There is a region of Texas that is not the Texas people know from movies and television, it defies stereotypes. For starters, it has a strong German heritage mixed with Spanish and Mexican influences. But it’s still in Texas, so there are abandoned towns from early pioneers, BBQ restaurants with open pits, country music and cowboy boots all encased in a geographical area that produces wineries, natural springs with fresh table water, lavender fields, peach groves and canyons covered with maple trees.
It’s called the Texas Hill Country and it does everything with a spin. And fall festivals are no different. Think biker meet-ups and mead tastings, scarecrow invasions, and local wine (lots of local wine).
Set all stereotypes aside, this is fall, Hill-Country style.
Step Aside Cider
Fun fact, Texas makes wine. Funner fact, some Texas vineyards make mead. Quick refresher, mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and just about every ancient civilization made it, from Norsemen to the ancient Greeks, Africans, Chinese– you name it, they made mead.
Technically, mead is neither wine nor beer. It’s in its own alcoholic category with its own range of flavors. And, like every venture into the culinary unknown, it’s best to taste for yourself. One wine purveyor is doing just that, Texas Vineyards & Beyond is hosting a fall mead tasting from a local “meadery.” Is honey wine set to be the new hard apple cider? Tough to say, but the Hill Country is getting an early foot in the door.
Stay out of this town if scarecrows creep you out. For the entire month of October, businesses and locals deck out Comfort, Texas with scores of scarecrows. It’s called the scarecrow invasion and these stuffed straw creations find their way just about everywhere, including propped up in trees, playing in bands, swinging on porch swings and enjoying local fare.
Texas Dominoes and German Beer
In true Texas fashion Fredericksburg, Texas melds “the national game of Texas” with the town’s German roots. During Oktoberfest, players try their luck at the Texas 42 domino tournament. Fredericksburg has a German heritage going back 160 years, when German immigrants settled in the area. Oktoberfest in the town today celebrates with all the usual festivities, but adds that unique Texas twist.
Biking into Fall
Nothing says fall like biker rallies– no really. Bikers gather yearly in Luckenbach, Texas, for the harvest classic, a fall festival that benefits the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer program of Any Baby Can. That’s right, bikers use their fall to support the lives of families battling childhood cancer. You can feel bad now about celebrating the season with pumpkin selfies and beer halls.
But beyond using the season for a good cause, the event is a classic example of Hill Country culture. Luckenbach has no permanent population. It’s basically a western ghost town complete with a decommissioned post office and general store. But locals in the region know about this little pitstop and on almost any evening, you can wander in and find live music and cold beer. Community traditions live on in the Hill Country, and fall festivals are no exception.