Photo courtesy of Cinnamon Shore

School might be back in session for the kids, but there's still plenty of fun to be had all across Texas in September. Can't decide where to take a quick vacation, road trip, or staycation? Here are 11 events, exhibits, special celebrations, and hotel happenings around the state to help plan a getaway for Labor Day or any September weekend excursion.

Along the Gulf Coast

A luxurious Port Aransas vacation community is providing a few special discounts just in time for Labor Day and beyond. For the long holiday weekend, Cinnamon Shore is offering reduced pricing for a three-night minimum stay, with four homes left for the weekend at various price points. Don’t forget to check their Labor Day Weekend Fun schedule highlighting special family-friendly events like movies under the stars and community cookouts, or live music and yoga classes for the adults. From September 5-October 4, guests can also enjoy 50 percent off their third night at one of the Cinnamon Shore rental properties after booking a minimum two-night stay using their code Fall2023. Rates for a one-bedroom home range from $940 to $1,600, and five to eight-bedroom homes range from $4,050 to $7,550.

For a more comprehensive look at all of the seaside options along the Texas coast for Labor Day weekend, from Galveston to South Padre Island (including Cinnamon Shore), check out these Gulf Coast getaways.

In East Texas

Cavalry Court, a retro-inspired boutique hotel in College Station, has all of the amenities for a perfect weekend mini-vacation to bring in the fall season: a resort-style pool with private cabanas, live music, its signature Canteen Bar and Grill, and an outdoor pavilion. The hotel is also situated less than 10 miles from the famed Messina Hof Estate Winery for any further exploration of the city. Rates begin at $149 per night.

If East Texas’ Piney Woods region is calling your name, this resort community is the place to be: High Hill boasts luxurious experiences with rental properties sprawling over 200 acres of land. Take your pick among a bungalow suite, private bungalow, or a multi-bedroom vacation home. Also available are on-site vineyards, a relaxing spa, and Côte, a high quality farm-to-table restaurant. Starting rates are $295 for a double queen room and $275 for a king room.

In West Texas

One of the best steakhouses in Texas is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new historic art installation. The award-winning Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, a small town about half an hour southwest of Abilene, will celebrate this landmark anniversary with a new outdoor exhibit that showcase the history of the town and the restaurant through photography, while also serving as a "love letter" to the American West. The collection will include several photos of Buffalo Gap from Lisa and Tom Perini's private collection. The exhibit, on display September 28-October 28, will be open to the public, and restaurant reservations can be made on their website.

In Austin

ThePecan Street Festival, a twice-yearly arts festival, is returning to downtown Austin on September 16-17. Over 300 local artisans and vendors will be selling their handmade art, crafts, clothing, and more in booths lined along 6th Street between Brazos Street and I-35 for the weekend. Live performances by local musicians are also scheduled throughout the weekend. The festival is free.

A fascinating new exhibition of beautifully aged books on display at The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin is a bibliophile’s dream. The Long Lives of Very Old Books shares the histories of 15th through 17th century books through their physical attributes and treatment within the hands of time. Both prominent titles and esoteric finds are put under the spotlight. The exhibition is on display until December 30. Admission is free.

In the Hill Country

San Antonio’s Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa has a special Labor Day event lineup for families looking for a weekend escape. On Saturday, September 2, the resort will host a Texas-themed barbecue and country music. On Sunday, September 3, guests can enjoy a Fiesta-themed buffet with mariachi music. Besides excellent guest service and luxurious experiences, this newly renovated, award-winning resort has also prioritized its convenient location to several San Antonio attractions, such as SeaWorld and the downtown Riverwalk. Rates begin at $394 per night.

If bringing in the fall months with a glass of wine in hand is your preference, consider visiting Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall, a winery less than half an hour from Fredericksburg. Three special events will help patrons embrace the month of September: a six-winery tasting tour, dubbed The Heroic Hye Wine Hunt, on September 2; and the release of a 2020 GSM Mélange wine on September 8. Plus, visitors can celebrate International Port Wine Day with a tasting of the Texas Ruby port-style dessert wine on September 10. Tickets for the wine hunt are $30, and reservations for tastings can be made via Tock or by emailing tastingroom@pedernalescellars.com.

For six weekends beginning September 23 until October 29, the family-friendly Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival is returning to its home grounds at the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead for its third and final year before moving to a new location. Each weekend has its own festive theme and special events, and costume-wearing is encouraged. Of course, no pumpkin fest is complete without its signature pumpkin patch. Tickets are $15, and admission is free for children under 3 years old and for seniors aged 65 and up.

In North Texas

The State Fair of Texas begins its run in Dallas at the end of September, with 24 days of live music, carnival games, fried food creation competitions, and more. Luckily for CultureMap readers, here's a thorough guide to getting every possible discount at the fair this year. For example, visitors can get $10 admission on opening day for bringing two jars of peanut butter for the North Texas Food Bank. The State Fair runs September 29-October 22.

