Fall festival season starts this weekend in North Texas
From polka bands at Westfest to prost toasts at Oktoberfest, it’s fall festival season in North Texas. We can’t promise cool autumn temperatures — this is Texas, after all — but we can point you to a slew of fun fests starting on Labor Day weekend and continuing through the fall. Check event websites for weather-related schedule changes and other updates, and visit Go See DFW to find even more festivals.
The town of West, about 75 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth, celebrates its Czech heritage with a holiday weekend of polka, kolaches, carnival rides, a parade through downtown on Sept. 2, contests and dancers in colorful cultural costumes. Visitors can eat, shop for souvenirs, pitch horseshoes or washers and enjoy nonstop music under two pavilions. Entertainers include the Ennis Czech Boys, the Moravians, Brave Combo, Squeezebox, Sunny Sauceda and more. There is plenty of seating and large covered tents throughout the festival grounds.
Sept. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Sept. 2 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., Sept. 3 from 8 a.m. to midnight at West Rodeo and Fairgrounds, 1110 S. Main St., West. $22 for ages 13 and up on Sept. 1, $15 on Sept. 2-3; $6 for children 6-12; free for ages 5 and under. Parking is $5. westfest.com.
The Black Academy of Arts and Letters presents three days of jazz, R&B, soul, blues and neo-soul artists performing on three stages. Remembering Tina Turner: A Musical Salute, directed by TBAAL founder Curtis King, gets the party started on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. Artists and acts in the lineup include Morris Day, Stanley Clarke, the Bob James Trio, Stephanie Mills, Marcus Miller, Shemekia Copeland, Kevin Hawkins, Naturally 7, Shaun Martin’s Jazz Go-Go Party, Lalah Hathaway, Musiq Soulchild, Jason Marsalis, Chucho Valdes and members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Emerging artists will have their own performance space on Sept. 2-3. In addition, nightly after-parties with music will be held at three downtown hotels: Omni Dallas, Aloft and AC Hotel by Marriott. Complete music schedules are available on the festival website.
Sept. 1-3 at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, 1309 Canton St., Dallas. Doors open Sept. 1 at 5:30 p.m. and Sept. 2-3 at noon. $89 for single-day admission, $129 for weekend pass. tbaalriverfrontjazzfestival.org; ticketmaster.com.
DALLAS OBSERVER BREWFEST - CANCELLED
This event has been cancelled because of the heat.
Sample brews from local and international beermakers. Your BrewFest ticket includes 12 2-ounce beer samples and a tasting glass. Additional sampling cards will be available at the event. In addition to beer tasting, you can purchase food from local eateries Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Chicago Style Dog’s, Strouderosa BBQ, Twisted Root Burger Co. and Wava Halal Grill. There’ll be life-size beer pong, a Dallas Stars pop-up where you can test your puck skills, and RC Monster Truck racing. Visit the Tailgate USA area for giant Jenga, cornhole and college football on TV.
Sept. 9 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Dallas Farmers Market, 920 S. Harwood St., Dallas. $37-$50. Must be 21 or older. dobrewfest.com.
Addison’s Munich-style festival seems to have it all: dozens of polka bands, Bavarian folk dancers, bier games like stein hoisting, and a Dachshund Dash on Sept. 17. Enjoy an Oktoberfest Paulaner Bier, German sausage and sauerkraut, giant pretzels, strudel and other German pastries, plus festival foods like corn dogs, kettle corn and funnel cake. The Draught Haus Biergarten will have college and pro football on the big screen. Visitors can also listen to bands and sip a beer in air-conditioned comfort inside the Kleinhalle. Sept. 14 from 6 to 11 p.m., Sept. 15 from 6 p.m. to midnight, Sept. 16 from noon to midnight, Sept. 17 from noon to 6 p.m. at Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle, Addison. $10 for ages 10 and older, free for ages 9 and younger. Free admission for all on Sept. 14 and 17. addisonoktoberfest.com.
