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Festival guide: Food, fun, music and more in Central Texas this fall

Well, we survived another long, hot summer (with a couple of very wet days there near the end). Fall brings a bevy of festivals to Central Texas. Whether you’re looking for live music, fabulous food or just a place to take the family for weekend fun, we’ve got you covered.

Are we missing one? Email and we’ll add it to our online list.


Fantastic Fest, Sept. 21-28. The horror, fantasy and sci-fi genre film festival this year features such titles as “Downsizing,” “My Friend Dahmer” and “Gerald’s Game.”

UtopiaFest, Sept. 22-24. The campout music festival in Utopia features two stages and sells only 2,000 tickets. This year’s lineup include’s NOLA legend Dr. John, Austin indie-folk faves Wild Child and recently reunited Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas.

Pecan Street Festival, Sept. 23-24.The long-running free arts festival returns to Sixth Street in the fall.

Texas Craft Brewers Festival, Sept. 30. Texas brewers come together at Fiesta Gardens to offer the best in the state’s craft beers.

Soul Food Truck Festival, Sept. 30. The inaugural festival at the George Washington Carver Museum will give attendees a taste of the city’s soul food truck gems, including barbecue, Cajun-seasoned seafood and traditional soul food.

Lantern Festival, Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Release lanterns, dance, eat s’mores and more at the Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige.


Far East Fest, Oct. 1.Try food from several dozen Central Texas restaurants and food trucks at Austin’s Asian food festival in the parking lot of the Austin American-Statesman.

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest, Oct. 6-8. The festival celebrates the Hill Country town’s German heritage with music, food and drink, artisans and a children’s area.

Austin City Limits Music Festival, Oct. 6-8, Oct. 13-15.One of Austin’s biggest music events, ACL Fest includes two weekends. Headliners are Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the XX, the Killers and the Gorillaz.

Texas Teen Book Festival, Oct. 7. Young adult authors engage with fans during this one-day event at St. Edward’s University. Marie Lu and Jason Reynolds are the 2017 keynote authors.

Formula One, Oct. 20-22.The U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas track east of Austin and parties downtown draw racing fans from around the world. Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder and dozens of local acts will provide music at the track.

Austin Fermentation Festival, Oct. 22. This celebration of all things microbial returns to the Barr Mansion with dozens of fermentation experts who make everything from kombucha and kimchi to beer, wine and cheese.

Austin Film Festival, Oct. 26-Nov. 2. The film fest aims to inspire and champion the work of screenwriters, filmmakers and all artists who use film and television to tell a story.

Texas Clay Festival, Oct. 28-29.The 25th annual festival in the Gruene Historic District of New Braunfels will feature the work of more than 60 Texas clay artists. Demonstrations, from hand-building to wheel-throwing to raku firing, will be held in four tents both days of the event.

Viva La Vida Fest, Oct. 28. Austin’s Day of the Dead festivities celebrate life and those who have departed. The event includes a downtown parade, music, crafts and vendors, organized by the Mexic-Arte Museum.

Austin Margarita Festival, Oct. 28.The classic lime drink will be joined by more than 20 others with a wide range of flavors, including coconut, chocolate, green apple, jalapeño, grapefruit and more, plus wine, beer and other kinds of mixed drinks, live music and margarita-friendly food in the American-Statesman parking lot.


Austin Polish Film Festival, Nov. 2-5.The 12th annual festival, at the AFS Cinema, offers an opportunity to see a variety of award-winning Polish films, both live action and animation.

Wurstfest, Nov. 3-12. The New Braunfels 10-day salute to sausage features food, music and dancing; carnival rides and games; German, Texan and domestic beer; special events and the finest in Alpine and Bavarian style entertainment. Rain or shine; children 12 and younger are free.

Mariachi USA - Calavera 2017, Nov. 4. Enjoy mariachi music, face painting and folklorico dances at the Austin360 Amphitheater. The stage will be transformed into an altar to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.

Texas Book Festival, Nov. 4-5.Founded in 1995 by Laura Bush and Mary Margaret Farabee, the Texas Book Festival is one of the largest literary festivals in the country. This year’s featured authors include Dan Rather, Jennifer Egan, Jeffrey Eugenides and more.

Travis Heights Art Trail, Nov. 4-5.During this multimedia community art event, artists in the Travis Heights neighborhood open up their homes and studios to the public free of charge. The area tradition includes a sale by the Travis Heights Elementary School Arts Program.

Austin Celtic Festival, Nov. 4-5.This event at Pioneer Farms celebrates all things Celtic, including music, dance, games, animals and history.

Creek Show, Nov. 10-18. Austin-based artists and designers build light-based installations to transform the area around Waller Creek in downtown Austin for a family-friendly event.

Sound on Sound Fest, Nov. 10-12.The festival, which debuted in 2016, aims to create a fan-first festival experience, focusing on indie, punk, hip-hop, metal and dance music. This year’s festival will again be held at Sherwood Forest Faire and features the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Iggy Pop, the Shins and Blood Orange.

East Austin Studio Tour, Nov. 11-12, 18-19.Big Medium’s East Austin Studio Tour is a free, self-guided art event spanning two weekends. East provides opportunities for the public to meet local artists in their creative spaces. More than 500 artists studios, exhibitions, special projects and events are on the schedule this year.


Austin Asian American Film Festival, Dec. 7-10. The 10th annual Asian American Film Festival showcases the best independent features and short films from Asian-American filmmakers.

Other Worlds Austin, Dec. 7-10. Austin’s sci-fi film festival, which debuted in 2014, returns.

Trail of Lights, Dec. 9-23. Austin’s favorite holiday tradition continues with more than 40 displays, 2 million lights and plenty of festive activities along the way.

— Additional material from American-Statesman staff members Deborah Sengupta Stith, Addie Broyles and Emily Quigley.

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