■ Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show and Rodeo. 817-877-2420. Fort Worth. One of the biggest rodeos in the country, the “Fat Stock” show is the quintessential Texas event. Cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country show off their skills (bronco riding and barrel racing) and their animals (everything from horses to rabbits).
■ The Kidfilm Festival. 214-821-6397. AMC Glen Lakes Theatres. A child prodigy’s dream, the Kidfilm Festival is the largest children’s media festival in the United States-with speakers, kid-directed movies, and new and vintage family films.
■ Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Classic. 888-792-2695. Fair Park. College football is serious business in Texas, and the Cotton Bowl is proof. The annual college football contest pits the Big 12 Conference against the Southeastern Conference.
■ Dallas Boat Show. 972-714-0177. Market Hall. It helps to have a boat in Dallas-how else to really get out on the water, short of driving to the coast? This is one of the nation’s largest boat shows, featuring the latest in equipment and supplies.
■ Golden Gloves Tournament. 214-670-8400. Fair Park Coliseum. This annual tournament presents the best in amateur boxing.
■ Dallas Blooms. 214-327-8263. Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum’s annual extravaganza features an explosion of colorful flowers, including the country’s largest public azalea collection and several varieties of geraniums, tulips, daffodils, snapdragons, and poppies. Highlights include the Jonsson Color Garden and the Woman’s Garden.
■ North Texas Irish Festival. 214-821-4174. Fair Park. Admit it-you love an excuse to drink beer and wear green. Celebrate Celtic heritage with a weekend’s worth of food and entertainment at the North Texas Irish Festival.
■ Tri Delta Charity Antiques Show. 214-691-3533. Dallas Convention Center. Internationally known dealers in art, antiques, and collectibles sell their creations at this top-tier show and sale.
■ USA Film Festival. 214-821-6397. Dallas. Founded in 1971, this festival honors the best in American filmmaking. Nationally renowned crit ics select their favorite independent and studio films, while the filmmakers discuss their work in pane! discussions. Plus, it’s a great place to see stars: Recent celebrity sightings include Kathy Bates, Dennis Quaid, and Shelley Duvall.
■ Dallas Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament. 214-221-3636. Lake Highlands Stadium. Soccer moms, unite! The country’s premier youth soccer tournament, with teams from two dozen countries participating.
■ Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival. 214-219-4306. Richardson. A festival that would make Lady Bird proud. The party spans two weekends and includes big-name entertainment, food, and wildflower plantings.
■ Imagination Celebration. 214-823-7601. Artist Square, Dallas Arts District. A free children’s art festival featuring hands-on activities and performing groups celebrating several cultures through dance, music, and song.
■ Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival. 817-336-2787. Fort Worth. The largest free art festival in the Southwest features four days of entertainment, food, and art, including ceramics, photography, and glassworks.
■ Stockyards Championship Rodeo. 817-625- 1025. Cowtown Coliseum. Fort Worth is a real cowboy town, and if you need proof, this is your chance to get it. Come see real cowboys at work and play during this annual event.
■ Taste Addison. 800-ADDISON. Addison Conference and Theater Center. Come sample treats from dozens of Addison restaurants, the highest concentration of restaurants in any city west of the Mississippi.
■ Cinco de Mayo. 214-800-5220. Fair Park. This holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. The victory party’s still going strong more than 130 years later-celebrate Dallas’ rich Mexican heritage at the Fair Park extravaganza with food, games, and entertainment.
■ GTE Byron Nelson Classic. 972-717-1200. Four Seasons Resort and Club. Which is more attractive, the golf or the people? This annual PGA Tour event features many of the world’s best golfers.
■ ArtFest. 214-361-2011. Fair Park. Celebrate the local arts scene-including visual ans, crafts, and music-with the whole family.
■ Scarborough Faire. 972-938-3247. Waxa-hachie. Talk about a throwback. The annual Renaissance festival provides a glimpse of life in the 16th century. Attractions include full-combat jousting, falconry demonstrations, and performances by such groups as The Flaming Idiots and the Scottish Rogues.
■ Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. 214-559-2778. Samuell-Grand Park. Shakespeare seems to be everywhere lately, with Hollywood’s innumerable interpretations of his work. But you can enjoy the Bard’s work the way it’s meant to be seen- in an outdoor setting. Runs through July.
■ Cooper Center Summer Youth Sports Camps. 972-233-4832. 12100 Preston Rd. The place that changed the way we think about fitness turns its attention to kids. Week-long activities for children age 5 to 12 include swimming, flag football, and martial arts and promote healthy living.
■ Shakespeare in the Park. 817-923-6698. Trin ity Park, Fort Worth. Cowtown’s take on the Bard. Like its Dallas counterpart, this festival runs through July.
