Preparations are under way for an even bigger and better 38th Burnet Bluebonnet Festival, scheduled for April 9-11 on the historic downtown Courthouse square.
Traditionally, the festival has been held each year on the second weekend in April and draws more than 30,000 people to the Burnet County seat for fun and frivolity. Last year’s event had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers are determined that this year’s festival will be one for the books.
This year’s Saturday night street dance music headliner will be the always-popular Reckless Kelly, who also have performed previously at the Burnet Summer Concert Series at Haley Nelson Park. Led by brothers Willy Braun and Cody Braun, the Austin-based band has a large following in Texas and beyond the state as well.
Tickets are $15 per person and there is a $5 cooler charge at the gate. There are free concerts on Friday night and throughout the afternoon on Saturday. And while you listen to music, check out the XLR8 & Co. Bluebonnet Biergarten on Jackson Street, next to the stage, where you can quench your thirst with ice cold beer or Bluebonnet blue wine-aritas.
Opening ceremonies for the Bluebonnet Festival kick off on Friday, April 9 with the singing of the national anthem and recitation of the Pleadge of Allegiance. The Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force performs a flyover and the Burnet Chamber of Commerce board, which puts on the festival, is introduced.
After that it’s time for the Pet Parade, sponsored by RE/MAX Burnet, where well-behaved pets can enter and win prizes.. Competition is open to dogs, cats, hamsters, snakes, birds, goats, pigs and even ferrets. It’s a doggone good time with no age limit to pets or owners and no entry fee. Participants are encouraged to dress up themselves and their pets in costumes and have fun.
The annual Bluebonnet Festival Grand Parade will take place on Saturday, April 10, and is always one of the biggest and best parades in Central Texas, featuring marching bands, antique cars, horses, fire trucks and special performing groups, such as the Sunrise Beach Lawn Chair Brigade and Hill Country Plungettes.
The parade starts at the staging area at Wallace Riddell Park and heads downtown to circle the Courthouse square before heading east on Jackson and back to the park. Entry fee for the parade is $10 and entry forms are available at the Burnet Chamber of Commerce, 101 N. Pierce St., or online at bluebonnetfestival.org.
Prizes will be awarded for Best Walking Group, Best Equine Group, Most Creative Float, Best on Wheels, Best Commercial Entry and Best Overall Entry.
Like to watch car cashes from the safety of the stands? Make plans to come see the annual Demolition Derby, which will take place Saturday, April 11, at the Burnet County Rodeo Arena, beginning at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets will be on sale at the gate for this cash-only event with tickets for age 10 and older at $15 per person, while kids 6-9 are admitted for $5 per person and kids age 5 and under get in free.
This event is BYOB with a $10 cooler fee, but please, no bottles. Entertainment during the derby will include a Kids Power Wheel Race and Mrs. Demo Derby contest. For more information, contact Rustey Ward at 512-234-0794 or Brent Nichols at 512-663-2856.
The Mighty Thomas Carnival returns to bring back that old-time carnival fun to children of all ages. It is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, April 7 (Family Night); 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, April 8; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 9; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 10.
Discounted advance sale wristbands can be purchased before noon Thursday, April 7, at the Burnet Chamber of Commerce for $18. Once the carnival begins, wristband will be available at ticket booths for $20-$24 for unlimited rides, depending on the time period.
Single tickets can be purchased for $1 per ticket, or $25 for 30 tickets. Rides are 3-5 tickets per ride and all riders must have tickets or wristbands to participate.
The Literacy Highland Lakes Rubber Ducky Race is wild, wacky and quacky and starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10. Sponsor a rubber duck for $5 each or a quack pack of five ducks for $20. Prizes are awarded to the fastest rubber ducks to cross Hamilton Creek.
This race helps Literacy Highland Lakes promote its programs for adult literacy, GED preparation, English as a Second Language (ESL) and citizenship. For more information call 512-756-7337 or visit literacyhl.org for additional information on the Race or any of Literacy’s programs.
Another favorite is the Wiener Dog Race, presented by Gary Wideman State Farm Insurance. Held on Sunday, April 11, at 1 p.m. at the historic Burnet downtown square, this is a fun event for the whole family, especially the dog lovers and their four-legged fur babies. Owners encourage their best friends to cross the finish line for glory and treats.
Other activities include the 5K and 10K run, the Lakes Area Rod and Classic Car Show, the Burnet gunfighters shootout at Old Town, the children’s bicycle decorating contest, children’s games and activities, the Highland Lakes Birding & Wildflower Show, the Burnet Kiwanis all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast, the Masonic Lodge Fish Fry, arts and crafts vendor and much more.
For more information, or to register for an arts and crafts booth, go online to bluebonnetfestival.org/register or call 512-756-4297 or email email@example.com with any questions.