Nestled among tall pine trees along the Interstate 45 corridor, Huntsville is a hidden gem to those traveling through. The town is home to Sam Houston State University, Texas’ prison system and, for one day each fall, Fair on the Square. On the first Saturday of each October, people from across Texas and beyond walk the streets of the downtown square to purchase from vendors, take in the sights and discover what the town of Huntsville has to offer.
The 48th annual Fair on the Square will be held October 1 this year. The free event spans three city blocks and features 400 unique vendors.
“So many things in this world now cost money, and prices continue to increase,” says Laura Green, events and communications manager for the Huntsville Walker County Chamber of Commerce. “But we are proud to offer this event free to those who attend. The Fair on the Square continues to be an opportunity for people to come out and enjoy the festival no matter their economic status.”
Parking for the event is also free. Fair organizers encourage visitors to skip the frustration of finding a parking spot and take advantage of complimentary shuttles. The transportation service allows visitors to park at Bowers Stadium and take a quick bus ride over to the fair’s entrance.
With free admission and parking, attendees can spend their money enjoying homemade food, shopping handcrafted items and playing games—putting more money back into the community and supporting small businesses.
Over four decades ago, organizers began hosting the family event to kick off the Texas Prison Rodeo and increase attendance. The festival continued to return each year, drawing visitors and rodeo fans from near and far to the Piney Woods.
The Texas Prison Rodeo now lives as a memory after state facilities were condemned in 1986. Although the rodeo found its place in the history books, Fair on the Square continues to grow and increase tourism in Huntsville.
Festivities begin Friday evening at the Watering Hole. Grab a drink, eat sausage on a stick and enjoy family-friendly ’80s music sponsored by KSAM and The Lake from 6 to 10 p.m. On Saturday, the fun continues with Battle of the Bands.
Wine connoisseurs will enjoy the Wine Knot tent. Purchase a ticket and enjoy a tasting with 10 wines and complimentary food pairings from local restaurants. Your favorite wines will be available to purchase by the bottle and can be taken home to enjoy later.
Children will find numerous engaging activities in the Kids Zone, including rock wall climbing, craft booths, train rides, a petting zoo and games galore.
Taste some of the local and visiting flavors available in the Food Court. “They sell everything fried you can imagine,” Green says about the 40 food vendors offering something for even the pickiest palates.
Automobile hobbyists love the Huntsville Cruisers Classic Car Display. The Cruisers are an association of enthusiasts who meet to promote and share their love of automobiles. Vehicles on display range from vintage classics to contemporary models, making for an eclectic collection.
“The fair brings more people to the downtown community than any other time of the year,” Green says. “Make a weekend of it; there’s plenty to see and do.”
While in town, take time to visit the boutiques and museums, tour the university or spend time in the state park. “You may be surprised with what we have,” Green says.
Make plans to attend this year’s Fair on the Square and book your hotel reservations now. For more information, visit faironthesquare.com.
Sponsorship and Volunteer Opportunities
Local businesses and members of the community help make Fair on the Square a repeated success. Sponsors donate time, money and resources to help keep the event free to the public. Sponsorship opportunities are highly sought after, and many participants are longtime supporters of the fair.
“In addition to our sponsors, we also need volunteers to help make the event run as smoothly as possible,” Green says. “If you can work all day or can only contribute a few hours of your time, we’d love to have your help.”
Multiple opportunities for community service are available, and all volunteers receive a free T-shirt for their time.
For more information about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Laura Green by email at [email protected].