SOUTHWEST 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 world show off their skills (bronco riding and barrel racing) and their animals (everything from horses to rabbits).
THE KIDFILM FESTIVAL 214-821-6300. AMC Glen Lakes Theatre. A child prodigy’s dream, the KidFilm Festival is the largest children’s media (estival 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 conlest pits the Big 12 Conference against the Southeastern Conference.
DALLAS BOAT SHOW. 972-714-0177. Market Hall. H helps to have a boat with all the lakes around Dallas-how else can you 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.
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 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 rood and entertainment at the North Texas Irish Festival.
USA FILM FESTIVAL 2 [4-821-6300. Founded in 1971. this festival honors the best in American filmmaking. Nationally renowned critics select their favorite independent and studio films, while the filmmakers discuss their work in panel discussions. Plus, it’s a great place to see stars: Recent celebrity sightings include Kathy Bates, Dennis Quaid, and Robert Altman.
DALLAS CUP INTERNATIONAL YOUTH SOCCER TOURNAMENT. 214-221-3636. Lake Highlands Stadium. Soccer moms, unite! This is 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 three weekends and includes big-name entertainment, food, and wildflower plantings.
IMAGINATION CELEBRATION. 214-823-7601. Artis! 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 817-336-8791. Fort Worth. The largest free art festival in the Southwest features four days of entertainment, food, and art, including ceramics, photography, and glassworks.
TASTE ADDISON. 1 -800-ADDISON. Addison Conference & Theatre Centre. 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 al the Fair Park extravaganza with food, games, and entertainment.
SCARBOROUGH FAIRE 972-938-3247. Waxahachie. Talk about a throwback. The annual Renaissance festival provides a glimpse of life in the 16th century. Attractions include full-combat unhung, falconry demonstrations, and performances by such groups as The Singing Executioners and the Scottish Rogues. Through June.
ARTFEST. 214-361-2011. Fair Park. Celebrate the local arts scene-including visual arts, crafts, and music-with the whole family.
GTE BYRON NELSON CLASSIC. 972-717-1200. Four Seasons Resort and Club, Las Colinas. Which is more fun to watch, the golf or the people? This annual PGA Tour event features many of the world’s best golfers.
SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL OF DALLAS. 214-559-2778. Samuell-Grand Park. Shakespeare seems to be everywhere lately, with Hollywood’s innumerable interpretations of his work. Bui you can enjoy the Bard’s work the way it’s meant to be seen-live, in an outdoor setting. Runs through July.
COOPER CENTER SUMMER YOUTH SPORTS CAMPS. 972-233-4832. The place that changed the way we think about fitness (urns its attention to kids. Weeklong activities for children age 5 to 12 promote healthy living and include swimming, flag football, and martial arts.
SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK. 817-923-6698. Trinity Park, Fort Worth. Cowtown’s take on the Bard. Like its Dallas counterpart, this festival runs through July.
HOOP-IT-UP. 972-392-5750. West End Marketplace. Football may be king in Texas, but for one weekend a year, basketball reigns supreme as would-be hoop-sters from across the stale converge on Dallas’ West End to battle it out on the asphalt courts. Whether you consider yourself the second Michael Jordan or a dedicated spectator. Hoop-It-Up is the place to showcase your skills.
SUMMER ART CAMP. 817-275-4600. Arlington Museum of Art. Kids learn the hands-on basics of contemporary art, including abstract expressionism and pop art.
TASTE OF DALLAS. 214-741 -7185. West End Marketplace. 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 heat.
RINGLING BROTHERS BARNUM& MILEY 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 Tong, The Prince of Pythons) performers, FORT WORTH FOURTH! 817-870-1692. On the banks of the Trinity River, Fort Worth. Enjoy a one-day festival capped by fireworks at dusk, music, and more.
KABOOM TOWN. 1-800-ADDI-SON. Addison Conference & Theatre Centre. Enjoy dazzling fireworks, fabulous food, and live music at Addison’s most explosive party of the year. Join the festivities streetside at the Theatre Centre, or reserve a spot at a special watching party at one of Addison’s popular restaurants-either way, you’ll have a spectacular view of the show.
GRAPEFEST. 817-481-0454. Downtown Grapevine. Enjoy wine tasting, cooking demonstrations, and a grape-stomping contest at this annual salute to the Texas wine industry.
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 United States. A few must-haves: saltwater taffy, Fletcher’s corny dogs, and a ride on the giant Texas Star Ferris wheel. Through October.
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.
PLANO BALLOON FESTIVAL 972-867-7566. Hot air put to good use. The three-day event takes place at Oak Pointe Park. Balloons launch each day at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
OKTOBERFEST. 1 -800-ADDISON. Addison Conference & Theatre Centre. Brush up on your yodeling skills and head out to Addison for this authentic re-creation of the Munich Oktoberfest. German entertainers in authentic costumes perform, and carnival rides, midway games, and a petting zoo will keep (he kids entertained. But the real treat is Addison’s special Oktoberfest brew, served alongside traditional German fare-sausage, sauerkraut, strudel, and more.
BOO AT THE DALLAS ZOO. 214-670-5656. An alternative to neighborhood trick or treating, with a haunted house, costumed characters, and games.
SIX FLAGS FRIGHTFEST. 817-530 6000. Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington. The original Six Flags presents litis chilling attraction every year. The rides are open, but the screams in the air may just be coming from these creepy haunted houses!
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 Thanksgiving-morning run lakes 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 features a variety of toy trains running along several miles of track.
HOLIDAY IN THE PARK. 817-640-8900. Six Rags Over Texas, Arlington. Check out the seasonal productions, decorated tree exhibits, and- of course-Santa Clans himself. Through January.
HOLIDAY TREE-LIGHTING FESTIVAL 214-741 -7185. West End Marketplace. A celebration Jimmy Stewart would love, this day-long family and holiday entertainment event is the perfect way to begin the holiday season.
CANDLELIGHT TOUR AT OLD CITY PARK. 214421-5141. Go back in time as carolers in Victorian attire and horse-drawn carriages rolling down redbrick streets get you in the holiday spirit.
HOLIDAY AT THE ARBORETUM, 214-3274901. See the Dallas Arboretum in winter-wonderland mode; don’t miss the DeGolyer Mansion, which is 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.
NEIMAN MARCUS ADOLPHUS CHILDREN’S PARADE. 214-456-8383. Downtown Dallas. The “Miracle on Commerce Street” transforms downtown into a bustling center of floats, marching 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 Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.