Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Best bets for spring festivals in Dallas-Fort Worth
It's time to fete fine arts, music, nature, culture, and social drinking.
See all spring festivals.
It's official: We've crossed the half-way point before the State Fair of Texas gates open and Big Tex says his first "Howdy" of 2012. But you need a fix now. A place to stroll around with a giant turkey leg in hand. Where kids can delight in having their faces painted and making crafts you'll have to carry around all day, then eventually lose underneath the car's driver's seat. Or maybe you need to see a lion dance or mariachis or a local band you've never heard before or a band from the '80s you'd forgotten. Or maybe you just need a cup of beer or glass of wine. Spring is here to help, folks.
- March 31-April 1:
- Arts in the Square: This juried fine arts fest at Frisco Square includes more than 120 artists selling their works, accompanied by music performed by members of the Collin County Songwriters Association and Dallas Songwriters Association. Open March 31 and April 1. Admission is free.
- The Deep Ellum Big Folkin' Festival: The Prophet Bar will have five stages with 30 bands, including Telegraph Canyon, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, and The O's. Open March 31. Admission is $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Read more about Big Folkin'.
- Prairie Fest x3: For 2012, Prairie Fest -- once called the "greenest green fest in Texas" -- has expanded to three weekends and refocused on celebrating its home: Tandy Hills Natural Area. Visitors can hike through Tandy Hills, which are known for its spring wildflowers. Open March 31, April 28, and May 26. Admission is free.
- April 7-8:
- Deep Ellum Arts Festival: Expect music, arts, food, and drinks -- but no activities for kids. Rugrats are welcome. In fact, a group of them will perform Saturday morning with Zounds Sounds School of Rock on the PegasusNews-sponsored stage at Good Latimer and Main Street. Seryn and Brave Combo are also among the performers. Open April 6-8. Admission is free. Read more about Deep Ellum Arts Festival.
- Scarborough Renaissance Festival: There's a different theme and related activities each weekend at this celebration of the 16th century. Opening weekend is also Easter weekend, so there will be treasure hunts both days and a church service Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Another treat: Kids are admitted free all weekend with paid adult admission and seniors get in for $12. Return for the Highland games, Ale Fest, Pirate Invasion, craft fair, and Memorial Day parade. Open April 7-May 28.
- April 14-15:
- Big Texas Beer Fest: Nearly a hundred breweries and more than 300 beers will help draw attention to the Texas craft beer scene during this festival at the Automobile Building at Fair Park. There will be free cheese samples and food trucks for more substantial snacking. Open April 14. Admission starts at $20 and benefits the North Texas Food Bank. Read more about Big Texas Beer Fest.
- Ciclovia de Dallas: Who knew 2012's hip activity would be hanging out on bridges? First, there were celebrations of the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Now there's a party on the century-old Houston Street Viaduct. Join Bike Friendly Oak Cliff for no-car fun, including flying kites, line dancing, a Bicycle Safety Rodeo, a dog park, music, yoga, food trucks, and more. Open April 14. Admission is free.
- Blessing of the Vines and New Vintage Wine and Gallery Trail: The day starts at Delaney Vineyards with a priest prepping some of Grapevine's grapevines for the 2012 harvest. Then grab a souvenir glass and tour the town's wine-tasting rooms and art galleries. Open April 14. Blessing of the Vines is free. The trail is $49.
Read about more Earth Day festivals.
- April 21-22:
- Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival: Main Street between the Tarrant County Courthouse and the Fort Worth Convention Center will be home to more than two hundred arts and crafts booths, three stages with dozens of bands, an outdoor art studio with fun for families, and food booths running the gamut from Baja Smoothies to Schmidt's German Village. Open April 19-22. Admission is free.
- Earth Day Dallas: You can't save the planet, but you can better your bit of it. Learn how from workshops, speakers, displays from more than 600 exhibitors, a film fest, activities for kids, yoga, and live entertainment. Join Picnic for the Planet, and help break a world's record for the "largest, simultaneous global picnic." Open April 21-22. Admission is free.
- April 28-29:
- Denton Arts and Jazz Festival: The name doesn't say it all. Friday's headlining artist Lee Ritenour plays jazz, but the other two featured bands -- Los Lonely Boys on Saturday and Brave Combo on Sunday -- don't. Find many types of music (including plenty of jazz), plus arts, crafts, and food. Open April 27-29. Admission is free.
- Art in the Square: Country artist Chris Cagle is the featured musical artist of this three-day fest at Southlake Town Square, but there will be hundreds more artists, musical and visual, all weekend. Open April 27-29. Admission is free.
- Mesquite Real. Texas. Festival.: Bands. Barbecue. Broncs. Buicks. Those are the ingredients for Mesquite's Lone Star celebration. Or, as Dwight Yoakam sang, guitars, Cadillacs, and hillbilly music. This year's Real. Texas. Festival. includes music by Pat Green and other country artists, the Taste of Mesquite BBQ Cook-Off, an indoor rodeo, and the Cowboys and Chrome Car Show. Open April 27-28.
