It’s arguably the best festival month, assuming a good weather break as this year’s Yamboree mostly enjoyed.
Many others apparently agree. Several fall festivals have much in common with the Yamboree but each has its own unique touch.
The Floresville Peanut Festival, for example, was held Oct. 5-9 with parades, street dances, arts and crafts, queen’s coronation and carnival, (It began in 1938 when Elizabeth Sheehy was the first queen and a future governor, John Connally, was the first king,)
The Texas Rice Festival in Winnie, Chambers County, honors rice farming with all those events and also has a longhorn show, open horse show, antique car show, rice cooking contest and features food made with rice and flavors of Cajun culture.
THE SEAT OF Chambers County on the upper Texas coast is Anahuac, where the annual Gatorfest was held Sept. 10-12. It, too, has the usual attractions such as musical entertainment, food booths, bike tour, a running event, and it hosts a beer garden.
A musical headliner this year was Cory Morrow, the same singer/songwriter who was the main attraction at the Yamboree Barn Dance Saturday night.
The Gatorfest main event was the Great Texas Alligator Roundup. The festival coincides with the opening of the 20-day alligator season in Texas and hunters bring in their catches, some more than 13 feet long, to compete for cash prizes.
The food booths include alligator prepared in a variety of ways.
According to a Houston Chronicle story on Oct. 7 an educated guess has it that 400,000 alligators may live in Texas, and they could be found in almost any piece of water. (A few years ago The Mirror was called to photograph an alligator that had been hit by a car after he had come up from a creek between Ore City and Diana.)
The Rev. Richard Laster, new this year as pastor of Gilmer’s First United Methodist Church, was familiar with the Gatorfest, having lived in Anahuac, and he naturally expected to find some (gatorless) similarities as he took in his first Yamboree.
But he was not prepared for the lavish beauty of the queen’s coronation pageant, he told his concgregation in complimentary remarks at the Sunday morning service.
SOME OF THE other notable festivals this fall:
The Cuero Turkeyfest is held the second weekend of October with the usual family entertainment along with the final heat in the “Great Gobbler Gallop” turkey race, a jalepeno eating contest, Ruby’s Great Guadalupe River Race, turkey calling contest, egg hunt and egg decorating contest.
Marshall’s FireAnt Festival, was held Oct. 9 to make fun of the pesky fire ant with zany events such as a fire ant calling contest; rubber chicken chunking; gurning (ugly face-making); a diaper derby, and a men’s Crazy Legs contest.
The 50th annual Wurstfest in New Braunfels, a 10-day slaute to the sausage indusry, willopen Oct. 29 with German culture and Texas fun on tap.
AND THEN THERE will be the 44th annual Original Terlingua International Frank X. Tolbert - Wick Fowler Championship Chili Cookoff, put on by the Chili Appreciation Society International, Inc. to promote chili and raise money for charity in that Big Bend community Nov. 4-6.
According to the website, www.chili.org, the organizers “seek to educate the public about the historic and cultural significance of chili — an indigenous American tradition. We are working for the adoption of chili as the National Food of the United States.”
It seems only yesterday, though it’s been years, that the late, great Jack F. (Spot) Baird took a Gilmer group with him to San Marcos to compete in one of the Terlingua cook-off preliminaries. The chili he cooked up was as good or better than any I’ve ever tasted but, alas, he didn’t make it to the Terlingua finals.
Judging can be so subjective.