Texas celebrates with lots of fun festivals before turning on the Christmas lights at the end of November.

The statewide woodworking competition features handcrafted furniture. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

In its 19th year, the Texas Furniture Makers Show has built a reputation of showcasing remarkable handcrafted art disguised as furniture. The juried show at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center features the work of the best of the best craftsmen from around the state. Some if it is inventive, all of it is beautiful, from dining room tables to rocking chairs and toys you wouldn’t let a child touch. Whether you enjoy art, custom furniture, woodworking, or just appreciate seeing the creativity burnished into each piece, this is one of the most special exhibitions of the year.
Nov. 1-30, Texas Furniture Makers Show, Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, Kerrville, 830/895-2911, www.kacckerrville.com/texas-furniture-makers-show

John and Diana Anderson in front of their new chili parlor (Photo courtesy JD’s Chili Parlor)

A loyal following of chili heads have watched JD’s Chili Parlor ascend from a small grocery store in Canyon Lake and stands at local farmers markets to an entrepreneurial incubator in San Antonio with their delicious bowls chili con carne. Diana and John Anderson now have a permanent al fresco location at the LocalSprout Food Hub east of downtown San Antonio. On Friday, Nov. 16, from 5-9pm they will celebrate their grand opening. For $25, guest get a five-course chili tour of the parlor’s most popular dishes. Reputed to be the first chili stand in San Antonio since the famous Chili Queens were ousted from Military Plaza, JD’s Chili Parlor is open for lunch and dinner from 11am to 6pm.
Nov. 16, JD’s Chili Parlor Grand Opening, 503 Chestnut St., San Antonio, 210/573-1092, www.fb.com/jdschiliparlor

Big pots of cowboy coffee are ready for the guests at the King Ranch Hand Breakfast. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

When Capt. Richard King came to Texas to pilot steamboats on the Rio Grande, he probably never envisioned that his name would become linked to the state in such a big way. The King Ranch has a permanent place in the upper echelons of the legend of Texas. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving the ranch invites the public to have a cowboy breakfast at its annual Ranch Hand Breakfast while watching the cowboy and cowgirls perform rodeo tricks, tell stories, and sing a song or two. As part of the annual Ranch Hand Festival in Kingsville, the breakfast is a great time to see parts of the legendary ranch that are usually off limits to visitors.
Nov. 17, Ranch Hand Breakfast, Kingsville, 800/333-5032, www.king-ranch.com/visit/special-events

Travel Notes:

The first pair of whooping cranes of the season returned to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Rockport on Oct. 22, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. The tallest birds in North America migrate to and from Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park each fall and spring. The only “natural” flock of whooping cranes numbers around 505 individuals with only 24 chicks fledged this summer. With recent rains increasing the availability of food, the birds have spread out along the coast.
www.tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/whooper

Fall is the best time to plant native Texas wildflowers. The ideal time to plant bluebonnet seeds is between Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 with best results if the seeds are sown no later than mid-November. Planting in fall allows the seeds time to germinate and develop root systems ready for spring flowers. For more information from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, go to www.wildflower.org/learn/how-to/grow-bluebonnets.

Abilene now claims the title of “Storybook Capital of America.” In 2015, the West Texas town was declared the “Storybook Capital of Texas” by the state Legislature. The new moniker became official when the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office approved the city’s application to trademark the slogan. Abilene is home the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival held annually in June, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, and 35 statues of beloved characters in the Storybook Sculpture Project.
www.abilenevisitors.com

Other November Events:

Texas Furniture Makers Show

Nov. 1-30, Kerrville, www.kacckerrville.com

Rockport Film Festival

Nov. 1-4, Rockport, www.rockportfilmfestival.com

Lost River Film Fest

Nov. 1-4, San Marcos, www.lostriverfilmfest.org

Say Si Muertitos Fest

Nov. 2-3, San Antonio, www.saysi.org/muertitos-fest

UtopiaFest

Nov. 2-4, Burnet, www.utopiafest.com

Fall Rose Festival

Nov. 2-4, Independence, www.antiqueroseemporium.com

Wurstfest

Nov. 2-11, New Braunfels, www.wurstfest.com

Discovering the Passionate Films of Luchino Visconti

Nov. 2-Jan. 13, 2019, Houston, www.mfah.org/calendar/series/discovering-the-passionate-films-of-luchino-visconti

