Top 10 Annual Events and Festivals in Lubbock
Home to the legendary musician Buddy Holly, a rich western heritage and award-winning wineries, Lubbock is a popular destination for travelers to escape their everyday routines. Throughout the year, the city hosts a number of annual events, often celebrating its historical past and creative arts community. While there are many events to choose from, this guide narrows it down to some of the most popular. Here are the top annual events and festivals in Lubbock to put on your calendar.
First Friday Art Trail – Monthly
On the first Friday of every month, the Lubbock Cultural District comes alive with new art exhibits, live music and food vendors. From 6 to 9 p.m., attendees can browse through galleries located across downtown Lubbock. Travel is simple thanks to free trolleys that run continuously throughout the evening. Guests can purchase their favorite art pieces if they wish and use an FFAT map to find their way through the galleries. The event’s purpose is to support local artists and is sponsored by many local businesses.
ABC Pro Rodeo, March – April
Held at the City Bank Coliseum, the ABC Pro Rodeo is an annual, family-friendly event where thousands of spectators gather to watch live rodeos, calf roping, clowns, bull riding and more. Sponsored by AMBUCS and Angus Wilson Ranch, its purpose is to create independent lifestyles for people with disabilities, and all proceeds go to the Lubbock Boys & Girls Club and other local charities. Other events at the rodeo include bareback bronco riding, steer wrestling and team roping.
Lubbock Arts Festival – April
The Lubbock Arts Festival is an annual event each April featuring more than 150 visual artists and multiple live performances. Located at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, visitors can browse through the works for sale by talented artists from across the nation. Bring the kids, because there are several designated “Kid Stops” for children to engage in art-related activities. The event is hosted by the Lubbock Arts Alliance.
Wines & Vines Festival – May
McPherson Cellars, one of the most prominent wineries in Lubbock, hosts its annual Wines & Vines Festival each May. The event welcomes winemakers from all over Texas, where they hand out samples of their top varieties. Visitors can buy admission for either one day or two, and the event includes live music, food trucks and local food vendors serving dishes to pair with the wines. The event raises money for Meals on Wheels.
Llano Estacado Wine & Clay Festival – June
The annual Wine & Clay Festival at Llano Estacado Winery celebrates two different but equally beautiful crafts: winemaking and pottery. More than 40 regional potters are generally on-site, presenting their housewares and other clay products. Other artists, including jewelry makers and painters, also sell their creations during the event. For two days, event attendees get to enjoy live music and taste various wines fresh out of the barrels and wine vats at Llano Estacado. More than 2,000 people attend this popular annual event at the winery.
JABFest – September
One of the largest Americana music festivals in the region is held annually in Lubbock. JABFest, featuring the popular Lubbock-based Josh Abbott Band, is a music event that also showcases performances from other local artists. Past artists include the Wheeler Brothers, The Dirty Guv’nahs and Sam Riggs. The festival takes place at the Lone Star Amphitheater, and food and drink are available on-site.
Buddy’s Birthday Bash – September
Lubbock is home to the late legendary musician Buddy Holly, who paved the way for many rock ‘n’ roll artists of our time. Buddy’s Birthday Bash, held annually in September at the Buddy Holly Center, celebrates the iconic artist’s birthday. Visitors are invited to help themselves to a slice of birthday cake while enjoying several local musicians performing on stage. Children are invited to join fun workshops like poodle-skirt making and shoe-box guitar crafts.
National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration – September
At the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration is held annually in September to celebrate Western heritage. The event includes storytellers, poetry readers and entertainers, some of whom reenact life in the early West. Several shows like horse-handling, a horse-themed parade and Native American dances take place throughout the event. Probably the most popular event is the Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, where authentic chuck wagon meals are served to attendees. An on-site market includes Western-inspired vendors and artisans.
Grape Day – October
Grape Day is an annual event held at Llano Estacado Winery to celebrate the grape harvest. Attendees are given a souvenir glass and several wines to sample from the winery while enjoying live music. Local food vendors are on-site, and a Red Raider football game is usually shown on a giant outdoor screen. All wines served are directly from Llano Estacado Winery.
Candlelight at the Ranch – December
Ranching is a big deal in Lubbock and one of the best ways to celebrate its historic heritage is Candlelight at the Ranch at the National Ranching Heritage Center. Volunteers dressed in period attire reenact how the early Western pioneers celebrated Christmas on the prairie. The yuletide celebration involves thousands of luminaries flickering in the night and ends with a warm bonfire, where attendees gather around for hot cocoa and cider. Bring the kids, because Santa Claus makes a personal appearance.
This list is just a snapshot of all the fantastic, family-friendly events that take place in Lubbock each year. Check the calendar of events regularly to see what’s coming up in Lubbock, and read the blog for insider information on what to expect during some of the year’s best events.