Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
Wade Bowen performing at the Burnet Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, Texas on April 10, 2021. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

Bluebonnet Festival
Burnet is deep in the Texas Hill Country, in the Highland Lakes region. The city is easily accessible from all directions, located at the intersection of Highways 281 and 29. Surrounded by sparkling lakes and rugged hills, it’s a scenic drive from all directions. But there is a special magic to the Hill Country when bluebonnets carpet the roadside, hills and pastures in blue at the height of the wildflower season.

Burnet is considered one of the best places in Texas for viewing wildflowers. The town officially gained recognition to the well-known fact in 1981, when the Texas State Legislature officially designated Burnet the “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas”. Community leaders decided to make the most of both the beautiful wildflowers and the recent state designation and created the Bluebonnet Festival. Through the hard work of festival founders Pat Riddell and Cary Johnson, along with the Chamber Board and dozens of volunteers from the community, the first Bluebonnet Festival held in 1983 was a huge success.

The annual Bluebonnet Festival has grown into one of the most exciting and successful small-town festivals in Texas. Always taking place the second weekend in April, the event draws crowds topping 30,000 each year. Each year, activities are added to keep the annual event exciting for first time visitors as well as repeat festival fans.

From its humble beginning to now, the Burnet Bluebonnet Festival is an annual tradition both residents and visitors alike enjoy each spring. Once you’ve attended your first festival, you’ll be hooked. Go ahead and mark your calendar for the second weekend in April. You’ll want to come back year after year.

Live Music
If you’re a music fan, then the Bluebonnet Festival is just what you are looking for! They have a stellar line-up of local artists and performers coupled with well-known Texas performers. The live music begins Friday evening and jams through Sunday afternoon. Friday and Saturday afternoon concerts are free. There is a admission fee for Saturday night’s concert.

Demolition Derby
Make plans to join fans for a fun-filled night of car crashing, metal crunching excitement. The 28th Annual Demolition Derby will take place on Saturday, April 10th at the Burnet County Rodeo Arena beginning at 6:00pm, doors open at 5:00. This is a cash only event and tickets will be on sale at the gate. Kids age 5 and under are free, age 6-9 are $5.00, age 10 and older are $15.00. This event is BYOB, with a $10 cooler fee. Entertainment during the derby will include a Kids Power Wheel Race and Mrs. Demo Derby contest.

Pet Parade
Opening ceremonies for the Bluebonnet Festival are full of traditional activities including singing of the National Anthem and saying the Pledge of Allegiance, Confederate Air Force Fly-Over, introducing Chamber Board members and thanking the many volunteers and supporters.

The most exciting event is the Pet Parade, sponsored by RE/MAX Burnet. Any type of well-behaved pet is welcome to enter the parade. The parade has always included a variety of critters: dogs, cats, hamsters, snakes, birds, goats and even a pig. Some pets are wearing the latest fashions, some pets and their owners share a theme, but most come as they are, ready for lots of tail-wagging excitement. There is no age limit on pets or their owners and many entrants make it a family affair. There is no entry fee for the parade and prizes will be given away for a variety of categories.

Wade Bowen
If it’s true what they say, that parenthood teaches some of the most profound lessons in patience and humility, this could partly explain the professional maturation that singer-songwriter Wade Bowen has experienced over the last couple of years. Settled nicely into his new role of father and family man, Wade Bowen has learned that both in the music process and in life, it’s hard to rush a good thing.

Today, he’s already a familiar and awarded name in music, performing along the active touring highways of Texas and the Southwest and selling out top venues like the legendary Gruene Hall in New Braunfels. Carving out a dedicated fan base with his magnetic appeal and proven abilities.

With musical influences that cite everyone from Aerosmith to Patty Griffin to Led Zeppelin and Paul Thorn, the result of Wade Bowen’s incessant touring is something akin to a smooth shot of roots rock with an alt-country back, served on ice with doses of traditional country and sensitive blues, but with a fiery edge, too. A blend made all its own while not overwhelming the music pallet, Bowen is passionate about being a genre-crossing artist, learning from a variety of musical styles.

As for humility, well, despite his high ranking within the Southwest’s lively Americana music community, Wade Bowen says things like this and means it: “I may be crazy, but it's hard for me to believe that I have fans that honestly care enough to listen to my music….It shocks me every day.” Some would say that even parenthood can’t teach that level of humility, not to one of today’s most promising and poignant singer-songwriter talents, Wade Bowen.

Wade Bowen
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Burnet Bluebonnet Festival
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Photos by Ralph Arvesen
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