In this part of the country, people don’t need much of an excuse to hold an old fashioned community celebration with lots of tasty food, music, activities to keep kids busy and maybe a parade and carnival thrown in just for kicks.

In fact, when it comes to having a good time, just about any reason will do. Marshall celebrates the pesky fire ant, Ben Wheeler makes the nasty feral hog its party theme and Mount Selman has embraced (not literally) the stinging bull nettle.

And for those who are looking for something a bit more traditional, there’s the Texas Rose Festival in Tyler, the Autumn Stroll in Canton or Cotton Festival in Ville Platte, Louisiana.

Mark your calendars, pick your favorites and have fun.

GREGG COUNTY FAIR & EXPOSITION: Sept. 9-17, Longview

Its attractions include the Miss Gregg County Pageant, pig races, zumba demonstrations and a corn eating contest. Information: greggcountyfair.com.

FOUR STATE FAIR AND RODEO: Sept. 9-18, Texarkana, Arkansas

The event has a demolition derby, Ag Learning Center, entertainment, livestock shows and exhibits. Information: fourstatesfair.com.

RAINS COUNTY FAIR: Sept. 13-17, Emory Texas

Enjoy the  livestock show, carnival, chili cookoff, commercial exhibits and car show. Information: emorytx.com.

NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIE FESTIVAL: Sept. 16-17, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Besides the meat pies, crowds come for the River Run, crafts, games, music and fireworks. Information: natchitoches.net.

PITTSBURG PIONEER DAYS: Sept. 17, Pittsburg, Texas

The annual event offers a carnival, crafts vendors, music and special activities. Information: pittsburgchamber.com.

BULL NETTLE FESTIVAL: Sept. 17-18, Mount Selman, Texas

The celebration at Cactus Speedway includes a chili cookoff, vendors, music, activities for children, junk car race and parade. Information: facebook.com/bullnettlefestival

AVINGER WINE FESTIVAL: Sept. 17, Avinger, Texas

Sample wines from Texas vineyards while enjoying, food, music and art. Information: avingerwinefestival.com.

CAJUN FRENCH MUSIC FESTIVAL: Sept. 17, New Iberia, Louisiana

The festival showcases Cajun music, dance and  food. Information: iberiatravel.com.

UNCLE FLETCH DAVIS HAMBURGER FESTIVAL

Sept. 17, Athens, Texas

Athens brags that it is the original home of the hamburger and holds a cookoff to pick a champ. Information: unclefletchfestival.com.

GLADEWATER ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL: Sept. 17-18, Gladewater, Texas

Vendors sell handcrafted art, woodcraft, ceramics, dolls, needlework, jewelry and clothing. Information: gladewaterchamber.org.

SUGAR CANE FESTIVAL: Sept. 22-25, New Iberia, Louisiana

Visitors enjoy the parades, food, car show, entertainment and fireworks. Information: iberiatravel.com.

TEXAS STATE FOREST FESTIVAL: Sept. 21-25, Lufkin, Texas

Watch female lumberjacks roll logs, chop wood and throw axes. The festival also presents the Southern Hushpuppy Championships. Information: texasstateforestfestival.com.

EAST TEXAS STATE FAIR: Sept. 23-Oct. 2, Tyler, Texas

Besides the carnival, food, livestock shows and contests, visitors will find giant sand castle sculpting and a high dive show.  Information: etstatefair.com.

LOUISIANA HOT AIR BALLOON CHAMPIONSHIP FESTIVAL: Sept. 23-25, Gonzales, Louisiana

Visitors come for the balloons, music, food and activities for children.  Information: ascensionballooning.com.

NATUREFEST: Sept. 30-Oct.1, Mineola, Texas, Nature Preserve

This is the festival for nature lovers. Events include storytelling around the campfire, stargazing,a 5K, geocaching, music and programs on birds of prey, nature photography and woodland creatures. Information: mineolanaturepreserve.com.

TEXAS STATE FAIR: Sept. 30-Oct. 23, Dallas, Texas

Besides the huge midway, the fair is known for its car show, competitions, concerts and Texas vs. Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Oct. 8. Information: bigtex.com.

DOGTOBERFEST: Oct. 1, Tyler, Texas

Billed as the Craft Beer Festival & Animal Adoption Event, it features beers for sampbling, animal rescue groups, live music and activities for kids behind Gander Mountain store. Information: spcaeasttx.com.

RED RIVER REVEL ARTS FESTIVAL: Oct. 1-8, Shreveport, Louisiana

The festival features artists, food, arts education, children’s activities and live performances. Information: redriverrevel.com.

EAST TEXAS POULTRY FESTIVAL: Oct. 6-8, Center, Texas

The town pays tribute to its poultry industry with a carnival, poultry auction, music, and crafts displays. Information: shelbycountychamber.com.

FIRE ANT FESTIVAL: Oct. 8, Marshall, Texas

Marshall’s celebration includes the Tour de Fire Ant bike ride, a car show, food and concerts. Information: visitmarshalltexas.org.

VAN OIL FESTIVAL: Oct. 8, Van, Texas

Van celebrates with a parade, musical performances, displays, vendors, food and activities for children. Information: vantx.com.

HAWKINS OIL FESTIVAL: Oct. 8, Hawkins, Texas

Hawkins was also built on oil riches. Its celebration includes a breakfast, 5K run, parade, bands and street dance. Information: hacoc.org.

COUNTRYFEST/SHRINE BULLFEST

Oct. 8, Lindale, Texas

Activities include the Harvest Hustle 5K, a car show, crafts, food, music and games. The Shrine Bullfest takes place that night. Information: lindalechamber.org.

