You might remember that over Labor Day weekend, I judged an epic goat cook-off in Brady, which has been hosting this unique cooking competition for 41 years.
In Sunday’s travel section, I wrote about why the festival is so beloved among both the 40 judges and 200 or so competitors, and with that story, I compiled this list of the other eccentric food festivals around the state. (You can also check out this goat cook-off photo gallery.)
Sure, there are countless barbecue and chili competitions that feed into the various regional and national contests, but these are, for the most part, the small town festivals that started out as a way to celebrate and promote a local crop or meat, including alligator or oysters.
Some of these festivals are going on stronger than others, and they all rely on weekend warriors like yourself coming into town and dropping a few extra dollars while you are there. From where I sit, the cultural and community value of their existence is even more important than the economic impact, but one can’t continue without the other.
Did we leave off your favorite funky food festival? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll update the list.
The Jalapeño Festival, now in its 37th year, takes place during the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Festival in Laredo in February. jalapenofest.org
Oysterfest takes place the first weekend in March in Fulton and will celebrate 36 years in 2015. fultonoysterfest.org
In March, the town of Granbury hosts General Granbury’s Birthday Celebration, which includes a number of bean eating and cooking contests. granburysquare.com
Texas Onion Festival takes place every March in Weslaco, where the famed 1015 Onion was developed by Dr. Leonard Pike. weslaco.com/onionfest
The 18th annual Goldthwaite State Championship BBQ & Goat Cook-Off will take place in April. millscountychamber.com/goat-cook-off
The Poteet Strawberry Festival returns to the small town south of San Antonio every April. strawberryfestival.com
Spring hosts the annual Texas Crawfish and Music Festival, which started in 1986, over two weeks in late April and early May. texascrawfishfestival.com
The Texas Steak Cook-off will return to Hico on May 16 next year for the 13th annual contest. texassteakcookoff.com
Texas Blueberry Festival passed the quarter century mark this summer in Nacogdoches, and it will take place the second weekend of June next year. texasblueberryfestival.com
Jacksonville, home of hundreds of concrete tomatoes and the Tomato Bowl stadium, celebrates tomatoes unlike anywhere else in Texas. Its 31st annual Tomato Fest will return June 13, 2015. jacksonvilletexas.com
The Luling Watermelon Thump has been taking place every June for more than 60 years. watermelonthump.com
The town of Holland celebrated the 40th Holland Corn Festival this summer, and it will return in late June next year. hollandcornfest.org
Every July, Weatherford hosts the Parker County Peach Festival, which is now in its 30th year. parkercountypeachfestival.org
Every Labor Day weekend, the town of Brady hosts its annual Brady Goat Cook-Off, which draws more than 200 competitors from across the country. bradytx.com
In September, Doug Moreland hosts the Cattlelacs Calfry, a celebration of Rocky Mountain oysters. dougmoreland.com/calfry
The Oatmeal Festival, which takes place in Oatmeal and nearby Bertram, is held on Labor Day weekend and is in its 38th year. oatmealfestival.org
Texas Gator Fest takes place every September in Anahuac and features a barbecue and gator cook-off. texasgatorfest.com
For more than 30 years, the Caldwell Kolache Festival has been taking place in September. burlesoncountytx.com
The last weekend of September, Lufkin hosts the Southern Hushpuppy Championships, now in its 43rd year. texasstateforestfestival.com
Winnie’s 45th annual Texas Rice Festival took place in early October (preceded by a rice cook-off at the end of September) to help celebrate the harvest of the local rice crop. texasricefestival.com
Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival, which passed the quarter-century mark this year, happens every October in the city north of Houston. conroecajuncatfishfestival.com
Bacon Bash is a relatively new event in Cranfills Gap, and it takes place in mid-October. baconbashtexas.com
The East Texas Yamboree in Gilmer started back in 1935, making it one of the longest-running food festivals in Texas. It takes place in mid-October. yamboree.com
Texas Mushroom Festival, now in its 13th year, just took place in Madisonville. Look for it again next October. texasmushroomfestival.com
Flatonia’s Czhilispiel ( “that’s chili with a ‘z’!”) took place over the weekend, the 42nd year for this celebration. flatoniachamber.wix.com/czhilispiel
Wurstfest is New Braunfel’s beloved sausage celebration that takes place over 10 days in November, starting this year on Nov. 7. wurstfest.com