MORE OKTOBERFEST EVENTS
Grapevine’s GrapeFest is a signature celebration of Texas wines and more. Main Street is closed to traffic for this four-day festival packed with wine tastings, live music, carnival rides, a kids zone and a vendor marketplace. Highlights of the fest include a performance by Carnie and Wendy Wilson of Wilson Phillips (“Hold On”) on Sept. 16, the popular GrapeStomp for squishy fun and the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic (requires additional ticket). And don’t worry if wine isn’t your thing. Beer, hard cider, nonalcoholic beverages and tasty food will also be available.
Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sept. 15-16 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Grapevine. $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12 and 62 and up, free for children 5 and under. Free admission for all on Sept. 14 and until 5 p.m. on Sept. 15. grapevinetexasusa.com/grapefest.
The Peanuts gang returns to the Dallas Arboretum for the 18th annual fall festival. Thousands of Texas-grown pumpkins will cover the grounds of Pumpkin Village, which will also feature pumpkin houses and displays designed for this year’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” theme. Along with the sights in Pumpkin Village, there’ll be food to sample, live entertainment on the weekends, gourds for sale in the pumpkin patch, and the beauty of 150,000 autumn-blooming plants in the garden.
Sept. 16-Nov. 5, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. $20 for ages 13-64, $16 for ages 65 and up, $12 for ages 2-12, free for children 1 and younger. Admission to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is $3 extra. Timed tickets must be purchased in advance. Parking is $15 on-site or $11 online. dallasarboretum.org/autumn-at-the-arboretum.
Colorful hot air balloons will fly high above Plano during the four-day festival, which also features musical performances by party bands and the Plano Symphony Orchestra, fireworks, tethered balloon displays, early morning balloon launches and after-dark balloon glows. Balloon events are subject to weather and wind conditions.
Sept. 21 from 5 to 10 p.m., Sept. 22 from 4 to 10 p.m., Sept. 23 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sept. 24 from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Oak Point Park, 2801 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano. $10 for adults, $5 for ages 3-12 and 65 and older, free for children 36 inches tall and under and for first responders and active and retired military members with valid ID. planoballoonfest.org.
Grab your Stetson and celebrate Western culture with two days of live music, gunfight reenactors, Indigenous dancers and other performances. The kids can try cattle roping and ride a pony, a mechanical bull or the Li’l Grand train. Some children’s activities require a fee; all-access wristbands are available to purchase for $15. On Sept. 30, world champion eaters will get their fill of masa in the World Tamale Eating Championships. Main Stage music headliners include Joshua Ray Walker and Mark Chesnutt on Sept. 29, Lee Brice, and Giovannie and the Hired Guns on Sept. 30.
Sept. 29 from 4 to 11:30 p.m., Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. along Church and Main streets in Old Town Lewisville. Free admission before 5 p.m., $15 after 5; free for ages 12 and under. lewisvillewesterndays.com.
Say “howdy” to Big Tex, try a fried food winner and take a spin on the giant Texas Star Ferris wheel. It’s all at the State Fair, 24 days of Texas culture and family fun. You’ll need coupons for food, rides and most games. But there are plenty of free activities, including live music, weekend rodeos, livestock exhibits, new car and truck displays, a nightly parade, creative arts and more.
Sept. 29-Oct. 22 at Fair Park, 3809 Grand Ave., Dallas. Open Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. $15-$25 for adults, $5-$18 for kids and seniors, free for ages 2 and under; check the website for discounts. bigtex.com.
This traditional Japanese festival celebrates the autumn, or harvest, moon. Activities include Japanese music performances, taiko drummers, sumo wrestling demonstrations, haiku readings and ikebana floral arranging. Children can stop at the craft station to make rabbit ears, a symbol of the rabbit on the moon in Japanese folklore. Visitors can browse vendor booths selling Japanese accessories and collectibles. Specialty food trucks will have Eastern cuisine-inspired food and drinks. The festival is presented by the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth.
Sept. 30 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Kidd Springs Park, 1003 Cedar Hill Ave., Dallas. Free admission. jasdfw.org/event/2023-otsukimi-moon-viewing.
