Keep up with the latest from Baylor Line. Subscribe today.

Baylor Line is supported by our sponsors! Become one today.

Waco’s Fall Festival Roundup

These events in and around the city are sure to offer visitors unique experiences with explosive local flavor

Move over Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Waco may be a smaller city, but it is proving to be no slouch when it comes to hosting a series of exciting, entertaining, and engaging events and festivals this fall.

Here is a selection of the best offerings in and near Waco for the season, which include a state-sized tribute to the King of Rock ‘n Roll, a cultural smorgasbord featuring art in all its mediums, and a celebration of diversity at Waco’s Brazos Park East.

 

Photo by Daniela Ranzinger

Westfest (September 1–3, 2023)

Founded in 1976, Westfest marks an annual Labor Day celebration of central Texas’ Czech heritage, which is spread across three days, marked by a Friday Preview Party at the onset and a Sunday Shutdown Party at its conclusion. In between, the West Fair and Rodeo grounds host a number of attractions, such as arts, crafts, and souvenirs; a polka mass; a carnival; and several contests, such as horseshoe-pitching, washer-pitching, kolache-eating, a cornhole tournament, and more. There is also a Kolache 5K race and a parade on the final day.

The festival raises funds for a variety of civic and cultural programs in nearby West, Texas. Ticket prices vary.

Westfest: West Fair& Rodeo Association, 1110 S. Main St., West, TX; www.westfest.com

 

Courtesy of Home for the Holiday Market

Home For the Holidays (September 29–October 1, 2023)

With more than 130 merchants taking part, Home For the Holidays is a three-day event where you’re sure to find unique gifts for all of your loved ones — whether it be a holiday gift basket, a cute sweater for holiday gathering, or a bundle of homemade decorations to hang on your tree.

Who wants to shop empty-handed — the event’s wine bar allows for a “sip while you shop” option. Despite the warm Texas weather, this festival is sure to deliver a gust of holiday spirit this September. And don’t miss the Santa photo booth! Tickets are $10 for early “first call” shoppers; $6 general admission.

Home For the Holidays: Waco Convention Center, 100 Washington Ave., Waco; www.homefortheholidaysgiftmarket.com/waco-hfth-1

 

Courtesy of HOT Fair & Rodeo

Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo (October 5–15, 2023)

What’s more Texan than a rodeo presented by the beloved H-E-B? Held at the Extraco Events Center, in Waco, this event is a can’t-miss celebration consisting of rides and amusements, various rodeo competitions, a live-music stage, and the “HOT Shops” marketplace with more than 100 vendors.

And what would a rodeo be without a livestock show? Presented by Bar None Country Store, the livestock show features a number of contests and exhibitors from across Texas, ranging from live agricultural educational talks, to contests for the best steers, lambs, pigs, goats and more. Cookoffs, running with the bulls, mutton busting, and a “Trap Shooters Extravaganza,” are just some of the additional events that offer visitors a slice of real Americana while raising money for scholarships. Ticket prices vary.

Heart O’ Texas Fair& Rodeo: Extraco Events Center, 4601 Bosque Blvd., Waco; www.hotfair.com

 

Courtesy of ETA Festivals

The Texas Elvis Weekend (October 5­–7, 2023)

All hail the King! This fall, the Waco Convention Center will play host to a score of talented Elvis Presley impersonators, helping to bring back the Rock ‘N Roll legend back to life, if only for a weekend. Touching on some of the most memorable highlights of the legendary musician’s career, this festival delivers on the promise to get you dancing in your blue suede shoes.

Broken up into blocks, each day features two events: Thursday focuses on Elvis’s humble beginnings and a medley of his discography; Friday highlights Presley’s ability to combine genre characteristics and celebrates the 50th anniversary of his famed Hawaii special; and Saturday showcases the artist’s relationship with Texas before closing out with an homage to his late-career comeback. Ticket prices vary.