Austin Town

Nov. 3, Angleton, www.bchm.org

Texas Troubadour Songwriter Classic

Nov. 3, Clifton, www.bosqueartscenter.org

Farm to Table on the Square

Nov. 3, Waxahachie, www.downtownwaxahachie.com

Texas Butterfly Festival

Nov. 3-6, Mission, www.texasbutterflyfestival.com

Lone Star Film Festival

Nov. 7-11, Fort Worth, www.lonestarfilmfestival.com

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival

Nov. 7-11, Harlingen, www.rgvbf.org

International Quilt Festival

Nov. 8-11, Houston, www.quilts.com

Cinema Arts Festival

Nov. 8-12, Houston, www.hcaf18.org

Heroes and Hot Rods Car Show

Nov. 9-10, Bastrop, www.bastropareacruisers.com

Kid ’n’ Ewe and Lamas [sic] Too Fiber Festival

Nov. 9-10, Kerrville, www.kidnewe.com

Heirloom Rubber Stamp & Paper Arts Festival

Nov. 9-10, New Braunfels, www.heirloompro.com

Fischer Fest

Nov. 9-11, Fischer, www.fischerfest.org

Scottish Gathering & Highland Games

Nov. 9-11, Salado, www.saladoscottishfestival.com

Novemberfest

Nov. 10, Alvin, www.alvinrotary.org

Books on the Bosque

Nov. 10, Clifton, www.bosqueartcenter.org

Fort Martin Scott Treaty Day

Nov. 10, Fredericksburg, www.ftmartinscott.org

Heritage Syrup Festival

Nov. 10, Henderson, www.visithendersontx.com

World Art Car Day

Nov. 10, Houston, www.saintarnold.com/world-art-car-day

Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival

Nov. 10-11, San Antonio, www.luminariasa.org

Heritage Festival

Nov. 10-11, Santa Fe, www.santafetexaschamber.com

Veterans Day Parade

Nov. 11, Fredericksburg, www.visitfredericksburgtx.com

East Texas Pipe Organ Festival

Nov. 11-15, Kilgore, www.easttexaspipeorganfestival.com

Henry Smith Day

Nov. 14, Brazoria, www.brazoriahf.org

Festival of Cranes

Nov. 14-17, San Antonio, N.M., www.friendsofbosquedelapache.org

Come and Taste It

Nov. 15, Gruene, www.grapevineingruene.com

Reel East Texas Film Festival

Nov. 15-17, Kilgore, www.reeleasttexas.com

Pioneer Days

Nov. 16-18, Cleburne, www.jcchisholmtrail.com

Ranch Hand Weekend

Nov. 16-18, Kingsville, www.ranchhandfestival.com

Wiehnachtsmarkt

Nov. 16-18, New Braunfels, www.sophienburg.com

Fall Fiber Fiesta

Nov. 16-18, Santa Fe, N.M., www.evfac.org/fall-fiber-fiesta-2018

Williamson Creek School Open House

Nov. 17, Gillespie County, www.historicschools.org

Ranch Hand Breakfast

Nov. 17, Kingsville, www.king-ranch.com

Living History Saturday

Nov. 17, Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, www.tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/washington-on-the-brazos

North Pole Flyer

Nov. 17-18, 24-25, Cedar Park, www.austinsteamtrain.org

Gruene Market Days

Nov. 17-18, Gruene, www.gruenemarketdays.com

Sacred Springs Powwow

Nov. 17-18, San Marcos, www.sspowwow.com

Polar Express Train Ride

Nov. 17-Dec. 27, Palestine, www.texasstaterailroad.net

Rodica and Friends in Concert

Nov. 18, Fredericksburg, www.fredericksburgmusicclub.com

Charreada

Nov. 18, San Antonio, www.sacharros.org

Thankful for Nature Days

Nov. 19-21, Round Mountain, www.westcave.org

Homestead Fair

Nov. 23-24, Waco, www.homesteadfair.com

Chicken Farm Art Center Annual Open House

Nov. 23-25, San Angelo, www.chickenfarmartcenter.com

Eisbahn Outdoor Ice Skating

Nov. 23-Jan. 1, 2019, Fredericksburg, www.skateinfred.com

Christmas in Comfort

Nov. 24, Comfort, www.comfort-texas.com

Christmas Arts & Crafts Show

Nov. 24, Luling, www.discoverluling.com

Walk Through the Wetlands

Nov. 26, San Antonio, http://mitchelllake.audubon.org

Texas Dance Hall Preservation Photo Exhibit

Nov. 26-Jan. 31, 2019, La Grange, www.czechtexas.org

Wassail Weekend

Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Denton, www.dentonmainstreet.org

Dickens on the Strand

Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Galveston, www.galvestonhistory.org

Christkindlmarkt

Nov. 30-Dec. 1, New Braunfels, www.ckmnbtx.org

Bethlehem Revisited

Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2, 7-9, Waxahachie, www.waxahachiecvb.com

Blanco County Courthouse, Johnson City, draped in thousands of lights (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

Christmas Light Displays

12 Days of Christmas at Night

Nov. 9-Dec. 31, Dallas, www.dallasarboretum.org

Walkway of Lights

Nov. 16-Dec. 26, Marble Falls, www.marblefalls.org

Festival of Lights

Nov. 17-Jan. 6, 2019, Galveston, www.moodygardens.com

Whistle Stop Christmas

Nov. 20-Dec. 31, Cleburne, www.whistlestopchristmas.org

Lighted Yule Trail

Nov. 21-Jan. 1, 2019, Luling, www.lulingmainstreet.com

Dancing Lights of Mill Pond – Christmas Extravaganza

Nov. 22-Jan. 5, 2019, San Saba, www.sansabachamber.org

Lighting of Community Christmas Tree and German Pyramid

Nov. 23, Fredericksburg, www.visitfredericksburgtx.com

Lighting of the Square

Nov. 23, Georgetown, www.visitgeorgetown.com

Holiday River Parade

Nov. 23, San Antonio, www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/events

Lost Pines Christmas

Nov. 23-Dec. 31, Bastrop, www.lostpineschristmas.com

Starry Starry Nights Lighted Christmas Park

Nov. 23-Dec. 31, Llano, www.llanostarrystarrynights.com

Louisiana Trail of Lights

Nov. 23-Jan. 1, 2019, Shreveport-Bossier, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe
Natchitoches, Alexandria/Pineville, La., www.holidaytrailoflights.com

Holiday Lights on the River Walk

Nov. 23-Jan.4, 2019, San Antonio, www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/events

Lights Spectacular

Nov. 23-Jan. 6, 2019, Johnson City, www.johnsoncitytexas.info/lights-spectacular.html

Concho Christmas Celebration

Nov. 30-Dec. 31, San Angelo, www.conchochristmascelebration.com

Fiesta de las Luminarias

Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Dec. 7-9, 14-16, San Antonio, www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/events


Gerald E. 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.

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