From art exhibits & live music to happenings just for kids and outdoor activities, you'll find plenty that can be enjoyed regularly.
Are you the wanderlust in the family, always looking for a reason to get out of town and visit somewhere new? Beaumont has a variety of things to do to introduce you to the local food and culture, but if you want to make the most out of your trip, consider planning a Beaumont vacation to coincide with one of cool events and festivals that take place throughout the year in Southeast Texas. So grab a few friends or pack up the family, and get to Beaumont in 2017. Here are some of the top of the top things to do in Beaumont and Southeast Texas if you love a good festival.
Come to Beaumont for the Spindletop Anniversary Celebration in January. In 1901, the Lucas Gusher exploded at the Spindletop oil field in Gladys City on January 10, spitting oil hundreds of feet in the air for nine straight days until the well was capped, bringing in thousands of sightseers and fortune seekers literally overnight. The gusher marked the day that Beaumont became one of the nation’s top petroleum-making cities; it was the first major gusher of the Texas oil boom. Each year during the anniversary celebration at Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum, you can watch a live re-enactment of the gusher and take part in fun contests. Live demonstrations take place in each building throughout the replicated village including blacksmithing, quilting, printing and more.
Because of its location on Texas-Louisiana border, the greater Beaumont area in Southeast Texas knows how to do Mardi Gras. In Port Arthur—which is less than a 20-minute drive from Beaumont—the four-day, family-friendly Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas takes place each February. The festival includes a traditional Mardi Gras parade, gumbo cook-off competition, luchador wrestling, live music, arts and crafts vendors, lots of food and more. A designated Kids Zone keeps the littlest revelers engaged with games and fun activities.
Celebrate the spring and the arts with a traditional blessing of the crops at the Beaumont Botanical Garden during the Maypole Festival, held on the Saturday before Mother’s Day each year. Families come to this festival each year for carnival games, face painting and fish feeding at the koi pond. Food vendors and live music performers are on-site during the event, and it ends with a fairy dance around the Beaumont Maypole, which was erected in 2015 to honor the memory of a local philanthropist.
Also late in the spring, indulge in all things Greek and Arabic at the St. Michael's Mediterranean Festival, where the food is the star. This is the place to try out centuries-old recipes, and after tasting authentic dishes, you can watch traditional dances from the Greek and Arab Dance Troops. The festival has been an ongoing tradition in Beaumont for 100 years, taking place at St. Michaels Orthodox Christian Church.
Head to Beaumont during the spring for The Gusher, featuring a Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K along with a cycling time trial and the Roughneck Fitness Challenge. It takes place by the Lucas Gusher, and runners pass by the recreated Boomtown at Spindletop. The marathon begins and ends on Lamar University’s campus, where runners and their cheering-section members can enjoy food and drinks from vendor sponsors after the race. The Gusher Marathon also features an after-race party on the evening of the event, with the location to be determined each year.
If you’d rather be on two wheels than two legs, plan to attend the Spindletop Spin, a popular annual bicycling event in Southeast Texas early each summer. Riders can tackle one of several distance options ranging from 13 to 106 miles. Families can ride along the 13-mile race route. Food and treats (ice cream and snow cones) are served during the event, and riders can enjoy live music during the day, too. The ride, organized by the Jefferson County Bar Association, is in honor of the late Judge Tom Mulvaney.
The Beaumont area’s YMBL hosts the biggest fair of the year in Southeast Texas every March. The event, which runs for a month and stretches into April, features a full spate of fair activities like carnival rides, games, and livestock exhibits and competitions—but all with a Southeast Texas flair. The YMBL South Texas State Fair also includes a rodeo, petting zoo and beer garden. You can plan to visit the fair for a couple days or a couple weeks—depending on how much fun you want to have and how many funnel cakes you want to eat.
Celebrate our nation’s independence during Fourth of July in Beaumont—a day-long affair that includes a parade, fireworks show and festival at Riverfront Park, and a symphony performance. Food vendors and artists set up in Riverfront Park during the festival. Bring the kids—and your furry friends—because the festival is open to everyone, and don’t forget lawn chairs and picnic blankets to watch the fireworks after dark.
Every October, Beaumont hosts Dogtober Fest, which celebrates man’s best friend. Bring your furever pals to the event and enter them in the Strut Your Mutt competition or others like a costume contest, master/dog look-alike and most talented. Other various activities like PAW Readings, PAW of Fame and Glam-Furr Shots will be available. Doggy treats are available for the day’s special guests, but there’s plenty of delicious food for their owners, too.
Beat the heat with refreshing brews at the Beaumont Craft Beer Festival during the summer. Located at Event Centre, the festival features local and national brewers showcasing their latest beer flavors to sample. Beer lovers will have a choice between purchasing general admission tickets (up to 20 beer tasting) or VIP (20 tastings with goodies and a souvenir pack).
Now in its fourth year, Jazz at the Lake is a popular local concert series which takes place at The Event Centre—a beautiful indoor venue that overlooks a two-acre lake. Previous performers have included saxophonist Dean James, Lamar University’s Cardinal Jazz Orchestra and more. The headliners at this periodic free concert series include big band, blues and jazz performers. The large patio at the Event Centre is open during the concerts, and concessions are sold on-site.