 

CHANDLER POW WOW: Oct. 8, Chandler, Texas

The event in Winchester Park includes a parade, arts and crafts, food and music. Information: chandlertx.com.

ANGELINA COUNTY AIRFEST: Oct. 8, Lufkin, Texas

Held at Anderson County Airport, AirFest features fly-overs, aerial acrobatics, food and vendors. Information: visitlufkin.com.

EAST TEXAS OIL & GAS BLAST: Oct. 8, Carthage, Texas

Events at the Carthage Civic Center include a baking contest, music, play area and car show. Information: carthagetexas.com.

EVERYTHING TEXAS UNCORKED: Oct. 8, Mount Pleasant, Texas

Enjoy Texas wines, food from local eateries, vendors and music at Camp Langston. Information: mtpleasanttx.com.

COUNTRYFEST: Oct.8, Mount Vernon, Texas

The attractions include a cookoff, car show, food, games and music. Information: comvtx.com.

MAIN STREET AUTUMN STROLL: Oct. 8, Canton, Texas

Visitors will find vendors, entertainment, a children’s play area and cookoff. Information: visitcantontx.com.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GUMBO COOKOFF: Oct. 8-9, New Iberia, Louisiana

The festival features the Cajun Food Fest on the first day and the cookoff and music on the second day. Information: Iberiachamber.org.

LOUISIANA COTTON FESTIVAL: Oct. 10-16, Ville Platte, Louisiana

 The festival features a carnival, the Cotton Queen Pageant, exhibits and street dance.  Information: louisianacottonfestival.com.

PINEYWOODS FAIR: Oct. 12-16, Nacogdoches, Texas

Enjoy the carnival, livestock shows, agricultural competitions and cheer and dance team contests. Information: nacexpo.net.

RUSK COUNTY PRCA RODEO: Oct. 13-15, Henderson, Texas

The rodeo action takes place each night at Rusk County Expo Center. Information: visithendersontx.com.

TEXAS ROSE FESTIVAL: Oct. 13-16, Tyler, Texas

Highlights include the Rose Show, Rose Queen’s Coronation, Queen’s Tea and 120-unit Rose Parade. Revelers can visit the Tyler Rose Museum and Rose Garden. Information: texasrosefestival.com.

 

EDOM FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS: Oct. 15-16, Edom, Texas

Visitors come for the arts and crafts, music and food. Information: visitedom.com.

KERENS COTTON HARVEST FESTIVAL: Oct. 15, Kerens, Texas

Downtown fills with craft and food vendors. Activities include a tractor pull, quilt show, car show and  entertainment. Information: kerenscottonharvestfestival.com.

TASTE OF JEFFERSON: Oct. 16, Jefferson, Texas

Dine outside on food from area restaurants. A high point is the annual waiter’s race. Information: jefferson-texas.com.

EAST TEXAS YAMBOREE: Oct. 19-22, Gilmer, Texas

The Yamboree has parades, Queen Yam, baking contest, livestock shows, a carnival and concerts. Information: yamboree.com.

SCARECROW FESTIVAL: Oct. 21-22, Kaufman, Texas

Attractions include the Scarecrow Parade, music, activities for children and street dance. Information: facebook.com/kaufmanscarecrowfestival.

HOT PEPPER FESTIVAL: Oct. 21-22, Palestine, Texas

The festival is known for its pepper eating contests and includes a parade, entertainment and the The Little Pepper Kids Zone. Information: visitpalestine.com.

FESTIVAL OF THE PUMPKINS: Oct. 22, Paris, Texas

A pumpkin decorating contest, pet pageant, petting zoo, displays and vendors are among the attractions. Information: paristexas.gov.

FERAL HOG FESTIVAL: Oct. 22, Ben Wheeler, Texas

The festival includes a wild hog cookoff, Hog Queen Pageant, food, lots of music and arts and crafts. Information: benwheelertx.com.

ROCKERS, RIDERS & RIBS: Oct. 22, Longview, Texas

The new event features barbecue food and concert headlined by The Marshall Tucker Band. Information: rockersridersribs.com.

ROSE CITY ROTOR FEST: Oct. 22, Tyler, Texas

Held at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, the event includes the American Heroes Airshow, a jump team, and displays honoring the military and emergency responders. Information: tylerhamm.com.

SWEET POTATO FESTIVAL: Oct. 22, Golden, Texas

Patrons come for the sweet potato auction, arts and crafts, food, parade and activities for children. Information: goldensweetpotatofestival.org.

STATE FAIR OF LOUISIANA: Oct. 27-Nov. 13, Shreveport, Louisiana

The fair features high school football games, a carnival, rodeo, livestock shows and entertainment. Information: statefairoflouisiana.com.

THE MARKET ON MAIN: Oct. 22, Mount Vernon, Texas

Sample Texas wines, visit arts and crafts vendors and food concessions and enjoy entertainment. Information: mtvernonfoodandwine.com.

IRON HORSE FESTIVAL: Oct. 29. Mineola, Texas

Mineola celebrates its railroad heritage with food, music, vendors and family activities. Information: mineolachamber.org.

RED WHITE & BLUE FESTIVAL: Nov. 5, Bullard, Texas

 Bullard honors veterans with a breakfast, parade and ceremony. The festival includes a car show, carnival and vendors. Information: bullardchamber.com.

HERITAGE SYRUP FESTIVAL: Nov. 12, Henderson, Texas

 See the making of cane syrup, blacksmithing and wood carving. The festival also has crafts, food and entertainment. Information: visithendersontx.com.

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