David Aylsworth: Either/And
January 17 - February 26, 2017
If there's one thing we're known for in Beaumont, it's our ability to throw a good party, In fact, from January to December, there's always something happening in the area - and always with a uniquely Southeast Texan spin. Here's just a snapshot of what's happening throughout the year. For current events, check our calendar of events.
The grandaddy of local events is the YMBL South Texas State Fair, second only to the State Fair of Texas in attendance. In its 70-year-history, fair-goers have been treated to the excitement of championship rodeo, a livestock show, thrilling rides and challenging games on the Midway, and exhibits stocked with lots to see and buy. Live music of all sorts and food favorites such as funnel cakes and barbecue are served up with the perennial crowd-pleaser, fried alligator. Sponsored by the Young Men's Business League of Beaumont, the fair runs 10 days in March at Ford Park.
If you're looking to break a sweat, there are plenty of activities in Beaumont to get the heart racing. The Gusher Marathon, takes place each March. The event includes a marathon, half-marathon and 5K for runners or walkers. The Gusher route is a flat course that serves as a qualifier for the prestigous Boston Marathon. Each June, thousands participate in the annual Spindletop Spin, a bicycle marathon hosted by Jefferson County Bar Association Foundation. The ride offers alternative start times and varying route lengths from 12 to 95 miles.
Think you've seen it all? Think again! Each year in June, Gator Country Adventure Park puts on the wildest competition in Texas. Two person teams compete for cash prizes as they wrestle and wrangle untapped, 6-foot alligators in their annual Gator Rescue Tournament. As they like to say, "Quick hands or no hands!" While you're there, be sure to meet the legendary "Big Al," - Texas' largest alligator in captivity at more than 13 feet long and 1,000 pounds. The park doubles as an alligator rescue and is home to more than 350 gators, crocodiles, turtles, snakes and nonstop excitement. Gator Country's newest alligator is "Big Beau," a 135-foot roadside alligator along I-10, exit 838, greeting visitors on their way into the park.
Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, a four-day féte that packs downtown Port Arthur, includes carnival rides, incredible food vendors, live entertainment on multiple stages, arts and crafts booths, and of course plenty of parades for catching those Mardi Gras beads, including the two-mile Aurora Grand Parade. The dazzling procession includes marching bands, drill teams and New Orleans-inspired floats ferrying krewe members.
Held annually each May in downtown Beaumont, the Lagniappe Film & Music Festival celebrates the art of storytelling, introducing audiences to innovative musicians and filmmakers who share universal journeys through individual perspectives. Music and film lovers alike come together each February at the Boomtown Film & Music Festival to hear cutting-edge bands, see fiercely independent films, enjoy panel discussions and mingle with like-minded enthusiasts at various venues around Beaumont, Texas.
Forget Octoberfest, Beaumont's DOGtober Fest is a celebration of all things canine and includes a parade, style show featuring adoptable dogs, and competitions to find the best-dressed canine and most striking dog-owner look-alikes. Everyone (and their dogs) will be there.
Just wanting to catch a game while in town? You're in luck! Sports are a religion in Southeast Texas. At Provost Umphrey Stadium, the Lamar Cardinals battle it out on the gridiron, for thousands of red-shirted fans screaming for victory. LU also has celebrated men and women basketball teams with a proud history. Come spring, head to Vincent Beck Stadium to watch the highly ranked Cardinal baseball team slug it out for a bid to the Southland Conference Tournament.