Best Fall Festivals in Houston

September 3, 2012 1:00 PM

With something for everyone, and plenty of family-friendly events to boot, you won’t want to miss out on any of these events in Houston this fall.

nutcrackermarket Best Fall Festivals in Houston

(credit: Nutcracker Market/Facebook)

There is never a lack of fall fun in the fourth largest city in the nation. Arts and culture, history, shopping and food come straight to your backyard every year as the weather cools. With something for everyone, and plenty of family friendly events to boot, you won’t want to miss out on any of these events in Houston this fall.

Houston Hot Sauce Festival
Stafford Centre
10505 Cash Road
Stafford, TX 77477
(281) 208-6900

Price: free children younger than 12
Hours: Sept. 15 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sept.16 – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

If you’ve ever thought you needed a little more spice in your life, look no further than the Houston Hot Sauce Festival. Vendors will showcase flavors from mild to dangerous in their hot sauces, salsas, jams, jellies, marinades, rubs and hot wings. Look out for CaJohn’s from Columbus, Ohio – the winningest hot sauce company in America – which will take part in the festival for the first time, aiming for a first-place trophy in Houston to add to their collection. In addition to spicy yet delicious food, enjoy vendor stalls with crafts, jewelry and clothes (all in accordance with the pepper theme) and the Zydeco Dots performing throughout the day. Proceeds from the festival will benefit Snowdrop Foundation Cancer research, which helps patients and families at Texas Children’s Cancer Center with cancer research and college scholarships for pediatric cancer patients and survivors.

The Original Greek Festival
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
3511 Yoakum Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 526-5377

Price: $5 for adults/free children 12 and younger/$20 for pre-order tickets with dinner plate included
Date: Oct. 4 to 7
Click here for hours

In its 46th year, the Original Greek Festival lets everyone be Greek for a day. This family friendly environment is full of great food, wonderful performances and the history of Greek immigrants in the Houston area. Held at the main Greek Orthodox cathedral complex in the city, it includes cathedral tours, exhibits of religious artifacts and icons, a tour of the Annunciation Orthodox School and exhibits created by the students. Make sure to wander around the many booths offering authentic Greek food – made from recipes handed down through the generations – to find the award-winning best festival food for this year. For the little ones, the Athenian Playground offers children’s activities that are both fun and educational, and adults may enjoy folk dancing performances. Proceeds from the festival have gone to neighboring social organizations, including Covenant House, , Texas Emergency Aid Coalition, Houston Area Women’s Center and the Star of Hope.

Related: Houston International Festival Preview

International Quilt Festival
George R. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, TX 77010
(713) 853-8000

Prices: $12 for adults/$9 for seniors, students/free children 10 and younger/$42 full show pass
Hours: Oct. 31 – 7 p.m.  to 10 p.m.; Nov. 1 to Nov. 3 – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Nov. 4 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The largest quilting show in the world, the International Quilt Festival in Houston brings vendors and exhibitors from all far corners of the globe. Taking up all four exhibit halls in the convention center, this festival serves up something for everyone. Famous quilting, embroidery and crafting teachers will hold courses on how to improve your craft. The best of the best will be on display for you to view – with many of the winning quilters on hand to answer questions about their work – and even the most novice quilters may spend some time at the machine, helping charities to make quilts for sick children (Project Linus) or troops overseas (Quilts of Valor). After seeing the exhibits, walk through the aisles and aisles of vendors selling everything from lace, fabric, patterns, machines, jewelry and anything in between. Be sure to check out the Victorian aisle, which features shops selling vintage and antique laces and fabrics from more than 100 years ago – a real dose of history even if you don’t purchase anything.

Nutcracker Market
Reliant Center
One Reliant Park
Houston, TX 77054
(713) 535-3231

Prices: $12 in advance at Randall’s/$13 at the door/ free children younger than 6
Hours: Nov. 8 to Nov. 9 – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Nov. 10 to Nov. 11 – 10 am. to 6 p.m.

Full of almost anything and everything you could want in an indoor shopping experience, this craft, home and garden, and food fair is a Houston favorite and a great place to go and pick up something for your friends and family for the holidays. With vendors selling clothing, purses, jewelry, home accessories, kitchen items and baking mixes — with a large amount of Christmas and other holiday decorations and items tossed in — you can find something for even the most discerning member of your family or group of friends here. Proceeds from the Nutcracker Market benefit the Houston Ballet and its scholarship and educational programs.

Via Colori: The Street Painting Festival
Hermann Square at City Hall
Bagby and McKinney
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 520-8257

Price: free
Hours: Nov. 17 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Nov.18 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Come and see the downtown of Houston transformed like you’d never believe. During the Via Colori festival, more than 240 artists will spread out along the streets of the city to cover the ground in brightly colored chalk murals. In 2012, a Downtown Mural will be created, depicting the Houston skyline from all four directions, creating a 360-degree perspective. This mural – which is expected to break records – will be spearheaded by nationally renowned artist Douglas Rouse. The festival will be moved to Sam Houston Park if rain is expected for the whole weekend. While talking with the artists — who will be in the process of creating their chalk masterpieces — enjoy the live music and the food and drink vendors. Proceeds from the event will go toward the Center for Hearing and Speech.

RelatedBest Upcoming Art Festivals in Houston

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at

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