The Texas Elvis Weekend: The Waco Convention Center, 100 Washington Ave., Waco; www.texaselvisweekend.com

 

Courtesy of Waco Pride Network

OUT On The Brazos (October 7, 2023)

What started as a quaint picnic in 2017 has grown into a festival-sized celebration with hundreds of annual attendees, as this all-day event showcases the Waco-area’s LGBTQ+ community and its allies with several musical performances, food trucks, and a variety of vendors.

This year’s theme is “Live and Love Loud,” and the event will feature shirts, pins, and stickers chosen from this year’s merchandise contest winners. Whether it’s bright vibrant colors, the much-loved dog parade, or live presentations ranging from music to style showcases, this event is sure to uplift the local LGBTQ+ community and friends. The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. Free to attend.

OUT On The Brazos: Brazos Park East, 3516 N. MLK Jr. Blvd., Waco; www.wacopride.org/out-on-the-brazos/

 

Courtesy of Magnolia

Magnolia’s 20th Anniversary + “Silobration” (October 19–22, 2023)

Known best for the “Fixer Upper” series, reality TV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines also play host to one of Waco’s most sought-after annual events, The Silobration. This year’s event marks the duo’s 20th anniversary since founding Magnolia.

Free experiences include a vendor fair, live music on the Silos Stage, and the opportunity to explore the complete five-acre Silos property, including the lush garden and the “Old Church,” all with a bevy of pop-up experiences. There are also additional features such as the Magnolia 20th Anniversary Tour, a Weekend Rooftop Pass, which allows guests a bird’s-eye view of the city, and an evening with the two founders. Whether you’re a fan of the show or are in search of an escape from the norm, this festival has something for everyone. Ticket prices vary per event. Grounds open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Magnolia’s Silobration: 601 Webster Ave., Waco; www.magnolia.com/visit/events/silobration

 

Courtesy of Waco Cultural Arts Festival

Waco Cultural Arts Fest (November 3–5, 2023)

Curated by the Cultural Arts of Waco, this tentpole event features facets from all creative spectrums, including a “Wordfest,” “Sciencefest,” “Dancefest,” and “Filmfest.” In addition to those selections, the festival offers educational opportunities, art installations, vendors, and live performances.

One of the most unique aspects of the festival is that the organizers provide an opportunity for community members to submit pieces of art to be featured. So whether you’re an art connoisseur, a creative, or simply a casual admirer, this event packs a cultural punch. Free to attend. Hours to be announced.

Waco Cultural Arts Fest: 101 N. University Parks Dr., Waco; www.wacoartsfest.org

 

Courtesy of Homestead Heritage

Homestead Fair (November 24–26, 2023)

Continue your Thanksgiving celebration by experiencing a slice of life on the Homestead. From seminars on cheese-making and sustainable gardening, to demonstrations on goat care and sheep shearing, this weekend-long event will make you think twice about constantly peeking at social media.
A variety of musical performances, food options, and shopping opportunities are also slated. Ticket prices to be announced. Open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Homestead Fair: 608 Dry Creek Rd., Waco; www.homesteadfair.com

 

*Dates and details subject to change.

Latest from Baylor Line

A Class Apart

Of its many achievements, Baylor particularly enjoys two distinctions: that of being the oldest university in Texas (established by the

Recommended

Moving Energy Home

What’s the Future of Power in Texas? Two Baylor Professors Discuss Options for campus and Waco, Texas.

If You Grill It, They Will Come

Hungry Wacoans and Baylor students continue to build Jake Patterson’s Yaki dreams. Teriyaki as it is known today first originated

The Great Waco Water Watch

The City of Waco’s contingency plans for keeping water flowing for residents is top of mind as Texas sizzles in

A (Suspension) Bridge Over (Brazos) Water

The Brazos River’s temperamental mood swings made the cattle driving business unreliable, difficult, and frequently dangerous. In 1866, shortly following

Baylor Line MAgazine

With over 75 years of storytelling under its belt, the award-winning Baylor Line Magazine is now available digitally. Support this vital, independent voice of Baylor alumni by becoming a member today!