More than 200 artists will display their work at the fall edition of this biannual art fair. Browse the art, listen to live music on two stages and visit the ArtStop Children’s area for art activities. There’ll be a variety of vendors selling food, beer, wine and nonalcoholic drinks. For the first time, the festival will include a chalk art contest. Registration is required; see the website for details.
Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cottonwood Park, 1321 W. Belt Line Road, Richardson. Free admission.cottonwoodartfestival.com.
MORE FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Four days of family fun features carnival rides, live music and food trucks, plus a Mexican Independence Day fiesta on Sept. 16. Sept. 14-17 at Little Elm Park. lakefrontlittleelm.com/events/autumn-fest-2.
The fest kicks off on Sept. 15 with karaoke, followed by two days of live blues performances. Sept. 15-17 in Quakertown Park, Denton. dentonbluesfest.com.
Bring lawn chairs for an evening of Latin music, dancing, artisans and food. Sept. 16 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the DeSoto Amphitheater. ci.desoto.tx.us/1780/hispanic-heritage-festival.
CELEBRATE FATE FREE
This community event will have music, rides and games for the kids, a pickleball tournament, food trucks and fireworks set to music. Sept. 16 from 5 to 10 p.m. at Fate City Hall. fatetx.gov/celebratefate.
The Modern’s annual Japanese festival will have live music, taiko drummers, calligraphy and a lantern launch in the museum’s reflecting pool. There will also be a Japanese-inspired food and beverage menu. A bento box dinner for two is available to pre-order. Sept. 16 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. For ages 16 and older. $25. themodern.org.
Enjoy art and music in the EpicCentral entertainment district with tunes by the Tejas Brothers and the “Illuvia” fountain show. Sept. 16-17 at EpicCentral, Grand Prairie. gptx.org/community-calendar/epic-art-music-festival.
PARTY ON THE PORCH FREE
Explore the galleries, take part in art-making activities and listen to an outdoor concert by Alejandro Escovedo. Sept. 30 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth.cartermuseum.org/events/ party-porch-2023.
Murphy celebrates its agricultural heritage with live music, a kids zone, touch-a-truck, a petting zoo, a car show and concessions. Fireworks close the day. Oct. 7 from noon to 9:45 p.m. at Murphy Central Park, Murphy. maizedays.com.
Aubrey presents its 37th annual salute to peanuts, once the mainstay crop of this small Denton County town. There’ll be a parade, vendor booths, a kids zone and a painted pumpkin contest. Oct. 7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Aubrey. aubreytx.gov.
Scenes from the 1960s Warren Beatty-Faye Dunaway movie were filmed in Pilot Point, once a hangout of the notorious bank robbers. The town commemorates those days with reenactments, a classic car show, a soap box car race, a kids zone and a concert by the Damn Quails. Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Pilot Point Square. facebook.com/bonnieandclydedays.
Try craft beer from local and regional breweries and enjoy live music, artists and food vendors. Proceeds benefit Cloud 9 Charities. Oct. 21 from 1:30 to 7 p.m. in Wayne Ferguson Plaza, Lewisville. General admission starts at $40 for ages 21 and older; $10 for designated drivers and ages 12-20; free for ages 11 and under. facebook.com/blbfit.
Highlights include live music, a pumpkin patch, a hay maze, carnival rides, food and beer. Oct. 27-29 in downtown Ennis. Free admission on Oct. 27; $5-$10 on Oct. 28-29 for ages 13 and up. visitennistexas.com/ennisautumn.
Join Texas travel experts and TV hosts Bob and Kelli Phillips for a day of Lone Star music, including a concert by country artist Neal McCoy, as well as arts, food and more. Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ellis County Courthouse Square, Waxahachie. texascountryreporter.com/festival.
The festival features musical entertainment on three stages, including headliner Collective Soul. Free activities will include carnival rides, face painting and games, and there will be food vendors and shopping. Nov. 4 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in downtown Carrollton. facebook.com/carrolltonfestival.
Norma Cavazos writes about fun things to do in Dallas-Fort Worth for The Dallas Morning News.
The GoSeeDFW calendar is a partnership between KERA and The Dallas Morning News.
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