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.
Since 1920, the expansive fields of San Antonio Polo Club have hosted scores of dignified clients as they’ve learned and mastered the noble sport of polo atop equally noble steeds. The club’s staff inducts newbies into the elite ranks with beginner polo lessons, hosts more experienced players in open-play sessions, and challenges advanced patrons to compete in tournaments or to learn to play the horse’s role. Due to the club’s history and commitment to introducing polo to new generations, it has been featured in the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.
Some like it hot--and some like it Cajun. At the Louisiana Swamp Thing & Crawfish Festival, Austinites can test their iron stomachs against some of the fieriest fried food the bayou has to offer. About 7,000 pounds of crawfish will be given away over the course of the 11-hour event, while funk, blues, dixieland, and zydeco bands provide the entertainment. Those not in the mood for flaming-hot crustaceans will find catfish, bayou chicken, fried oysters, po'boys, frog legs, jambalaya, and anything else the cooks conjure up with their culinary voodoo.
With proceeds benefiting the local fire rescue, the Buda Fire Fest fills the weekend with a lineup of acclaimed musicians, family-friendly fun, and crowd-pleasing competitions. On Friday, the action-packed schedule kicks off at 8 p.m. with back-to-back performances from a lineup of country stars, including the Casey Donahew Band. Saturday’s all-day festivities entertain crowds with events such as the Ultimate Fire Fighter challenge, where competitors partake in feats of strength and agility, whereas local ladies see who can roar the hottest cartoon flames in the Miss Fire Fest pageant. Families pack up lawn chairs and blankets to sprawl in open outdoor seating for electrifying performances from Grammy-winners Little Joe & La Familia at 5 p.m on Sunday and lyrical tale-teller Roger Creager at 10 p.m. on Saturday. An array of activities entertains every taste, from the kids’ fun zone and junior contests to the cook-off, which sends the scent of prize-winning brisket, beans, and dragon-charred pork ribs through the park grounds.
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.
The ninth annual Wild Hog Explosion enthralls fair-goers of all ages with barbecue cook-offs, arts and crafts, and live music leading up to the main event: a rodeo-like competition in which teams of two race to catch a Texas wild hog and haul it across the finish line the fastest. Winners receive a commemorative belt buckle and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Attendants can cheer on junior pig-chasers as they pursue baby porkers, or patrol the food and activity booths before settling in for a mouthful of barbecue with a plate piled high with kielbasa sausage and wild hog.