■ Taste of Dallas. 214-741-7185. West End. This event-hailed as the area’s largest outdoor festival-is sure to please even the pickiest eater, with samples from some of Dallas’ premier restaurants. The wide variety of entertainment, including live jazz and blues, will help take your mind off the Texas hea
■ Fort Worth Fourth! 817-870-1692. On the banks of the Trinity River, Fort Worth. Enjoy fireworks, music, and more.
■ Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. 214-939-2770. Reunion Arena. Plenty of fun for kids of all ages, with both traditional (tightrope artists, elephants, and clowns) and unconventional (Vesuvius, the Human Volcano and long. The Prince of Pythons) performers featured.
■ Summer Art Camp. 817-275-1600. Arlington Museum of .Art, 201 W. Main St., Arlington. Kids learn the hands-on basics of contemporary art, including abstract expressionism and pop art.
■ American Junior Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show. 817-871-8150. 3401W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. Horse lovers will relish this event, and the competitive spirit.
■ Fort Worth Pioneer Days. 817-625-9715. Fort Worth Stockyards, Three-day event celebrating the city’s Western heritage. Activities include a parade, arts and crafts, country music, and street dances.
■ State Fair of Texas. 214-565-9931. Fair Park. A rite of passage in Dallas, the State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the U.S. A few must-haves: saltwater taffy. Fletcher’s corny dogs, and a ride on the giant Texas Star Ferris wheel. Through October.
■ GrapeFest. 817-481 -0454. Main Street, downtown Grapevine. Enjoy wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, and a grape-stomping contest at this annual salute to the Texas wine industry.
■ Plano Balloon Festival. 972-867-7566. Hot air put to good use. The three-day event takes place at Bob Woodruff Park in Piano. Balloons launch each day at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
■ Six Flags Haunted Houses. 817-530-6000. Six Flags Over Texas. The original Six Flags presents this chilling attraction every year. The rides are open, but the screams in the air may just be coming from these creepy haunted houses!
■ Boo at the Dallas Zoo. 214-670-5656.1-35 al Marsalis. An alternative to neighborhood trick or treating, with a haunted house, costumed characters, and games.
■ Halloween Museum Haunted House. 972-263-2391. Palace of Wax/ Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, off 1-30 in Grand Prairie. Wax figures come to life (or so it may seem)-enter at your own risk!
■ Turkey Trot. 214-954-0500. Downtown Dallas. Work off the turkey and dressing in advance. One of the largest multi-event races in the country, this popular Thanksgivtng-morning run takes participants through the streets of downtown Dallas with an 8-mile race and a 3-mile fun run/walk, which benefits the YMCA and the YMCA Casa Shelter for Teens.
■ Galleria Wonderland Express. 972-480- 5312. Dallas Galleria. This holiday tradition fea tures a variety of toy trains running along several miles of track.
■ Holiday in the Park. 817-640-8900. Six Hags Over Texas, Arlington. Check out the seasonal productions, decorated tree exhibits, and-of course-Santa Claus himself. Through January.
■ Holiday Tree-Lighting Festival. 214-748-4801. West End Marketplace. A celebration Jimmy Stewart would love, mis day-long family and holiday entertainment event is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit.
■ Thanks-Giving Square. 214-969-1977. 1627 Pacific Ave. This square, in the heart of downtown Dallas, celebrates Thanksgiving year-round with fountains, gardens, and an exquisite chapel.
■ Candlelight Tour, Old City Park. 214-421-5341. 1717 Gano St. Go back in time as carolers in Victorian attire and horse-drawn carriages rolling down red-brick streets get you in the holiday spirit.
■ Holiday at the Arboretum. 214-327-4901. Dallas Arboretum. See me Arboretum in winter-wonderland mode; don’t miss the DeGolyer Mansion, which gets decorated especially for the holidays.
■ The Nutcracker. 214-369-5200. Fort Worth Dallas Ballet. Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet is a staple of the season, and the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet makes you remember why.
■ White Rock Marathon. 214-528-2962. Dallas. The popular annual marathon starts and ends downtown, with treks through Turtle Creek and Highland Park.
■ Zoobilee of Lights. 817-871 -7000. Fort Worth Zoo. One of the nation’s top zoos gets into the holiday spirit with this spectacular luminary display.
■ Neiman Marcus/Adolphus Children’s Parade. 214-742-8200. Downtown Dallas. The “Miracle on Commerce Street” transforms downtown into a bustling center of floats, march ing bands, and guest celebrities, such as Batman and Robin and Winnie the Pooh, And it’s all for a good cause: This televised event benefits Chil dren’s Medical Center of Dallas.