Five Fun Not-To-Be-Missed Events This Summer
There are few places in Texas as pretty as Marble Falls, a small Texas Hill Country town that’s big on beauty, beloved for Highland Lake splendor, stunning vistas, fun year-round events and attractive vacation properties. Best of all, a river runs through it, with the Colorado River forming Lake Marble Falls, a wide blue waterway just five minutes from Lake LBJ — both lovely lakes known for picnic and watersport fun.
Located 85 miles north of San Antonio just off Hwy. 281, and 45 minutes northwest of Austin, Marble Falls is also known for its handsome nearby neighbor, Horseshoe Bay, a community just across the river a few miles from downtown, a place where many Texans enjoy vacation homes and condos or rental cabins and RV stays. The popular Horseshoe Bay Resort also draws visitors with its marina, golf courses, restaurants, pools, spa and more, and the Escondido Golf & Lake Club and community is also a popular place at tee time, making the Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay area the perfect place for a Hill Country weekend getaway.
For a spectacular stay, check into the Horseshoe Bay Resort tower, which holds 249 hotel rooms and luxury suites. Traveling with the family or a few friends? Adjacent to the hotel tower are the resort’s Paseo Vacation Apartments, with 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartment accommodations, many with private patios or terraces. The resort also offers large luxury condo-like accommodations at The Waters, with panoramic views of Lake LBJ and the Texas Hill Country.
Also on Lake LBJ, Escondido offers a private golf and lake club community that many Texans have come to call home.
Marble Falls, founded in 1887 by retired Confederate General Adam Rankin Johnson, was named for the area’s natural dams of marble on the Colorado River, which were visible before the man-made dam was built forming Lake Marble Falls. Today the dams are only visible on rare occasions when water levels are lowered by the Lower Colorado River Authority when they need to make repairs.
Also just one mile west of downtown Marble Falls is Texas’ most famous quarry, Granite Mountain, from which slabs of pink and sparkling “Sunset Red” granite were cut and carried by rail to Austin where it clads the walls of the Texas State Capitol building. It was also used in the building of the Galveston Seawall. Today a historical marker at a scenic overlook along the road tells the story of the 860-foot-tall granite dome there, which before it was quarried, looked much like another Hill Country batholith known as Enchanted Rock.
Although it’s a small town, somehow Marble Falls seems larger and busier than most small Texas towns. There is always something exciting going on, with festivals, races, fireworks and fun filling the summer calendar.
The population of Marble Falls is just 6,500, although more than 30,000 people live within a 10-mile radius, and in spring and summer months, visitors and part-time residents bring even more bustle to the area. Prosperity and growth are apparent throughout the region, with national chain stores, large markets, restaurants and businesses popping up around the city, along with numerous condos, hotels and vacation properties built upon hills overlooking the lakes.
With its historic Main Street, Marble Falls is also proud of its past, and quaint shops and restaurants there have a charming hometown ambiance where friendly merchants welcome visitors. Along the old Main Street strip, boutiques have stylish fashion merchandise, like bling-studded jewelry, sundresses, shoes, home décor and more. Little stores sell homemade fudge, popcorn and cold drinks, a spa offers pampering, and local cafes offer good eats. Art installations dot the median along Main Street, and local artists showcase their work in bright gallery spaces in town. Restaurants throughout the city, like the popular Blue Bonnet Café, thrill hungry visitors, and everyone enjoys watching the sunset from the decks of the River City Grille overlooking the water.
The town has two main parks, including Marble Falls Lakeside Park on the shore of Lake Marble Falls, and Johnson Park near Avenue J. There, birders will enjoy sightings of bald eagles during winter months, and kids can enjoy tossing a Frisbee under the large shady live oak trees that canopy the parks. Bluebonnets dot the fields in spring and line the backroads. Fishermen enjoy the creeks and lakes, and boaters love the wide expanses of river where they can speed across the water with ease.
Ready for a getaway to one of the Hill Country’s most beguiling spots? Here are five fun things to do and see in the area this summer.
Ride like the wind at the 8th Annual Marble Falls Soapbox Classic – Adult Soapbox Derby and festival to be held on June 16 -18. Adults become like kids again at this fun race in historic Marble Falls. They build their own soapbox race cars and compete with their neighbors, visitors and friends in this wild and wacky derby sponsored by the Adult Soapbox Derby Association/National Adult Soapbox Downhill Association, a Marble Falls-based sports association. Bring your own lawn chairs and shades to the 3rd Street track. Other fun festival events include a Saturday night street dance with live music, a “Show-and-Shine” event, a parade, a derby hat contest, food booths, local vendors, a Friday night Racing Under the Lights event, and more. www.adultsoapboxderby.com.
Get rodeo ready. Since 1956, the Marble Falls Pro Rodeo has always taken place the third weekend in July, and this year it will be held July 14-15 at the Charles Taylor Arena, with events starting at 8pm on both nights. Bareback Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Cowgirl’s Barrel Racing, Cowgirl’s Breakaway Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling and Team Roping are just some of the spectacular rodeo events you won’t want to miss this year, so put on your boots, jeans and cowboy hats and mosey on over to Marble Falls this summer. www.marblefallsrodeo.org.
Get in shape and participate in the 17th Annual Marble Falls Triathlon, Sunday, July 16th. Swim in the cool waters of Lake Marble Falls, bike through the Hill Country, and then finish with a run through the quaint lakeside streets of Marble Falls. Finally, enjoy a hearty, post-race lunch of pizza from a local Italian restaurant. This annual event is chip timed and USAT sanctioned, and you can register online at www.marblefallstri.com if you’d like to join in the fun.
Go for golf. Golf aficionados will want to mark their calendars so as not to miss the chance to be in Horseshoe Bay on July 21 for the Horseshoe Bay Resort Red Clay Classic Junior Open, or on July 28 for the Horseshoe Bay Resort Red Clay Championship Adult Open, or on August 18 for the Horseshoe Bay Resort Red Clay Summer Classic Adult Open. But you don’t have to be a great golfer to enjoy the courses at the resort anytime, year-round. The resort often offers golf packages, golf clinics, amateur tournaments and more. There are also fun activities and areas for the kids, including the resort’s fun Kids Club events as well as family fun with games of ping-pong, bike rentals, exciting “shark rides” and interactive educational times with exotic birds. www.hsbresort.com
You’re going to need a bigger boat. Turn out for the 26th annual LakeFest Drag Boat Races, held this August 11-13. Gather at Lakeside Park in Marble falls, where, according to the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce, each year the lake is transformed into a fast quarter-mile racetrack. More than 100 boats will race at speeds greater than 260 mph, and the banks of the lake will turn into a wild three-day boat race party. Races start at 9am, and usually end around 3pm each day, though race times are subject to change. The finals will start at 9am on Sunday, Aug. 13, followed by opening ceremonies at 11am. The day ends with over $100,000 in prize money given to the winners. Throughout the weekend, visitors can enjoy food, drinks, merchandise booths, music and more, making it a fast and fun lakeside event. Daily passes and three-day passes are available online at www.stubwire.com/events/marblefallslakefest/2017.
For more information about Marble Falls, Lake Marble Falls, and Lake LBJ visit www.marblefalls.org
For more information aboutHorseshoe Bay Resort visit www.hsbresort.com
By Janis Turk