If you haven’t been to a small-town Texas craft fair, you’re missing out. Earlier this month, Ryan and I (Caitlynn writing) took Sweet Feeders to the Chappell Hill Bluebnnet Festival. Caleb & Lindsey have visited this fair several times previously, but it was our first time to go.
Now, Chappell Hill is a tiny (and magnificent!) town, but the Bluebonnet Festival is by no means a tiny festival. Both vendors & buyers come from far & wide across the great state of Texas. Booths line the historical Main Street in town, and overflow into the nearby Poplar Street (that’s where we were!), and a large lot just off of Poplar. One special trait of this festival is that it is the official Bluebonnet Festival of Texas. That’s a pretty high distinction in Texas, y’all!
We are definitely planning to go back next year, and I recommend that you check out the festival as a possible weekend trip for yourself next year, as well! Here are a few features of the festival and area you can look forward to:
1. The Countryside
First of all, although Chappell Hill isn’t technically in the Hill Country, the surrounding fields & farms are stunningly lush and beautiful in April. True to the festival name, many of the rolling fields & roadsides are decked with wildflowers. For a country getaway, the drive distance isn’t that bad – Chappell Hill is located between Austin & Houston, and is only three hours south of the DFW area. Also, the drive itself is lovely, the closer you get to your destination!
Tip: When planning your schedule, figure time into your drive to stop and enjoy the wildflowers! It’s hard to get good pictures from a moving car 🙂
2. The Historical Sites
Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures of the exquisitely preserved Main Street and surrounding neighborhoods. We were so busy with our booth that we did not get to take the time I wanted to thoroughly explore. However, Chappell Hill is one of the most well-preserved historical Texas towns I’ve ever visited, and when we go back again, I’d love to go the morning before the show, to have time to explore! We did get to park next to this lovely chapel, though:
Tip: Plan time into your schedule to tour Chappell Hill before the show starts!
3. The Vendors
Ryan and I enjoyed meeting many different vendors, as well as browsing the wide variety of wares. I found more unique booths at this show than I have at the last few I have attended, and made several purchases, myself! Besides the regular booths including boutique clothing, sauce & spice mixes, and country decor, we visited booths featuring items such as imported Polish pottery, hand-carved children’s toys, and beautiful potted plants.
Tip: Make sure you bring cash, not just cards, for your shopping! Many vendors only accept cash.
4. The Lodging
Chappell Hill itself is too small to be able to sustain many hotels, so if you are looking for a Best Western or La Quinta, you’ll need to check out those options in the nearby city of Brenham, TX. However, I recommend that you check out one of the local bed & breakfasts, or even AirBnB. We found our lodging for the show through the latter option, and couldn’t be more pleased. There were a number of lovely options to choose from, and having a quite place to escape from the crowds at the end of the day is essential when working a show. The bed & breakfasts were actually quite comparable to the hotels in price, as well. We stayed in the sweetest little cabin in the nearby town of Hempstead:
Tip: Book your lodging as far in advance as possible! Since Chappell Hill is such a small town in a relatively remote area, lodging fills up quickly!
5. The Food
Festival food is always a little pricey, but we were fairly impressed with the selection and prices at the 2018 Chappell Hill festival. We only spent $22 total on lunches for both of us (that includes Saturday and Sunday lunch)! That is a feat anywhere, considering Ryan’s voracious appetite. There were dozens of food vendors in the lot off of Poplar Street, including several food trucks. Most food available was classic fair food, such as hot dogs, corn dogs, turkey legs, popcorn, etc. We particularly enjoyed the $2 hot dogs from a local sausage company, as well as this delectable turkey leg!
Tip: Find the Chappell Hill Sausage Company’s food booth for some delicious and affordable food & drinks!
Well, that’s a quick review of our time at the Bluebonnet Festival, but I hope it is helpful. We were delighted with our experience there, and hope you visit our booth there next year! In the meantime, Chappell Hill also hosts a fall show called the Scarecrow Festival, which I hear is just as enjoyable (except you won’t see any bluebonnets). If you live in the South/Central Texas area, a Chappell Hill festival should definitely be on your travel bucket list!