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Burnet Bluebonnet Festival April 8-10; carnival starts April 7

Reckless Kelly

Reckless Kelly headlines the Burnet Bluebonnet Festival on Saturday, April 9. The concert is one of a plethora of fun activities during the spring celebration. Courtesy photo

The Burnet Bluebonnet Festival will finally get reckless this year after having to cancel the event and a performance by popular country band Reckless Kelly at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. The group is the musical headliner Saturday, April 9, on the courthouse square at the peak of a weekend of bluebonnet festivities. 

“There’s so much to do at this festival,” said Allison McKee, executive director of the Burnet Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event.

The 39th annual Bluebonnet Festival is April 8-10 in downtown Burnet, although the Mighty Thomas Carnival begins a day earlier, running April 7-10.

Arts and craft vendors fill up the square and side streets beginning at 2 p.m. Friday, April 8. The official opening ceremony is at 5:30 p.m. that evening. The Luedecke Photography Pet Parade follows at 5:45 p.m. with a menagerie of critters and their humans dressed in costumes.

“Someone brought a goat (to a past parade),” McKee said. “They bring goats (and pigs) to the pet parade. That’s just crazy and fun.”

Friday’s live music features Cadillac Gypsies on the Jackson Street stage from 5-8 p.m. and Departure ATX on the main stage for the kick-off street dance from 8-10 p.m.

This year marks the return of the grand parade after two years of COVID-19 restrictions. It starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The 18th annual Lakes Area Rod and Classic Car Show lines up on the banks of Hamilton Creek for a free show from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

Also that day, the Horse Calvary Detachment of the 1st Cavalry Division demonstrates close-quarter drills from 1-2 p.m. at Wallace Riddell Park, located at Texas 29 and Rhomberg just east of the downtown square. 

Live music entertains on the two stages from 12:30-11:15 p.m. Saturday. Day bands include the 1st Calvary Band, Western Playboys, Ben Watson and the Hired Guns, and the Steel Belts. 

Braendon Barnhill opens the main performance at 8 p.m. before Reckless Kelly takes the stage at 9:45 p.m. Tickets for the Saturday night concert are $20 and available at the gate or online on bluebonnetfestival.org.

The 28th annual Demolition Derby begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Burnet County Fairgrounds and Rodeo Arena, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive. Gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets, which are cash only, are $15 for ages 10 and older and $5 for ages 6-9. Admission is free for ages 5 and younger. A cooler fee for the BYOB event is $10 per cooler. 

Sunday’s activities begin with a worship service from 10-11 a.m. on the main stage. Music follows at 11:30 a.m. with Pheyland and Natalie on the main stage and Allen Ray on the Jackson Street stage.  

At 1 p.m. on the square, the wiener dog races take off; competition lasts until 3 p.m. 

Visit bluebonnetfestival.org for more information and a complete schedule of events.

daniel@thepicayune.com