Oftentimes, we address those that we love with an endearing nickname, made special because it is unique to them, whether it describes their personality, or some physical trait, or something that they’ve done.
The same is often true for our towns and communities. Throughout the ages, towns have been given nicknames, usually reflecting what they are known for, such as industry or crops or location.
Most nicknames for towns become their slogans, and for some of those, the State of Texas has passed resolutions making those designations official.
Whether made official by the legislature, or just promoted by the community, town nicknames can serve to create an identity, build a brand for tourism, and recognize the community’s contributions to the State.
Some nicknames given to communities are almost as old as the towns they describe. Others have been created to encourage travelers to stop and visit.
The list we’ve compiled is by no means complete – there are too many to name all of them on these pages! It’s a good start though!
FUN DESIGNATIONS – Both Official (O) and Unofficial (U)
ANAHUAC – Alligator Capital of Texas (O)
ATHENS – Blackeyed Pea Capital of the World (U)
BOERNE – Key to the Hill Country (U)
BROWNSVILLE – Chess Capital of Texas (O)
CALDWELL – Kolache Capital of Texas (O)
CORPUS CHRISTI – Sparkling City by the Sea (U)
CORSICANA – Fruit Cake Capital of the World (U)
FLOYDADA – Pumpkin Capital of Texas (O)
FRIONA – Cheeseburger Capital of Texas (O)
GALVESTON – Oleander City (U)
GILMER – Home of the Yamboree (U)
HAMILTON – Dove Capital of Texas (U)
HAPPY – The Town Without a Frown (U)
HAWKINS – Pancake Capital of Texas (O)
JACKSONVILLE – Tomato Capital of the World (U)
JASPER – Butterfly Capital of Texas (O)
KENEDY – Horned Lizard Capital of Texas (O)
LOCKHART – Barbecue Capital of Texas (O)
LONGVIEW – Purple Martin Capital of Texas (O)
MADISONVILLE – Mushroom Capital of Texas (O)
MIDLAND – Ostrich Capital of Texas (O)
MOUNT PLEASANT – Bass Capital of Texas (U)
ODESSA – Jack-Rabbit Roping Capital of Texas (O)
SANDERSON – Cactus Capital of Texas (O)
TURKEY – Western Swing Capital of Texas (U)
WEST TAWAKONI – Catfish Capital of Texas (O)
OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED ‘OFFICIAL CAPITALS’
Outdoor Capital of Texas
In 2005, the Texas State Legislature recognized Buda, the booming suburb between Austin and San Marcos, as the Outdoor Capital of Texas.
With more parkland per capita than any other city in Texas, Buda was a shoe in for the designation.
While the community is growing by leaps and bounds these days, it still maintains some of the best park areas, including Historic Stagecoach Park, a 54-acre natural area, Buda City Park, the place where the town holds festivals and special events, the Jackson Tyler Norris Memorial Skate Park, and the Buda Sportsplex, used for various sporting events, including baseball, softball and more.
In addition to those mentioned, Buda has an additional eight parks that can be enjoyed throughout the City.
Plan a daytrip to check out this ‘Certified Scenic City’. Visit budatxtourism.com for all the information.
BURNET AND LLANO COUNTIES:
Co-Bluebonnet Capitals of Texas
Burnet and Llano Counties are quite possibly the most popular places for folks to get snaps of their kids among blooms of the beautiful State Flower – the Bluebonnet.
When spring rolls around, the blue-hued wildflower becomes prolific, lining the roadways, nature’s own perfect photo background.
Each year, thousands of visitors and locals flock to the area in order to capture the annual photo, so it is only appropriate that the Texas State Legislature designated the two counties the Co-Bluebonnet Capitals of Texas in 1981.
The resolution reads, “It is appropriate for this legislature (67th) to call the attention of all Texas citizens to the natural beauty of the state and to the delightful beauty of Burnet and Llano counties during the bluebonnet season.”
Soon after the resolution was passed, the City of Burnet started celebrating the season with the annual Bluebonnet Festival, held each April. 2017 will mark the 34th Annual Festival.
Wedding Capital of Texas
Dripping Springs, also known unofficially as the ‘Gateway to the Hill Country’ has become one of the most sought-after places in Texas to get hitched.
According to the resolution passed by the Texas House in 2015, well over a thousand weddings take place in this picturesque community each year.
With nuptials on the rise, and all the amenities available to throw a proper wedding, Dripping Springs was given the distinguished title in 2015.