- May 5-6:
- Spring Cottonwood Art Festival: This biannual fine arts fair has art to buy and art to make. More than 240 visual artists provide the former. Kids take care of the latter by participating in ArtStop crafts such as Crazy Cool Caps, Throwin' Mud, and Bag Full of Color. Open May 5-6. Admission is free; some ArtStop activities require 1-4 tickets at $1 each.
- Mayfest: Fort Worth natives know that you don't need to be a meteorologist to forecast rain the weekend of Mayfest. It's a safe bet. Try your luck -- but bring your umbrella -- for the three stages of live music, four stages of performing arts, the Mayfest Run, the Great American Duck Races, vendor booths, fun for kids, food, and more. Open May 3-6. Admission is $5 to $8.
- Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games: Organizers moved this Celtic celebration from early June to early May, which is, as they put it, a "more Scot-friendly" time of year. My quarter-Scottish, prone-to-sunburn complexion thanks them. Slather on the sunblock and enjoy music, Scottish athletics, the Championship Scottish Highland Dance & Scottish National Dance competitions, more than 65 Scottish Clan tents, foods and ales, arts and crafts, and more. Open May 4-6. Admission is $5 to $18.
- May 12-13:
- North Texas Beer Festival: Another beer fest? Guess you didn't get the memo: Beer is cool again. Or still. Whatever. Just drink up. This festival will have craft, specialty and foreign brewers, plus music, speakers, workshops, and more. Open May 12. Admission is $20 to $40. Designated drivers get discounted tickets and free soft drinks and bottled water.
- Dallas Asian Fest: Called DFW's "largest Asian cultural celebration," this free, family-friendly fest gives visitors a tour of Asia with more than 30 performances, food vendors, cultural groups, and children's activities. Open May 12. Admission is free.
- May 19-20:
- Taste Addison: More than 60 restaurants will serve samplings of their full menus, but the concerts will be full-sized portions. This year, Mat Kearney, Wade Bowen, Rhett Miller and The Serial Lady Killers, and The Dirty Guv'nahs perform. Open May 18-20. Admission is $5 to $15.
- Wildflower Arts and Music Festival: It's easy to tease Wildflower about the "Where are they now?"-ness of its lineups. But, admit it, don't you kinda wanna see Joe Walsh and Lou Gramm -- the Voice of Foreigner? No? OK, fine. There are other attractions, including performances by Nelly, Dashboard Confessional, The Commodores, Mark Chesnutt, and Neal McCoy; an art guitar auction; video games; fun for kids; and more. Open May 18-20. Admission is $3 to $30.
- Dragon Boat, Kite and Lantern Festival: Dragon boats -- named because they usually are decorated with a head and a tail -- are so long and so thin that it seems impossible they can hold so many quickly rowing people. See them in action on Irving's Lake Carolyn. On the shores, there will be kite flying, a lantern festival, and other cultural displays. Open May 20. Admission is free.
- May 26-27:
- CityArts Festival: Spend the weekend in a place that is a work of art -- Fair Park, which boasts the "world's largest collection of 1930s art deco exposition buildings" -- and experience many other kinds of art. The annual CityArts Festival will include the juried art show ARTFEST, two outdoor movie screenings presented by the Dallas Film Society, a culinary showcase, a children's fun area, and discounted admission to the museums in Fair Park. Open May 25-27. Admission is free.
- Homegrown Music and Arts Festival: This year, Homegrown's lineup includes artists whose homes aren't near ours -- meaning, the focus is on all of Texas not just North Texas. Really, do we have to play nice with Austin? The lineup includes Hayes Carll, Centro-Matic, Octopus Project, Girl in a Coma, Ume, and Mystery Skulls. There will also be food trucks, arts and crafts, a Kidz Corner, dog park, and outdoor bars. Open May 26. Admission is $17 online, $25 at the gate, and free for kids 10 and under. Read more about Homegrown Music and Arts Festival.
- Liberty Fest: Farmers Branch's Memorial Day weekend festival includes a military display, field of flags, patriotic tributes, and concerts by Styx and Gin Blossoms. To take a line from Sesame Street: One of these things is not like the others. Embrace the retro-y goodness. Liberty Fest also includes an Outdoor Expo; a car, truck, and motorcycle show; the Liberty Kidzone with petting zoo; and a gaming truck. Open May 25-26. Admission is free.
- Mysterious restaurant called Remedy to open on Greenville Avenue
- Theater review: We Will Rock You will blow your mind, and your speakers
- OMG: Adam Lambert and Queen will rock Dallas, together, in July
- Theater review: The [Expletive] with the Hat is masterful and funny, wise and appalling
- Review: Queen musical We Will Rock You has just the right camp and swagger