Upcoming Events in the DFW Metroplex, August and September 2008

To paraphrase an old Mark Chestnutt song, I’ll sure be glad when these ol’ dog days of summer are gone. There’s just not much brewing here in the middle of August, when it’s omigod hot and the days go on and on — what Southern novelist Babs Deal described as “acres of afternoon.” You want to know what I’ve got planned for the rest of this month? Well, you’ve seen a lot of it already in my recent entries on July Jazz and Symphonic Saturdays, both of which we can thank the civic-minded Town of Addison for. So gracias, Addison, for doing your damnedest to keep culture alive as we slide slowly toward fall.

You’ve still got access to two weeks of Symphonic Saturdays, on the 16th and 23rd, so be sure to hie yourself down there if you want to enjoy free music, from either the Dallas Wind Symphony or the Richardson Symphony Orchestra, in lovely Esplanade Park. It starts at 8 PM, and it’s free; just be sure you bring something to sit on. Also coming up in nearby Addison Circle Park are several outdoor performances of the classic musical Oklahoma! on August 29-30, for which you’ll be charged a mere $10 for adults, and $5 for kids and seniors. It’s a fine opportunity to get a dose of that “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” that you’ve been needing. Also scheduled for this fine month is the 79th Annual North Texas State Fair and Rodeo, starting on August 15 and lasting through until August 23. Along with bronc-busting and bullriding, you’ll have a change to attend a carnival, musical performances, and a series of other special events and attractions.

September looks a little better, but it’s still suffering from the summer doldrums. The action starts out on the weekend of September 5-7, with the 44th National Championship Indian Pow Wow at Trader’s Village in Grand Prairie. I can’t wait to see this event, which promises to be an exciting celebration of Native American culture from all over the country; and hey, it gives me an excuse to visit Trader’s Village for the first time in a few months. There’s a little bookstore there that I like to check out when I can.

Next up are a couple of alcohol-related festivals, which are, needless to say, exactly my type of event. First up is Grapevine’s Grapefest, the 24th annual celebration of this town’s culture and Texas wines in general. After all, what would you expect of a town named Grapevine, hmmm? This event takes place September 11-14. It’s followed up the next weekend (September 18-21) by the Addison Oktoberfest, a celebration of authentic German culture, which Central Texas has in abundance. <> (I’m partly German myself. But then again, I’m partly everything).

Yes, I know their Oktoberfest is in September, but “Septemberfest” just lacks that little something that makes an event memorable. The good thing is that it’s free to get in on Thursday the 11th, and there’s bound to be beer. It’s Oktoberfest, for Christ’s sake, so there’d better be beer, or there might just be trouble.

Next up is one of the top events of the DFW year, at least for the outer cities, and this time I plan to make it, dadgummit. If you’re in town on the weekend of September 19-21, the Plano Balloon Festival is not to be missed. Be sure to attend if you can — but be prepared for quite a crowd, so try to attend as early as you can! It might be a good idea to try getting there by a combination of DART rail and bus just so you can avoid the traffic congestion and trying to find a parking space, good or otherwise. That’s what I’m going to try, I think. As with most such events, the Balloon Festival is relentlessly mercantile — so be prepared to pay substantial State Fair type prices for the concessions. You’ll find a whole heap of artsy-crafty stuff to buy there, though; I once bought some wonderful handmade patio chairs that lasted for years at a balloon festival booth.

Speaking of State Fair prices, folks, it’s time to gird your loins and prepare for that most propitious and certainly largest of events in the Metroplex. Believe it or not, the great State Fair of Texas is rapidly approaching; the first day is September 26, and it continues on through October 19. Now, last year I spent eight full entries exploring Fair Park before the Fair and chronicling the events of the Fair itself, and in all fairness (haha) I’ll not be doing that again. While I’ll probably attend at some point, the most I’ll spring on you afterward is a highlights entry, showing new and cool stuff or events I missed before. For example — and I know this sets your motor revving — last year I didn’t go early enough to see the kid’s exotic petting zoo or most of the animal exhibits. I’m going to try to make it this time, and see what other fun things I can find. I still remember the pigeon show and Frisbee-dog competitions of about a decade back quite fondly. I had no idea there were so many types of pigeons. There were some as big as chickens, and I’m not talking bantams, either.

Well, anyhow: there you have it, folks. While August and September aren’t exactly the party months for the DFW social calendar, you’ll still find a few festivals and fairs to attend, including the big daddy itself, the State Fair in Fair Park. If nothing else, this makes these months a great time to visit all the various museums, music venues, and art exhibits scattered all over the metroplex — you know, indoor places where there’s air conditioning. Oh, and as for music venues? I’m attending a concert by the German punk band Tokio Hotel at the House of Blues on August 27. See ya there!

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