“The natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country provides an ideal setting for joyous celebrations of matrimony,” the resolution states.
The City of Dripping Springs has met the demand for nuptials by welcoming businesses that provide all of the things necessary to celebrate the uniting of two lives properly. More than 30 event venues, including wineries, ranches, and more have become sites for destination wedding in the Texas Hill Country.
The resolution recognizes that Dripping Springs has moved to the top of the list for couples looking for the best location to exchange vows, and notes that the people of Dripping Springs have risen to the occasion by welcoming those looking to begin their married life here.
Looking to ‘put a ring on it’ in the most spectacular way? Visit destinationdrippingsprings.com for more information.
Polka Capital of Texas
While most people think of Texas being the home of the two-step, Czech and German settlers were actually dancing the polka years before the dance hall craze became a thing.
If you grew up in Central Texas, you probably grew up doing the polka. The sounds of the oompa music carry through dance halls as couples turn and spin in 2/4 time across slick dance floors.
With its rich German history, it’s no wonder that the Texas Legislature passed the 1993 resolution naming the town the Polka Capital of Texas.
Citing the town’s efforts to keep tradition alive and history remembered, the Texas House and Senate bestowed the designation, recognizing the “exceptional contributions of preserving this original German music for the enjoyment of all who appreciate good music and for the generation of young Texans still to come.”
Fredericksburg continues to honor that tradition with Oktoberfest as well as a number of festivals held in the center of the community at Marketplatz.
Go online to visitfredericksburgtx.com to see where all the best polka is!
Red Poppy Capital of Texas
Poppies are not indigenous to Texas, however, a gift from World War I soldier Henry Purl Compton, also known as ‘Okra’, to his mother right after war has left a legacy in the scenic Hill Country town.
Planted at her home on 7th Street, the red flowers were spread throughout the community, by bees, birds and people, and have happily bloomed each spring for over seventy years.
The community embraced the Belgium native flower and to this day celebrates with the Red Poppy Festival each April.
The flower blooms at the same time as Texas wildflowers, filling the fields and roadways with spectacular red flowers. It is believed that Georgetown is one of the few places in the United States where they reseed themselves annually.
Recognizing the community’s massive efforts to cultivate and maintain the red poppy population and history, the Texas Legislature officially designated Georgetown as the Red Poppy Capital of Texas in the spring of 1990.
Next spring, while out searching for the best bluebonnet patch, visit Georgetown to get a few snaps among the colorful poppies.
Don’t worry – they won’t make you sleepy like they did Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz…but they will make you want to sit a spell and enjoy the afternoon.
Visit poppy.georgetown.org and start planning to attend the 2017 festival!
Strawberry Capital of Texas
Poteet was officially named Strawberry Capital of Texas in 2015. However, strawberries were first planted in the small community located south of San Antonio more than 100 years ago.
Henry and Ida Mumme, city founders, first began growing strawberries in their kitchen garden in 1911. Within 10 years, the strawberry had become the most successful crop in town. Tourists flocked to Poteet to sample the sweet berries.
Building upon that success, the community started celebrating the berry with the annual Poteet Strawberry Festival. Beginning in 1948, locals first promoted the event in an effort to draw soldiers coming home from World War II to return to area farms.
Today, the festival draws more than 100,000 visitors, and is a premiere event that uses proceeds to give scholarships to local students.
It may have taken the State a while to recognize Poteet as the Strawberry Capital, but there is no doubt that Poteet has earned the title.
Continuing the tradition, 2017 will mark the 69th Annual festival. Mark your calendars now, and see what the fuss is all about.
“This sweet, juicy, and colorful fruit is a delight to behold and to taste.” – HCR No. 76, House Concurrent Resolution, naming Poteet the Strawberry Capital of Texas.
Visit strawberryfestival.com to get the details!
UNOFFICIALLY DESIGNATED ‘OFFICIAL CAPITALS’
Cowboy Capital of Texas
Bandera is widely known for its efforts to preserve the life of the cowboy and to celebrate the historical contribution that they played in Texas.
Herding livestock on horseback through the open prairie, Bandera was used as a staging area on the Western Cattle Trail that extended from Mexico, through Texas, and up to the Canadian border for some twenty years in the latter part of the 1800s.
Millions of longhorns and horses made their way through what is now the City of Bandera, setting the stage for area to become synonymous with all things cowboy.
By the 1920s, rodeos had begun, with area ranch cowboys strutting their stuff at Mansfield Park.
In 2013, the Texas Historical Commission approved and installed a marker in the City, recognizing it as the Cowboy Capital of Texas.
Although the State Legislature has not yet honored Bandera with a resolution recognizing its status as Cowboy Capital, there can be no question that it is.
It was first referred to as the Cowboy Capital in a San Antonio newspaper back in 1948, which stuck.
Today, the community continues to uphold the traditions and celebrate the history with events such as the ‘National Day of the Cowboy’, Bandera Riverfest, Mayhem on the Medina, and many more.
Find out what’s going on in the Cowboy Capital of the World by visiting banderatex.com.
Deer Capital of Texas
Google ‘Llano, Texas’, and you’ll find that since as far back as anyone can remember, it’s been called the Deer Capital of Texas.
The City of Llano uses that slogan on its vehicles, including a ‘seal’ that they created to mimic the seal of Texas, but using deer antlers.
In an attempt to make the designation official, Llano petitioned the State to pass a resolution naming it the Deer Capital in 2015. Unfortunately, the Legislature turned down the town of a little more 3,000 people, offering instead to pass a resolution that recognized it as a ‘renowned’ place to find deer.
The designation still stands as far as locals are concerned, and the fight isn’t over. The City will appeal to the legislature again in the next session in 2017.
Until then, visitors looking to score the big buck can still count on the Deer Capital of Texas.
Looking for more information on hunting in Llano? Visit llanochamber.org.
Apple Capital of Texas
This Hill Country community, has less than 600 people but over 300,000 apple trees.
By 1990, the area was producing 100 tons of the fruit, and more and more orchards were being built.
For a short time, the community hosted an annual apple festival, thought it has since stopped.
Love Creek Orchards still operates a booming apple business in Medina.
In addition to apples, the orchard hosts the Great Hill Pumpkin Patch each October. Visitors are invited to come pick out a pumpkin, enjoy hayrides, explore the giant hay bale maze and stacks, visit the petting zoo, take a tour of the apple orchard and more!
For more information, visit lovecreekorchars.com.
Pecan Capital of the World
San Saba claimed the title of Pecan Capital of the World; pecan farmers have been growing the state nut since the 1870s.
It’s believed to have been a cash crop for the community since as early as 1857; in 1919, the area produced 3.5 million pounds of pecans. At that time, no other state in the Union was producing close to that number of pecans.
One of the earliest pecan growers in San Saba, Edmond E. Risien is credited with the development of such varieties as Onliwon, Squirrels Delight, San Saba Improved and Western Schley.
For more information about San Saba, visit sansabatexas.com.
Mermaid Capital of Texas
The Mermaid Society SMTX is currently petitioning the State of Texas to recognize San Marcos as the Mermaid Capital of Texas.
The group’s mission is to pay tribute to the history of the Aquarena Springs Aquamaids – the first (and only) mermaids in San Marcos.
The Mermaid Society was formed to promote the Mermaid as a symbol of the vibrant San Marcos community, and especially to recognize the importance of caring for the city’s natural rivers and resources.
In September, the group held the first Mermaid Fest, aimed to pay tribute to the history of San Marcos and Aquarena Springs, with the hopes of using it to promote the use of the mermaid to bring the community together and to represent the city’s heritage, the arts, river stewardship and local economy.
Back in its heyday, Aquarena Springs was a destination, and the Aquamaids were one of the main attractions. Beginning in the 1950s, swimmers would perform underwater skits for visitors, wowing spectators with their ability to hold their breath for long periods of time, eat and drink and even perform complex dance routines. With just the aid of an air hose, these actors were able to present the liveliest of shows.
The group hopes to have San Marcos designated officially soon.
See mermaidsocietysmtx.com to learn more!
Peanut Capital of Texas
For more than 100 years, Floresville has been growing a favorite American legume – the peanut.
The county seat of Wilson County, Floresville has long since been touting the title of ‘Peanut Capital of Texas’. In honor of the cash crop that put the town on the map, the community begain the Peanut Festival in 1938.
The event, which has grown exponentially over the years, still celebrates with the crowing of Peanut Royalty – Queen Tunaep and King Reboog. (Peanut and Goober spelled backward, respectively.)
Every year, the community puts on this spectacular festival during the first full weekend in October.
You’d be ‘nuts’ not to check it out! Visit floresvillepeanutfestival.org for all the details!