Nacogdoches is a relaxing place to get away from it all, but don’t let the small-town atmosphere fool you. There’s always something going on, and some weekends your family may be hard-pressed to fit in all the activities. Here’s a month-by-month guide to the perfect Nacogdoches weekend.
JANUARY Start your day off with a taste of history at the Old Fashioned Sweet Tooth Sugarcane event at the Durst-Taylor Historic House and Gardens, and then help cram the William R. Johnson Coliseum at a Lumberjacks or Ladyjacks basketball game. If you're not in the mood to make some noise, enjoy some soothing sounds as some of the finest international pianists compete in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music’s annual Schmidbauer Competition.
FEBRUARY It's a date! Take in one of SFA’s many cultural events, from intimate plays in the Downstage Theatre to touring productions sponsored by the College of Fine Arts. Grab dinner downtown and then catch a movie (or several) at the annual Nacogdoches Film Festival, or sip and stroll at the annual Downtown Wine Swirl.
MARCH Nacogdoches really comes alive in the spring. Celebrate by perusing fresh produce and hand-made treats during the Farmer’s Market’s annual Spring Fling, and then spend a leisurely afternoon enjoying nature’s beauty along the Azalea Trail. Wrap up your perfect Saturday with a wild night at the Nacogdoches County PRCA Championship Rodeo.
APRIL There’s a whole lot of beauty to behold around town this month. Pick up a few hard-to-find, “Texas tough” plants at the SFA Spring Garden Gala, a fundraiser that benefits the SFA Gardens. Browse Vintage Market Days, a three-day shopping event featuring architectural salvage, repurposed finds, jewelry, clothing and more. Then peruse Texas National, an annual competition for American artists that is juried by an internationally acclaimed artist or critic. April also means it’s time for the Oldest Town in Texas Biker Rally and Barbecue Cook-Off, an annual event that brings bikers of all stripes to the Nacogdoches County Civic & Expo Center for a weekend of full-throttle fun.
MAY Take advantage of the mild mornings with a stroll through the SFA gardens to see the Sculpture for All Outdoor Exhibition and Competition. Enjoy authentic dishes from around the world at the Multicultural Fest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, then settle into a comfy lawn chair and enjoy an afternoon of classical music at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Concert in the Park.
JUNE Summer starts scrumptiously with the Texas Blueberry Festival, — a daylong celebration of Nacogdoches’ blueberry harvest. The Blueberry Bluegrass Concert in the Park sets a relaxing tone the night before in Festival Park. Downtown also plays host to the annual Juneteenth parade. As the temperature rises, keep the kids cool with a visit to Splash Kingdom waterpark.
JULY Beat the heat by taking in a free movie at the Nacogdoches Public Library, or enjoy some live theater at the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre’s Summer Stage Festival. Then add to your art collection at the 12x12, an annual fundraiser at The Cole Art Center that features works from SFA’s faculty as well as accomplished artists from around East Texas. Make plans for a long weekend in Nacogdoches and celebrate Independence Day the old-fashioned way at Freedom Fest.
AUGUST Cool off with a dip in the clear, spring-fed pond at Camp Tonkawa Springs, a campground and RV park in Garrison, or beat the heat and sneak a little education into your entertainment by taking the kids to see a program at the SFA Planetarium. If it’s cool tunes you’re after, the Pineknot Music Coop puts on a free show at Millard’s Crossing on the last Friday of the month.
SEPTEMBER It’s time for football, and that means it’s time for tailgating. SFA students, alumni and fans mingle around the Ag Pond before home games, and then pack Homer Bryce Stadium to cheer for the Lumberjacks. If you’re looking for a more soothing sound, the Sandyland Bluegrass Reunion features traditional bluegrass and gospel music, or the Sacul Folk Festival offers a full day of family fun capped off with the toe-tapping sounds of the Sacul Opry.
OCTOBER Fall means family-friendly fun in Nacogdoches. Enjoy the carnival rides, games, food and competitions at the Pineywoods Fair, and don’t miss the Ghosts of Millard’s Crossing, an annual event that finds a cast of spirits haunting the historic village, telling stories about their lives and handing out treats.
NOVEMBER Enjoy the autumn leaves with a relaxing drive along the Fall Foliage Trail, go for a leisurely stroll downtown during the annual Downtown Art Walk or take a more strenuous trip around town during the East Texas Half Marathon. The holiday season officially starts in November, so get in the spirit at Holiday in the Pines, a festive shopping extravaganza sponsored by Nacogdoches Junior Forum, 10,000 Villages Fair Trade Market at Westminster Presbyterian Church and Wassail Fest, where downtown merchants feature their best holiday brew.
DECEMBER Experience an Old Fashioned Christmas at Millard’s Crossing Historic Village. The Nine Flags Christmas Festival provides several weekends worth of activities, including the Jingle Bell Run 5K, a lighted parade downtown, fireworks, a tour of homes and so much more. It’s a non-stop celebration of the season that offers something for every member of the family.