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The Lead's Top 10 Kerr County Festivals

Music is at heart when it comes to festivals, and we've got the heritage to prove it.

After a year of great festivals, we wanted to highlight our top picks for the events that we attended in 2022. Most of this is based on perceived economic impact, the ability to draw out-of-town visitors and how it resonates with Kerr County residents. Here's our Top 10 for 2022.

Honorable mention: The Kerrville Mountain Bike Festival. This event is held at Kerrville-Schreiner Park, showcasing an absolutely marvelous venue, but it seemed a little bit smaller than advertised.

10: Kerrville River Fest

Fall 2023


Louise Hays Park

The upside: It's a novel idea to have a big party for the residents of Kerrville, celebrating the river. There were solid musical performances in 2022, and the evening show was well attended.

The downside: It felt like it was missing a lot. It seems like a better evening event, especially in the heat of September. The day we went, the festival felt flat because there weren't a lot of vendors, and it was broiling.

The photos:

9: The Kerr County Celtic Festival

April 29, 2023

Hill Country Arts Foundation and Stonehenge II

The Upside: Another great one-day event that draws from across Texas, especially for the Scottish Games. The games are our favorite part of the festival. These are strength events that draw competitors from across the state, including several who have competed nationally and internationally. If you're wondering what kind of events? Just imagine burly people throwing telephone poles.

The Downside: This is a weather-dependent event, but it's usually comfortable in April. If it's hot, shade can be tricky, and the games area is not the most-spectator-friendly (primarily due to the nature of the competition).

The photos:

8: Hill Country Quilt Show

May 26-27

Happy State Bank Expo Hall at the Hill Country Youth Event Center

The Upside: It's impressive to see the size, scale and intricacy of this craft, but what wowed us in 2022 were the numbers. Pent-up demand coming out of the coronavirus lockdowns helped drive participation, with some vendors overwhelmed by the business. Even better were the quilts.

The Downside: Can the Hill Country Quilt Guild take advantage of their 2022 success and build an even better show in 2023? That's going to be a tall task, but don't underestimate the passion of this audience.

The photos:–day-1

7: Kerr County Renaissance Festival

January-February 2023

River Star Event Park

The Upside: This is the first Renaissance Festival or Fair of the year for many vendors and participants anxious to get out and get into their costumes. When the weather was cooperative, this event drew some significant audiences. The River Star Park is a perfect complex to host this event because of its natural and shaped amphitheaters. And for pure people watching this festival is a gem. You'll find scores of out-of-town visitors here.

The Downside: The weather. As we mentioned, this show is magnificent if the weather is good. However, the weather is fickle in January and February — and bitter cold can be a defining piece of the festival.

The photos:

6: San Antonio Kennel Club All-Breed Show

March 2023

Happy State Bank Expo Hall at the Hill Country Youth Event Center

The Upside: We thought the old Stock Show was big, but these dog shows were incredible. Most of those showing dogs came from outside of Kerr County, many from out-of-state, and never underestimate the spending power of dog people.

The Downside: The show flies under most people's radar, but it's an incredible experience.

The photos:

5: Fourth on the River

Fourth of July 2023

Louise Hays Park

The Upside: There's an argument that Kerrville's largest outdoor crowd was this one for musical performances led Robert Earl Keen and fireworks. It's harder to tell if this event draws people from out of the area, but it's certainly well-loved by thousands in Kerr County. The big surprise of 2022 was the adoration of group "Flatland Cavalry."

The Downside: No Robert Earl Keen in 2023. Replacing Keen will be key if this event wants to grow beyond his headlining presence. However, we know the Arcadia Live crew, which produced the show, is hard at work on the next installment.

The photos:

4: The Texas Arts and Crafts Fair

Kerr County artisan and blacksmith Doug Garey works iron at the Texas Arts and Crafts Fair.

September 23-24, 2023

Hill Country Arts Foundation and Stonehenge II

The Upside: Thanks to the stewardship and passion of Wanda Cash, the Texas Arts and Crafts Fair is back and in good hands with the passing of the leadership role to Jennyth Peterson. There's a solid mix of artists, artisans, children's activities and food trucks. And it seems like the artists are enthusiastically received financially by patrons. We look forward to the return of this in 2023.

The Downside: The one curious thing about the Hill Country Arts Foundation is that they have one of the prettiest riverfronts in the Hill Country, but it seems rarely utilized. Like the Chalk Festival, the fair is a regional driver of visitors seeking an easy day trip.

The photos:

3: The Chalk Festival

Kerrville Dalton Dover works on his chalk paiting during the 2022 Kerrville Chalk Festival.

October 2023

Kerrville City Hall Peterson Plaza

The upside: Wow! What an event. Just something interesting going on throughout the two days. We suspect this event draws people from around the Hill Country and San Antonio seeking an easy day trip. The future is bright.

The downside: The art should remain for a few more days after the conclusion because it's nice to revisit Peterson Plaza without the crush of people. In addition, we noticed that the food truck area needs to be covered entirely as a sort of food hall because it was miserably hot for those waiting in lines.

The photos:

2: The Kerrville Triathlon Festival

Kerrville's Chris Barker completes the Kerrville Triathlon.

September 2023

Louise Hays Park

The upside: As a one-weekend event, this is the most important in Kerr County because it dominates lodging. The Kerrville Triathlon, produced by an Austin events company, is exceptional in its organization and execution. It's a turn-key event for the city of Kerrville, and the vast majority of participants are from out of the area. So, its economic value is clear.

The Downside: It's the only event High Five Events produces in Kerr County. During an interview in September, High Five's leadership said they're considering adding another Kerrville event, which would be welcome.

The photos:

1. The Kerrville Folk Festival

Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians were one of the headline acts at the 2022 Kerrville Folk Festival.

May 25-June 11, 2023

Quiet Valley Ranch

The upside: Kerrville's crown jewel of events and its success will ebb and flow, but when you go to it, the 50-year-old festival's importance to the performers and audiences is fully felt. Measuring the economic impact is hard because so many people stay on site. However, seeing as many as 2,500 listening to music and several hundred more enjoying art and food makes it clear this is a huge event. Even more important is that the festival runs for 18 days, and its ability to draw nationwide should never be underestimated.

The downside: One of the things that some Kerrville people told us is that Folk Fest is just a bunch of hippies. That seemed like a strange assertion when we watched a marvelous Western Swing group in "Big Cedar Fever." There's certainly a ''hippy" element, but it's a shame that some Kerrville residents associate the festival negatively.

The photos:


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