Where to See Texas Bluebonnets, Officially and Unofficially

If you’re bull-headed and refuse to acknowledge that Ennis is the Bluebonnet City of Texas and that the Chappell Hill Historical Society Bluebonnet Festival is the Official State of Texas Bluebonnet Festival, you’re pretty much breaking the law. 

In 1997, during the 75th Texas Legislature, state lawmakers, in House Concurrent Resolution 116, also designated Ennis’s 40-plus miles of mapped trails as the state’s official Bluebonnet Trail of Texas. Other resolutions that the 1997 Lege inked include the Dinosaur Capital of Texas (Glen Rose), the Bed and Breakfast Capital of Texas (Jefferson), the Kolache Home of the Texas Legislature (Caldwell), and the Seedless Watermelon Capital of Texas (Knox City). 

Random bluebonnets can currently be seen along green spaces in the Hill Country – for example, along New Braunfels's Highway 46 and on Highway 29 in and around Burnet. Another surefire spot is the drive west on 290 from Chappell Hill, located just east of Brenham, to Giddings and south on Highway 77 to La Grange.

In Houston, bluebonnets typically sprout next to Memorial Drive, South Braeswood and a few other easy-to-get-to spots.  

But for the official onslaught of bluebonnets, it’s all about Ennis as well as Chappell Hill, where the Bluebonnet Antique Show began in 1964. “It was down Main Street and only had a few participating stores and vendors,” says Joel Romo of Texana Public Affairs. 

The festival grew steadily each year, changed its name to the Bluebonnet Festival in 1983, and experienced a record attendance of up to 40,000 folks in 2014. This year’s edition will include more than 250 juried booths/vendors from all over the country and a schedule of seven bands spread across two days. 

“As a native born and raised in Chappell Hill, my favorite part is the people enjoying the area,” says Romo, adding that the tiny area includes five preserved buildings that are more than or close to 100 years old. The unincorporated Washington County community, population 600, and its rolling hills sit inside the Brazos River watershed, making it a perfect spot for spying Texas’s state flower.

The 52nd annual Chappell Hill Historical Society Bluebonnet Festival takes place from 9 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 10, at the Main Street Historic District near the Chappel Hill Historical Society Museum, 9220 Poplar Street. Admission is free; there’s a $5 parking fee. Call 979-836-6033 or go to chappellhillmuseum.org.
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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen