Things to Do

Food, Fiddles, and Fun: Llano Events at the Peak of Bluebonnet Season

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Tony Maples Photography


The beginning of April promises some memorable events in Llano, Texas.  You don’t want to miss this Hill Country fun! We are continually impressed with this small town’s ability to organize big events that emphasize food, music, family, and heritage. Llano events throughout the year draw in visitors from across the Lone Star State and beyond, all of them eager to join the festivities. Start making plans for early April, specifically April 4-7, to attend two amazing Hill Country events: The Llano Fiddle Fest and the Llano River Chuck-Wagon Cook-Off.

Llano, Texas, has a long and rich history of hosting fiddle playing festivals. In 2011, the tradition was reintroduced to new audiences eager to experience what had previously been an annual event that first began in 1976. Fiddle competitions in Llano have historically drawn some big names. Not the least of which is Arthur Lee Simpson, who played with the Ramblin’ Rose Band and backed-up acts like Loretta Lynn and Charlie Pride. Llano’s desire is to honor that rich history and to keep it alive. Texas fiddle playing is a hallmark of country music, among other genres, and Llano intends to keep it that way.

Food, Fiddles, and Fun: Llano Events at the Peak of Bluebonnet Season

Photo: Facebook/Llano Fiddle Fest

Events for the Fiddle Fest will take place all over the city from the museum to a pizza parlor to the LanTex Theater. Whether you plan to enter the contest and show off your own fiddle skills, or just plan to dance along to the music, come prepared to have a good time. We love that this family-friendly event introduces children of all ages to fiddle music. Who knows, the next Arthur Lee Simpson just might be the little boy in the crowd dancing with his mama. Find out more about Fiddle Fest here this link.

Don’t miss out on another traditional Llano event taking place just down the road. The Llano River Chuck Wagon Cook-Off is a foodie’s dream come true. All the dancing from the fiddle fest will surely build up an appetite which the cook-off can easily satisfy! You might remember the torrential rains the Hill Country experienced at the end of 2018. The originally scheduled cook-off was rained out in October, but thankfully it’s now rescheduled for April 4-6, and we couldn’t be happier that it’s back!

Food, Fiddles, and Fun: Llano Events at the Peak of Bluebonnet Season

Photo: Facebook/Llano River Chuck Wagon Cook-off

Situated in Badu Park along the Llano River, the gorgeous view is a draw in and of itself. But this event has also garnered consecutive awards for best chuck-wagon event two years in a row. Cooks bring out their very best as they compete in food competitions for meat, beans, potatoes, and dessert. Get your palates ready to partake in the tasting! At noon on April 6, a public meal will be served for $20 (tickets required).

And that’s not all! Cooking demonstrations and story-telling are always a part of this special event where participants wish to honor the history of the chuck-wagon. Participants love to share the old stories of life on the cattle trail with each generation that visits. For many, it’s the only event that allows a glimpse into what life might have been like many years ago on the range, and many people swear the food cooked by chuck-wagon is the best you’ll ever taste.

Food, Fiddles, and Fun: Llano Events at the Peak of Bluebonnet Season

Photo: Facebook/Llano River Chuck Wagon Cook-Off

While some plan to compete in cooking competitions, others enter competitions specifically related to their chuck-wagon. For example, the look and authenticity of the chuck-wagons are judged, making it an event that closely mirrors the distant past in as many ways as possible. As you walk around taking in the sights and smells of the cook-off, keep your eyes peeled for which chuck-wagon you think should win. For more information visit this link.

Don’t forget that this April weekend full of fun takes place in the heart of bluebonnet season! So bring your cameras and get ready for an abundance of beautiful backdrops. We’ll see you in Llano!