Friday, September 13, 2013

Totally Texas -- Fall festivals flutter like leaves in North Texas

As seasons go, spring gets most of the poetry. But after a summer of sizzling heat, fall’s moderate temperatures are like a second spring to Texans. And we celebrate the season with an outburst of fairs and festivals. Following is a far from complete list of some of my favorites. I’ll post separately about Halloween and events related to the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination.

September 14 - February 2, 2014 -- Okay, the Heard Natural History Museum’s exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs isn’t exactly a festival, but who cares when we’re strolling the trails, searching for nearly a dozen giant moving, roaring dinos? Take your picture with the 46-foot T. rex if you dare, or with the child-size models if you don’t dare. At 1 Nature Place, McKinney. For hours, ticket prices, and more, see

September 19-22 -- Oktoberfest in Addison, 4970 Addison Circle Dr. (Addison Circle at Arapaho). Yes, there’s beer. Lots of beer. And sausages, crafts, music, a carnival and children’s play area. Dress the kids in clothes they can get wet in, to enjoy Addison’s beautiful fountain area. Tickets are free September 19, from 6 -11 p.m. For more information, discounts, and parking, see

September 21-November 7 -- Autumn at the Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. A storybook pumpkin village, hay bale maze, and more in addition to the Arboretum’s seasonal beauty. This is also the opening of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. My family got a sneak peek, and it’s truly amazing. I’ll blog later about the children’s garden, which requires a $3 timed admission ticket in addition to the Arboretum’s regular admission. For information and to reserve tickets, see

September 27-29 -- Greek Food Festival, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road (Hillcrest and Alpha), Dallas. Opening 4 p.m. September 27. But wait an hour and get in free, September 27 from 5-7 p.m. Otherwise tickets are $6 for those age 13 and older, but still free for kids. Food, wonderful and varied, plus cooking demonstrations, music and dancing, marketplace and children’s activities. See

September 27-October 20 -- State Fair of Texas, Dallas Fair Park. Can the new Big Tex really replace the beloved old giant that went up in flames during last year’s fair? Watch the new guy’s unveiling at 2 p.m. opening day, September 27. The Chinese Lantern Festival returns (through January 5, 2014). And of course there’s the world’s weirdest fried food. I was appalled to find last year that friends were buying full-price tickets. Please check out the numerous discounts and a complete schedule at

October 5-6 -- Cottonwood Arts Festival, 1321 W. Beltline Road, Richardson. So here’s your chance to walk off some of the calories from the State Fair’s fried food -- or indulge in more goodies while listening to local musicians and visiting the more than 200 booths of juried artists and craftspeople at this twice-yearly festival. Children’s activities and play area on the grounds of Richardson’s Cottonwood Park. Free. For information, see

October 18-20 -- Historic US 80 Hi-Way Sale. I’m neglecting some of my favorite fall festivals in East Texas to mention this one. My daughter and I have driven about a hundred miles of this three-state long flea market, running from Mesquite, Texas, to Jackson, Mississippi. From Dallas, we took Highway 80 east, passing by literally miles of roadside sales to concentrate on the antiques district in downtown Mineola. From there, we continued to Gladewater, with an open air festival downtown, and ended in Longview. This drive may be a little too long for small children, but you can shop, stretch, dawdle and eat anywhere along the way. There’s a map, but just drive. See

Need more? See --

Tyler Rose Festival, October 17-19,

Edom’s Festival of the Arts, October 19-20,

Fall Festival in Fort Worth’s Japanese Garden, November 2-3,

Heritage Syrup Festival in Henderson, November 9,

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