The West Texas town of Lamesa, about 60 miles south of Lubbock, serves up its annual Chicken-Fried Steak Festival this weekend in celebration of the town’s claim as the birthplace of the Texas delicacy. According to local legend, short-order cook James Donald Perkins accidentally made the first dish of its kind in 1911 when he misinterpreted an order for chicken and fried steak at a small restaurant called Ethel’s Home Cooking. Instead of making two separate items, he thought the customer wanted a steak battered and fried like a chicken—and what a delicious mistake it turned out to be.
One hundred years later, the Texas Legislature gave Lamesa official recognition in 2011 as the “Legendary Home of the Chicken-Fried Steak,” and the first Chicken-Fried Steak Festival launched the same year. Now held annually on the last weekend in April, the event features a Friday-night CFS dinner, the chicken-fried cook-off Saturday, a classic car show, live music and lots of food. The Crossroads Hot-Air Balloon Rally helps turn up the heat with a “fire concert” (accompanied by the balloons’ burners) Saturday night, plus balloon lift-offs Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Also on the events menu this weekend are major annual events in Houston, San Antonio Corpus Christi and Port Aransas. The final weekend of the Houston International Festival, April 27-28, celebrates this year’s Brazil theme with cultural performances, food, music, arts and crafts, and concerts by Los Lobos and Aaron Neville.
Fiesta San Antonio offers one last chance to revel in the diverse cultures of San Antonio and get confetti in your hair at NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio), which takes over La Villita from April 23-26.
In Port Aransas, art takes shape right before your eyes this weekend at the Texas SandFest sand-scupting competition, April 26-28. The event includes master and amateur contests, as well as live music, children’s activities and food for spectators–and, of course, the opportunity to spend the day at Mustang Island Beach.
And just across the bay in Corpus Christi, there’s still time to swing by the Buc Days festival and carnival (pronounced “caarrrrnival” if you’re truly in the buccaneer spirit), which runs through May 5. Next weekend’s events include an Art Walk on May 3 and the Illuminated Night Parade on May 4.
Other events this weekend include:
Mesquite: Real. Texas. Festival., April 26-27
Waxahachie: Scarborough Renaissance Festival, through May 27
Bastrop: Yesterfest, April 26-28
Muenster: Germanfest, April 26-28
Hallettsville: Texas State Championship Fiddlers Frolics, April 25-28