Texas Summer Festivals Offer Ways To Beat The Heat, Or To Embrace It

Tump watermelons in Luling, or ride your bike in the blazing sun of Wichita Falls.

By Marika FlattJune 14, 2018 10:38 am,

I don’t have to tell you that summer is hot in Texas. But some Texas towns have found festivals are a good way to cool off.

In the central Texas city of Luling, June means the Thump. That’s the sound that a ripe watermelon makes when you tap on it – and that’s the fruit at the center of this fest. The Luling Thump began in 1954 as an annual celebration of the watermelon market. This year, it’s June 21 through 24. The event features music, vendors, a carnival, a car show and lots and lots of watermelon. One of the main events is a watermelon seed-spitting contest. The prize is $500. Think you’ve got what it takes? The Guinness World Record for seed-spitting hasn’t been broken since 1989. That seed flew more than 68 feet.

Another cool summer festival is all about jazz. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Balcones Heights Jazz Festival at Wonderland of the Americas Amphitheater in San Antonio. Each Friday in July, rain or shine, the fest features free entertainment from a notable lineup of local, national and international artists. This year’s performers include longtime festival favorites Joseph Vincelli and Slim Man. Outdoor seating on the amphitheater lawn is free on a first-come, first-serve basis. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

One relatively new summer festival has figured out a way to keep attendees cool. Float Fest in San Marcos is now in its fifth year. And it claims to be the only festival in the world to combine the Texas tradition of floating the river and live music. This year’s lineup includes performances by Tame Impala, Snoop Dogg, Modest Mouse, Run The Jewels, Glass Animals and more. The festival also offers guests the opportunity to camp on-site.

The two-day festival is set for July 21 and 22. And a river cleanup project will deploy boats and divers to make sure the San Marcos waters stay safe and clean before, during, and after the fest.

But one summer festival in Texas embraces the heat. I’m talking about the “Hotter’n Hell Hundred” in Wichita Falls. Organizers say it’s one of the oldest and largest cycling events in the country. Thousands of bike riders from all around the world come to Wichita Falls in the heat of late August to take part.

It started back in 1982 as a way to celebrate the city’s centennial – a 100-mile ride in the 100 degree heat. Now the ride has become an annual tradition and comes in several different lengths. This year’s event is August 23-26.

So whether you choose a festival to embrace the summer heat, or avoid it, there are lots of options across Texas.

You can learn more about these and other Texas destinations in the travel issue of Texas Lifestyle magazine.