At the intersection of the North and South Concho Rivers, in the Concho Valley region, is San Angelo, Texas, a beautiful city that hosts a wide variety of special events. With approximately 100,000 residents, San Angelo has a rich cowboy heritage, appreciation for the arts and natural beauty—from symphonic music and a national ceramic competition to a world-class water lily event. Here are San Angelo’s top 10 festivals and events for 2018.
San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo
A winter tradition for more than 80 years, San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo is Feb. 2-18. Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, the event hosts cowboys and cowgirls from all around the world who are affiliated with these organizations. Rough stock events include bull, saddle bronc and bareback riding. In addition to these, you’ll enjoy timed events like team roping, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and women's barrel racing. There’s no better place to see an authentic rodeo than among San Angelo’s enthusiastic rodeo fans.
San Angelo National Ceramic Competition
Every two years, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts holds a spring juried ceramic competition. This year, the competition and associated activities are April 19-June 24. The event showcases U.S., Canadian and Mexican artists who have submitted functional and sculptural work completed within the last two years, including art installations, mixed media pieces and artistic collaborations. Individual activities include workshops, as well as a symposium at Angelo State University and a San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts exhibit opening. You can check out other exhibits opening along Oakes Street, too, and enjoy dinner and conversing with some of San Angelo's local artists.
July 3rd Pops Concert
The week of Fourth of July wouldn’t be the same without the San Angelo Symphony and the San Angelo Community Band performing a selection of inspiring music.As the fourth largest patriotic celebration of its kind in Texas, this pops concert, always held on July 3rd, features patriotic music, a military march-in and a cannon-fire from Fort Concho. Although the performance is free, there’s reserved seating available for an additional fee. Of course, fireworks are part of the fun, too. Join the crowds along the Concho River, downtown, for this one-of-a-kind celebration of independence.
National Cowboy Day at Fort Concho
Another popular event in July is National Cowboy Day at Fort Concho that begins with a “cowboy breakfast” at 8 a.m. July 21. In 2017, Fiddle Fire Chuck Wagon served sausage, eggs, biscuits, hash browns, juice and coffee to visitors. Western music from Fiddle Fire and a skit by the Concho Cowboy Company follow breakfast at this event. After the program, you can view Western-themed art at the Barracks 6 gallery during the American Plains Artists Show. Honoring Western heritage and cowboy history for 16 years, this event is a cherished summer tradition.
Taste of San Angelo
If you’re a foodie you’ll love the Taste of San Angelo, presented by the San Angelo Restaurant Association for 41 years. Held each September at First Community Credit Union Spur Arena, it features food and drinks from some of the area’s best restaurants while also promoting other local culinary arts. More than 30 local purveyors participate in this tasty gathering, and VIP tickets grant you early access to this yummy event, which includes a live auction and a DJ.The proceeds go toward culinary education in the Concho Valley.
If success from LilyFest in 2017 is any indication, this daylong September event is a natural wonder for all the senses. Blooming water lilies at the International Water Lily Garden comprise the largest lily display at any U.S. botanical garden. In addition to tours, you can take seminars and purchase plants. There’s food and entertainment as well. Whether you’re an avid photographer, videographer or garden enthusiasts, you’ll appreciate this breathtaking display.
EnPleinAir TEXAS National Competition
Each fall, more than 30 of the world’s top plein air artists come to San Angelo for this popular juried event. From Oct. 21 to 28, you have the opportunity to watch and talk with expert painters as they create beautiful art depicting San Angelo’s natural environment. In 2017, a portion of the sales from the 34 award-winning artists provided the museum with more than $200,000 to support the nation’s best education programs.
Cinch Roping Fiesta
Since 1954, the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Association has hosted its invitational Cinch Roping Fiesta for an entire weekend in October. The fiesta celebrates ranching techniques used to facilitate medical care for animals in pastures or fields. Men’s timed events have included many national qualifiers and world champions. In addition to these events, a Junior Livestock Show includes more than 400 participants and their animals. In 2017, artists associated with the EnPleinAirTEXAS National Competition captured the fast-paced action of the 30 best tie-down and steer ropers in the world on canvas.
Christmas at Old Fort Concho
During the first weekend in December, there’s a wonderland of holiday cheer during Christmas at Old Fort Concho, spread across 40 acres and 24 buildings. You can purchase items from Texas and Southwest artisans and merchants, enjoy live entertainment, and sample goodies from the food court. Each day you can experience the Winter Rendezvous, which are 1800s-style campsites where hundreds of re-enactors and period traders bring the past to life, through music, drills and displays. Your kids will love getting crafty at the art workshop or at the cookie decorating contest. Afterward, watch an artillery demonstration on the expansive Parade Ground or hear a solo guitarist perform. With so much to see and do, allow at least half a day here to ensure you see all the winter wonders.
Concho Christmas Celebration
From late November to the start of the new year, the annual Concho Christmas Celebration delights visitors when more than 3 million holiday lights illuminate a 2.5-mile drive along the Concho River. You’ll also find additional lights during the Community Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Lights of Christmas Parade. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2018, Concho Christmas Celebration features a live Nativity scene and the annual Tuba Christmas concert. In addition to these gems, you can get a little exercise during Bike through the Lights with Santa or during the Run Rudolph Run race. Holiday magic is on full display during this beloved annual event.
Ready for a visit? Plan your trip today to see one or more of these can't-miss events found only in San Angelo, Texas.