The eclectic organizers at Red Frog Events take a lighthearted and fun-focused approach to building their adventurous events, such as obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, and themed bar crawls, to connect city dwellers with local neighborhoods. Their creative, interactive offerings include regularly occurring competitions such as the Warrior Dash, Great Urban Race, and Beach Dash, the proceeds from which usually benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Like the idea of having a pet rock, their events have grown more popular annually, and frequently spring up in cities across the United States.
Spectators walk along winding paths shaded by trees to explore the Sherwood Forest Faire's recreation of the Renaissance, complete with more than 100 live performances a day, 150 independent merchants, and a jousting arena. Spectators can engage in anachronistic adventure while interacting with costumed bards and actors patrolling the park. Trainers command falcons to swoop over audience members’ heads and snatch historically inaccurate cell phones during the Birds of Prey show. Armored knights face off during the joust tournament to determine who is better at keeping their seat, which the winners put up for grabs in a game of musical chairs for the title of champion.
Sweets are elevated to an art form at That Takes the Cake Sugar Art Show & Cake Competition. Bringing together expert bakers and sugar artists from across the state, the two-day event lets visitors stalk through an armada of colorful pastry masterpieces shaped like dragons, cheetahs, or cartoon characters. The competition breaks down its entrants into dozens of divisions and styles, all of which are judged according to creativity, theme, and artistry. A separate tasting competition includes entrants in the categories of angel-food cakes, moon pies, candies, and cookies.
Admirers of the sucrose arts can also learn at the feet of celebrity bakers by purchasing one of several group lessons in subjects such as cut relief, figure modeling, and how best to conceal a hacksaw inside a bundt cake.
Patrons descend upon the Buda Beer and Polka Fest to set eardrums in motion with lively accordion music and indulge taste buds in delectable German eats. Visitors roam the park imbibing in traditional German revelry as they fill their bellies with authentic cuisine such as schweinshaxe—the Bavarian-favorite roasted ham hock—or apfelküchle—a succulent dessert of fried apple cakes. An expansive pavilion shelters the stage from rainy weather and the sun's piercing gaze as traditional dancers do the hula to polka bands' spirited Bavarian oompah beats churned out in 2/4 time. In addition to German-inspired entertainment, such as arts and crafts, a gut-busting sausage-eating competition challenges visitors' stomach capacity and the sexiest-fräulein-costume contest encourages guests to don tantalizing lederhosen get-ups or ankle-revealing burlap sacks to impress the panel of judges.
For 12 hours, Thunderhill Raceway transforms into a frenzied dance party with dazzling light shows for the Euphoria Music Festival. Its lineup features 48 electronic dance artists from around the world spread across four stages. Check out shows from artists such as Roger Shah, White Panda, and Darth & Vader, who blast their mixes as screens and intelligent lighting add visual accompaniment. Go-go dancers and stage performers gyrate to the thudding bass of LA Riots' set as prismatic lasers shoot through the sky to project dirty limericks onto the moon. If you need a break from dancing, feel free to stop by face- and body-painting booths, interactive art installations, and a vendor's village.
For three days in November, the Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas Market brings Olde World Christmas spirit to New Braunfels. Vendors set up cheery red and green booths in the German-style holiday market, where they sell homemade wares such as aromatic roasted nuts, unique toys, vintage cameos, and homemade toffee. Nearby, authors sit ready to discuss their novels or sing their favorite Christmas carols at the on-site book fair and a jolly Santa eats breakfast with kids of all ages. To keep guests warm during the event, Sophie's Cafe serves up warm mugs of soup paired with sandwiches or tempting desserts.
Proceeds from the event benefit The Sophienburg Museum and Archives, which serves as the hub for immigration ship logs, photos, and documents of the first German Americans who found their way to Texas.