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Written by Jane Kellogg Murray

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In its 50th year of celebrating all things Irish, San Antonio’s River Walk will once again be magically transformed into the “River Shannon” with an eco-friendly green dye for St. Patrick's Day weekend, March 16-17. Thousands flock to the festivities to indulge at the Irish food court and watch Irish entertainment, including world-class bagpipers and local Irish dancers.

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 The weekend's best bets include winter birding opportunities across the state—from the Laguna Madre to Guadalupe Mountains National Park—and cultural festivals like the Denton Black Film Festival and Celtic Fest in San Marcos. 

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 In case you need the motivation, here are 10 reasons to get out of bed this weekend—from the Luckenbach Blues Festival to a traveling Broadway show.

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Make this three-day weekend count with our picks of the best festivals, parades, and historical happenings across the Lone Star State—from one of the largest MLK Day parades in the country to the kickoff of the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

Three hundred years ago—before Davy Crockett became a household name, before the Chili Queens served hearty bowls of red on San Antonio’s Military Plaza, and long before Fiesta San Antonio became an annual 11-day party attracting some 3.5 million visitors to the Alamo City—Spanish missionaries founded Mission San Antonio de Valero, best known these days as the Alamo.

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Bootstrap your way into the new year with these Texas traditions old and new—the largest fireworks display of its kind in the Central time zone, polar bear plunges in the Gulf of Mexico, and San Antonio's dazzling New Year's celebration as it kicks off its tricentennial year.

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Start a new family tradition this holiday weekend—listen to carolers on the San Antonio River Walk or underground at Natural Bridge Caverns, or do some last-minute gift shopping at markets like Austin's Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.

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Enjoy the holiday season in true Texas fashion, with made-in-Texas gifts at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, special holiday concerts from Asleep at the Wheel and Bruce & Kelly, and the annual tree lighting at the LBJ State Park & Historic Site.

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 The weekend lights up with holiday events galore—a lighted boat parade in Rockport, a historic Christmas at Lubbock's Candlelight at the Ranch, and Austin's annual favorite, Trail of Lights, debut this weekend.

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While it may be challenging to have a true "White Christmas" in the Lone Star State, at least you can experience a cool one this weekend, with events like Galveston's Dickens on The Strand, Natural Bridge Caverns' annual underground Christmas at the Caverns, and Frost Fest in Palestine.

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There's so much to be thankful for this weekend—including Holiday Wonder, a new, family-friendly holiday lights display in Dallas; San Antonio's Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, the largest and longest-running mariachi music festival in Texas; and Galveston's Brewmasters Craft Beer Festival, rescheduled to this weekend after Hurricane Harvey.

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The parades, marches, and celebrations surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 15, honor the man and his nonviolent approach in the civil rights movement. Here are just a few of the events scheduled across Texas.

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