierogies. Contests include horseshoe and washer pitching, and, of course, kolache eating.
Since 1978, hot air balloons have been lighting up the sky over Longview, Texas. The Great Texas Balloon Race earned the town the official designation as The Balloon Capital of Texas, and is a world-class event attracting some of the best pilots from around the world. Balloon flights over the city commence on Friday morning and continue through Sunday, with Balloon Glows, on Friday and Saturday night, entertaining the crowds with vivid displays of color. Live concerts follow, and a kids’ area allows children to play. Arts and crafts booths are available, as well as food vendors.
Held in The Peach Capital of Texas, this festival celebrates one of the finest fruits of summer on the second Saturday in July. More than 40,000 people attend this one-day festival in Weatherford’s downtown square, and events include the Peach Pedal Bike Ride with 28-, 39-, and 61-mile options (45, 62, and 98 kilometers), 42 Domino Tournament, and the Parker County Peach Pageant, where newborns to adults can be crowned as Miss Baby Peach or Miss Peach Queen. Live music and more than 200 vendors are on-site for shopping and entertainment. Fresh peaches are available for purchase, with food vendors selling tasty items like homemade peach ice cream and refreshing peach juleps.