Fredericksburg is pretty much always one of the best places to find things to do in the hill country, but last weekend was a particularly eventful weekend, even by Fredericksburg standards. Bluebonnets were at their peak, drawing many visitors from around the state. Area wineries and vineyards were celebrating the peak of wildflower season with special winery events, and a couple of festivals took place that drew thousands of visitors.
We attended two of these events- the “Best of Texas Food & Wine Festival”, and “Celebrate Texas”. We had a great time at both events, and recommend them both highly for next year if you didn’t get the chance to attend this time around. We’ll talk about “Celebrate Texas” in a separate article, but for now we want to discuss the Best of Texas Food and Wine Festival, and give our overall review. This was a first-time event, but was very successful, and is likely to become an annual event going forward- at least we hope it does. A press release after the event said it drew approximately 2,700 visitors from around the country, and even a few foreign visitors. That is impressive, especially for a first-time event. The three- day event featured auctions, Texas product vendors (from shoes and handbags to cutlery and more), food and wine around every corner, art, and plenty of live music.
The event kicked off Friday night with a Gatsby themed tasting dinner, a bartender competition, live music, dancing, an auction, and vendors of some fine Texas products. The Gatsby themed dinner was a big hit, and most visitors really got into the spirit of things and dressed the part. A live band kept the crowd entertained. The dance floor saw a bit of use, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. The food tastings were delicious and unique- many were things we had never tried before or combinations of ingredients that I wouldn’t have imagined. Guests had the opportunity to rate their favorite chefs and bartenders. All in all, the Gatsby themed dinner was a big success from our point of view.
Saturday’s events included a 5k, 10k, and a Half-Marathon to kick things off. Wine tasting and shopping down Fredericksburg’s unique Main St at your own pace followed. The Tasting Festival took place late morning through early evening, and included live music, art galleries (and live art demonstrations), local backyard chef matchups, food and alcohol tastings, and more. Representatives from many of Texas’ best wineries were on site providing tastings, and there was something delicious to eat around every corner. A great time was had by all.
Sunday we got to see something we’ve never seen before, and I’d imagine that was the case for the majority of attendees. The Victory Cup “Blue Bonnet” Polo Match was held Sunday afternoon, and they put on quite a show. We weren’t 100% sure it was going to go off without a hitch- the weather in the hill country was pretty harsh the night before, but everything cleared up in plenty of time for the festivities of the day. The players represented the Texas Tech Polo Team and Texas Tech Polo Team alumni. Fortunately, there was plenty of commentary explaining the history, and the ins and outs of Polo for those of us unfamiliar with the game. I’m not much for estimating crowd size, but there was easily hundreds of people in attendance, and everyone seemed to enjoy the event. Of course it wouldn’t be a Food and Wine Festival without some food, wine, and other beverages, and there was plenty of that to go around. After the Polo Match, a “Texas Grown Farm to Table Dinner” was held, and attendees were able to visit with the polo players while enjoying a great meal.
The Best of Texas Food and Wine Festival was a hit, and it couldn’t have been held in a more fitting hill country town. The folks at The Best of Texas were generous enough to give us a few tickets to give away on our Facebook page, and those that attended had a great time. We look forward to seeing this become an annual event, and highly recommend you consider attending if it does.
More photos below: