Texas has experienced an influx of new residents in recent years. As more and more companies transfer to the Lone Star State to take advantage of the low taxes, they have been followed by new citizens to this land we call home. Texas is a friendly place, and we take great pride in our fantastic economy, so to welcome all you newcomers, here's a list of things you should try now that you're a Texan. So welcome, and howdy, folks! Try some of these Texas customs and you'll go native in no time.
10. Shop at H-E-B.
Forget Whole Foods. Okay, maybe don't forget them, they're pretty great, and a Texan company too. But they're a national chain, and it's very likely you've already experienced that. The grocery store mecca that is H-E-B however, is a privilege only Texans have ever known. Go enjoy the select your own six pack section and choose from any number of delicious local brews. Stop by the chef's station and get a sample of whatever they're cooking up, and go ahead and grab the recipe because chances are you'll want to make it at home. Try the HEB brand of Texas Pecan coffee, and don't forget to take full advantage of the meal deals and the yellow coupons - your bank account will thank you.
9. Take a road trip.
Texans don't fly unless we're going out of state. Besides, to really get a sense of just how big Texas really is, you've got to travel by car. Stop at a weird roadside attraction, of which we have many, or grab some barbecue at a place you've never heard of. Make your own adventures and discover Texas out on the open road. Just make sure to google map it first, and don't get too ambitious, unless you've moved to South Texas, you won't want to attempt a trip to Mexico, that's too far for most of us to drive in a day.
8. Buy or pick some roadside produce.
Texas produces some of the most delicious fruit and veggies you've ever tasted, and some of the best places to get them are from roadside fruit stands. Peaches are a big deal this time of year, especially in the hill country, and there are also plenty of pecans to be found. If you've got a little more time, go visit a farm and pluck some yourself. Take your pick, pun intended.
7. Purchase a cowboy hat and boots.
Yes, you'll look like a stereotype. No, it won't keep natives from knowing you're new here, but Texans love it when newcomers embrace our home state, so go ahead and cowboy up. It's a part of the culture.
6. Start a conversation with a stranger.
We're not advocating that you start talking to creepy strangers, but make a joke to someone in line behind you at H-E-B, or say hi to a neighbor out walking their dog in your new neighborhood. The Texas state motto is "Friendship", and we really mean it. Texans will be friendly to strangers just because that's how we are. Don't believe it? Put us to the test.
5. Go to a local football game.
Obviously you can only do this in the fall, but it's definitely worth it, even if you don't have a kid on the field, just to see what all the fuss is about. Buy a program and read about the students and the team. Marvel at the enormity of the high school stadium. The loud marching band music, the raucous cheering and the elaborate halftime shows combined with the fervent field action is something every Texan should experience, new or native. If you like it, you can graduate to a college game in the city of your residence, and then choose from one of our two pro teams to enjoy.
4. Visit the Capitol while the legislature is in session.
If you want to see some impressive Texas bravado, go see the legislature in action. The debates and discussions are generally open to viewers, and now that you're a constituent, this stuff effects you. Other than the hot air being generated by the politicians there, the building itself is a remarkable sight to see, and one of the most ornate historical buildings in the state.
3. Go to the state fair.
So this only happens in early October, but it's totally worth it. The Texas state fair in Dallas is legendary. In fact, in 1962 Twentieth Century Fox remade Rogers & Hammerstein's "State Fair" featuring Ann Margaret and Pat Boone, and set it at the Texas state fair, rather than the Iowa state fair. You'll see all the standard state fair sights, and sample the frankly genius way Texans have of frying literally anything edible.
2. Try some good Texan barbecue.
There are ample resources touting barbecue restaurants from all over the state, pick the one closest to you and go try it out. Go where the natives go. Maybe you like a more vinegary sauce or maybe you put your cole slaw right on your sandwich, but however you're used to it, give Texas barbecue a try. Maybe you'll discover you've got a taste for it, and maybe not. But if you don't try, you'll never know. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
1. Visit a small town festival.
The heart of Texas is in its small towns. We have got some pretty outrageous small town shindigs you've just got to try. Visit Poteet, where George Strait was born for the Poteet Strawberry Festival. Or go to Gonzales for the Come and Take it celebration to learn a bit of Texas history while having a great time. No matter which one you try, you're bound to have a great time, and learn more about this place you now call home.