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Written by Jane Kellogg Murray

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Not every community can fondly recall the good ol’ days when mermaids would swim and play in the local waters, but San Marcos can. Between the 1950s and the 1990s, San Marcos was home to Aquarena Springs, one of Texas’ most popular theme parks featuring a submerged theater where the “Aquamaids” performed graceful underwater dances and other playful antics. Though the theme park is long gone, memories of the city’s thriving mermaid culture live through a new festival Sept. 2–17, SMTX Mermaid Splash. With a series of family activities, social events, and educational forums on a variety of San Marcos topics, this second annual fete is as much a party for the beautiful San Marcos River as it is an affirmation of the local community and the mermaids who work to protect it. The 16-day festival wraps up with its three biggest events—the Mermaid Society Ball on Sept. 15 and the Mermaid Parade and Aqua Faire on Sept. 16.

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From fields of rubbish to exceptionally curated tents of antique décor, vintage shopping has never been better than it will be this fall in Round Top. More than 100,000 antique hunters from across the country are expected to make their biannual trek to this tiny town as a slew of vendors open up shop, including the Arbor International Antiques & Interior Design Show, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary Sept. 20–30; Zapp Hall, which celebrates 30 years Sept. 29–October 7; the Marburger Farm Antique Show, which commemorated its 20th anniversary this past spring and returns Sept. 26–30; and the one that started it all—the Original Round Top Antiques Fair—which celebrates a milestone 50-year anniversary Sept. 25–30

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Summer vacation may be ending for many as school starts back, but finding fun things to do in Texas never ends, especially this weekend. Find sandcastle building lessons in Galveston, salsa dancing lessons in Addison, or canoers and kayakers racing through the river in downtown San Antonio.

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It's going to be a hot one this weekend. So, what can you do to get your mind off the sizzling temps? Stare at the stars in Boerne, celebrate the National Day of the American Cowboy in Bandera or Amarillo, or cool off at Cool River Ranch near San Marcos for one of the most unique music festivals in the state: Float Fest.

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Daylight stretches late into the evening these days, giving families more time to celebrate summer's buzziest nuisance in style at the Great Texas Mosquito Festival, wonder in awe at Longview's Great Texas Balloon Race, and enjoy a four-day celebration of the music and spirit of far west Texas during Viva Big Bend.

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It's here: The summer heat that causes Texans to head into the air-conditioned indoors. Take advantage of indoor opportunities like the Round Top Festival Institute's final concert weekend, or brave the sweat-inducing temps with events like the Paris Balloon and Music Festival.

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Here's to the weekend—especially this one, filled with barrels of ripe peaches, deep-sea fishing, and building sandcastles with the pros.

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This holiday weekend—aside from the usual fireworks and parades and barbecues (though don't worry, there's plenty of that too)—you have the freedom to enjoy summer with bluegrass music, floating a river, and a fishin' fiesta.

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View the updated list for 2018.

Everything's bigger in Texas, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to celebrating our nation’s independence. We've compiled the ultimate guide—more than 100 events!—to help you plan the perfect red, white, and blue holiday weekend.

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The longest day of the year has come and gone, but there's still time to enjoy the long days of summer with watermelon seed-spitting contests in Luling, a wacky festival and race through Austin, and food trucks galore in legendary Luckenbach Texas.

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June 19, or Juneteenth, marks the day in 1865—two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation—when an estimated 250,000 slaves residing in Texas were informed of their freedom. More than 150 years later, Texans embrace this special holiday as a time to honor African-American heritage with events across the state.

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June is cooking up some delicious events this weekend, including the Shrimporee in Aransas Pass, Pie Fest in Cisco, the Jacksonville Tomato Fest, and the Texas Blueberry Festival in Nacogdoches.

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