In a historic U.S. debut, almost all of the known surviving artworks by the legendary Mexican artist Abraham Ángel will be put on display at the Dallas Museum of Arton September 10, honoring the young artist's brief life and three-year career. Ángel's work embodied the ever-changing culture of his country in the early 20th century. Between Wonder and Seductionwill be on display until January 28, 2024. Admission to the museum is free, but special exhibition tickets are $15.

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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

Dallas-Fort Worth chocolatier gets crazy order for 50,000 chocolate bars

Chocolate News

Dallas-Fort Worth chocolatier Kate Weiser recently fielded the biggest order in her chocolate-making career: 50,000 chocolate bars - stat.

The mega-order came from Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts, who have an ongoing holiday promotion with a chocolate component.

Famous for her artisic hand-painted bonbons, Weiser says her typical customer at her three stores in Trinity Groves, NorthPark Center, and the Shops at Clearfork is more likely to buy a box of 10 or 15 chocolates, or maybe the large 35-piece collection if it's a splurge.

The hotel chain's request was unprecedented and required Weiser and her team to stop everything else they were doing to fulfill the order.

"We weren’t expecting an order of this magnitude, especially during the holiday season which is our busiest time," she says. "We start planning for the holidays in January, and this request came in September, which gave us only two months to turn it around."

Called Ticket to Wonder, the promotion involves some kind of giveaway where guests get chocolate bars, 50 of which have hidden tickets that can be redeemed for a free five-night stay.

Weiser had to produce an initial run of 45,000 chocolate bars that would be manufactured and shipped to Omni locations across the U.S.

All by the beginning of November.

Weiser ended up delivering a 3-ounce milk chocolate bar made with 42 percent Madagascar vanilla, with chocolate sourced from a Swiss company called Felchlin.

"Getting the chocolate was the first hump," Weiser says. "But I had just been treated to a trip to Felchlin to tour their facility. We usually use a French brand, but we loved their chocolate and were trying to figure out a way to incorporate it into our day to day."

They did a tasting, and the Omni loved the Felchin chocolate, she says. But the order required 10,000 pounds.

"At that time, I didn’t think about logistical nightmare of getting 10,000 pounds shipped to the U.S. on such a short turnaround," she says. "My distributors from whom I get my chocolate were all, 'Are you nuts? We might have 50 cases, and you’re going to need 1,000'."

But one reached out to Felchin's CEO and the company basically shipped over their entire supply.

“We basically sold them out and they had to send more,” says Weiser. "Felchlin is an incredible premium chocolate brand. They’re a little bit of a smaller company, but they are really up and coming."

The next big step: the actual physical production of the bars.

"Sometimes I feel like I have someone watching over us, because the timing couldn't have worked out better," she says. "Just a few weeks before, I had installed an insanely expensive automated bar-making machine that we'll be able to use to do some of the production on our bonbons. But we put it right to work. This Omni order was the first thing we used it for."

Even with the automated process, it still took two weeks at full capacity, 10 hours a day, to get the job done.

The promotion has been such a success that the Omni has already placed a follow-up order for another 5,000 bars.

“We’re going to figure that out,” Weiser says.

Post Malone collaborates on new line of Dallas Cowboys hoodies and T's

Celebrity Merchandise News

Post Malone, the rapper, singer, native Texan, and self-professed die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, has debuted a limited-edition collection of Post Malone x Dallas Cowboys merchandise featuring T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and shorts.

According to a release, the collection comprises 22 pieces of apparel, priced from $40-168, will go on sale on November 30.

The collection includes apparel in basic white or black, with blue as an accent color. Some have slogans such as "Blessed this shirt for another Dallas Cowboys victory," while others feature portraits of Post.

Malone collaborated with Grant Kratzer of streetwear brand Cheatin Snakes, who served as co-designer on the limited-edition collection, described by the release as featuring an eclectic style that embodies Malone’s roots through a fusion of vintage and streetwear.

In regards to the collection, the release quotes Malone thusly: “How ‘bout them Cowboys!” He's a man of few words.

The collection is for sale on NTWRK, a digital marketplace based in Los Angeles, who will host a celeb-studded debut featuring appearances by former players Dez Bryant, Michael Irvin, and Drew Pearson. (All three represent the “88 Club”, the Dallas Cowboys' club of wide receivers who shared 88 as their jersey number.)

Dez and Drew will join NTWRK on November 30 from “Dez’s Big Dallas Tailgate” party in Arlington; Irvin will patch in from Los Angeles.

That evening, the collection will be sold on-site at AT&T Stadium and Dallas Cowboys stores when the club takes on the Seattle Seahawks. (L.A. residents can buy the collection at a pop-up located at NTWRK's HQ at 433 N. Fairfax, open to the public from 11/30 to 12/3.)

Malone's most recent Dallas Cowboys collaboration was the October opening of a Raising Cane's that was given a Post Malone x Dallas Cowboys makeover. One month prior, Malone and Raising Cane's teamed up on a Cowboys-themed plastic cup.