Here in East Texas, we mean business about our annual events. Our own community members help organize many of the events in the area - and those who don't, definitely show up and participate in the fun! From exciting rides to pie eating contests, here's our top 5 festivals and fairs to attend in Lufkin and Nacogdoches.

1. Texas Blueberry Festival


Referred to as the 'Tastiest Festival in Texas', this event centers around the small delicious treat. The Texas Blueberry Festival is presented by Brookshire Brothers, and occurs in Nacogdoches every year during the 2nd weekend of June. The day long celebration of the blueberry harvest offers free admission to all patrons and features events for all ages. Patrons can attend a blueberry pancake breakfast, a story telling contest, or enter in blueberry ice cream, blueberry cobbler, or blueberry pie contests! In addition to those events, there is live music performing on 3 different stages right in downtown Nacogdoches! Become a fan of Texas Blueberry Festival on Facebook to see pictures from this year's festival!

2. Piney Woods Fair


Every October, the Nacogdoches Expo Center hosts the Piney Woods Fair and the 2011 fair is scheduled for October 12-16. This event includes five days of agricultural fun, carnival rides, a variety of fair-like foods, baking contests, and booths run by the community.

You can go ahead and buy tickets or reserve a booth now, and save some money by doing it in advance rather than at the gate! The Piney Woods Fair also includes an annual cheer competition, where local schools' squads perform and compete. There is also a featured 'kid day' at the fair, which is scheduled for the third day of the fair, Friday, October 14.

3. Nacogdoches Heritage Festival


The 30th annual Heritage Festival was held in Nacogdoches this past month, June 8-11. The Taste of Nacogdoches is a big event during the festival, and was moved to a new venue this year, held at the University Mall.

The Taste of Nacogdoches is a huge buffet that features cuisines from local restaurants, and is only $10! Other events in the festival include a royal court of princesses and duchesses, with a coronation of a Heritage Festival Queen. The ending of the festival is signified by the Heritage Ball, where local community members attend in their finest attire, and the newly crowned Queen and her court don their beautiful dresses.

4. Texas State Forest Festival


The Texas State Forest Festival is held in Lufkin at the George H. Henderson, Jr. Expo Center by the Angelina County Chamber of Commerce. This annual festival attracts over 30,000 patrons, and occurs Wednesday through Sunday of the last full week of September. It is set to take place this fall September 21-25, 2011.

The Texas State Forest Festival is one of the top events hosted in East Texas, requiring over 300 volunteers working over 2,500 hours to stage the event.

The prime festival for competitions, the Forest Festival hosts the East Texas Cheerleading Championship, Dance Team Competition, Miss Forest Festival Pageant, and of course, the famous Southern Hushpuppy Championships. The Southern Hushpuppy Championships has been featured on the Food Network and Travel Channel, and continues to draw crowds from all over Texas. In addition to the competitions offered, the Forest Festival also features a wide variety of activities for all ages. Fun carnival rides are available for those daring enough to buckle in, and live music can be heard throughout the entire venue. A Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show is also featured every year, as well as a petting zoo for the little ones.

If you are interested in volunteering and donating an extra pair of hands, fill out an application today!

5. Angelina County Youth Fair


Held at the George H. Henderson, Jr. Expo Center, the Angelina County Youth Fair is one of East Texas' best in livestock shows. The 62nd Annual Youth Fair was presented by Polk Pick It Up this past February. This five day fair starts its kick off with a Broiler Show, and throughout the week contestants enter in everything from livestock to cobblers for a panel to judge.

Ribbons and scholarship funds are rewarded to the winners of each division, and the fair culminates in an auction of all the entries on the last night. Citizens of Lufkin can come to the auction and receive the opportunity to buy delicious desserts, beautiful woodwork, and livestock animals including steers, hogs, goats, lambs and rabbits.

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