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August heats up with festivals across the state

Mauri Elbel Special to the American-Statesman
Aaron Watson at Kokefest. [Contrbuted by Steven Peters Photography]

August’s lineup of festivals is as flaming hot as its weather. From hot air balloon and spicy salsa festivals to rowdy rodeos and scorching cycling events, here are 10 towns with the hottest happenings unfolding across the state this month.

South Padre

July 31-Aug. 4: The 80th annual Texas International Fishing Tournament attracts 1,500 participants and includes two days of competitive fishing in bay and offshore divisions. The event kicks off with a Play Day on Aug. 3, featuring activities and games for the entire family. The bay and offshore division competitions will be held all day Aug. 4 and Aug. 5 and conclude Aug. 6 at the South Padre Island Convention Center. More at

Aug. 9-11: A few days later, South Padre welcomes the 38th annual Ladies Kingfish Tournament, which is expected to attract as many as 250 female anglers. The family-oriented event includes a full day of competitive fishing on Saturday and an awards brunch for all participants Sunday. The Ladies Kingfish Tournament features competition in bay and offshore divisions. Anglers fishing in the bay division will vie for trophies in the categories of Redfish, Trout and Flounder, while anglers in the offshore division will compete in the categories of King, Bonito, Blackfin Tuna and Dolphin. More at

New Braunfels

Aug. 2-4: Highlighting the ancient art of decorating gourds, the Lone Star Gourd Festival showcases how gourds can be skillfully rendered as works of art. Head to the New Braunfels Civic Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday to peruse gourd art, take gourd art classes, see live demonstrations and more. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 17. More at


Aug. 2-4: The Schulenburg Festival, billed as “The National Party of Texas,” brings three days of continuous live music and entertainment to Wolters Park over the first weekend in August. From arts and crafts, chili and barbecue cookoffs and golf and softball tournaments to pageants, rodeos and tricycle races, the whole family will find fun at this hometown festival. This year’s performers include Diamond Rio, Randall King and Kody West. Tickets are $18 for Fri. and Sat. and $30 for both days. Admission is free on Sunday, Saturday before 5 p.m., and for children 12 and under. More at

De Leon

Aug. 5-10: Nothing says summer in Texas like the 105th consecutive De Leon Peach and Melon Festival and Tractor Pull. Ripe with family fun, some juicy highlights of the five-day event themed There’s No Place Like Home from "The Wizard of Oz" include a street parade, melon auction, peach dessert contests, coronations, seed-spitting contests, a carnival, free watermelon slicing, tractor pulls, a 5K, live musical entertainment, merchant vendors and plenty of food. More at

Port Aransas

Aug. 7-11: The Texas Legends Billfish Tournament, a high-stakes video release billfish tournament, takes place each August in Port Aransas. Last year, more than 75 billfish were released by 26 boats, and more than $400,000 was awarded. Register and find out more at

Aug. 23-25: The Texas Women Anglers Tournament is a women-only fishing tournament featuring more than 70 boats and 400 anglers. Founded in the 1980s, this tournament supports the Purple Door, a nonprofit that provides free services to victims and survivors of family violence and sexual assault. More at

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Aug. 16-17: Kokefest brings two days of live Texas country music to Hutto Park at Brushy Creek with performers including Cody Johnson, Joe Diffie and Chris Colston on Friday, and Koe Wetzel, Parker McCollum and Kylie Rae Harris on Saturday. General admission tickets are $38 for either Friday or Saturday; two-day tickets are $72. More at

Highland Village

Aug. 16-18: The 32nd Annual Highland Village Lions Balloon Festival taking place in Unity Park floats with family fun. In addition to iconic hot air balloons, festivalgoers can enjoy the kids zone, food, live music, a car show and vendor booths and more from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 7 to 10 a.m. Sunday. The festival is free but a $5 donation is requested for parking. More at


Aug. 16-24: Saddle up for nine rip-roaring nights of live country music, first-class rodeos, livestock shows, kid zones and more at the North Texas Fair and Rodeo. Western-themed excitement also includes swine racing, tractor pulls and nightly performances from talents including Kody West, Pat Green and Tracy Lawrence. Daily general admission, which includes fair, rodeo events and concerts, is $15 to $20 for adults, $5 for children 7-12 and teachers, and free for children 6 and under. More at

Wichita Falls

Aug. 22-25: As one of the country’s oldest and largest cycling events, the Hotter’N Hell Hundred combines 100 miles and 100-degree temperatures, bringing over 13,000 riders from around the world to Wichita Falls for four days of challenging and inspiring activities. Riders choose their racing distances, riding 100-mile, 75-mile, 100K, 50-mile, 25-mile or 10K routes. Register for the event you want to participate in and find out more at


Aug. 24: Come on out to the 24th annual Margarita and Salsa Festival taking place at Waco’s Extraco Events Center to sip Texas’ most beloved beverage while sampling spicy salsa and swaying to the music of performers including Shinyribs, William Clark Green, Wade Bowen and the Josh Abbott Band. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the day of the show. More at