Art. Music. Action.
With spring’s arrival comes a flurry of outdoor festivals, some making their first appearance since COVID cancellations two years ago, including Fort Worth’s MAIN ST. Arts Festival.
In the next couple of months, you’ll have a chance once again to not only add to your art collection but to indulge in turkey legs and funnel cakes, listen to live music and dance like nobody’s watching. There’s plenty to do for the kids, too.
Browsing all the vendors is a popular way to check out the goods, but we like to plan ahead. Sleuthing out the artists’ websites and taking note of interesting vendors we definitely want to check out in person helps to keep us from being overwhelmed when we arrive. The first day of each festival is often a prime shopping opportunity, as crowds can be smaller and inventory is at its best.
Remember that many of the exhibitors — from ceramicists to jewelry makers to painters — travel from city to city throughout the country to show and sell their wares. They make friends and form relationships with local patrons. The festival format is an opportunity to talk with them and learn more about their craft. It’s also a great time to say, “Welcome back.”
Here’s a brief breakdown of five of our favorite events, including the homegrown Art in The Square. Check out the websites for more information, including tickets and parking.
MAIN ST. Arts Festival, Fort Worth
April 7-10 mainstreetartsfest.org
Downtown Fort Worth will be filled with the sights, sounds and aromas of the 35th edition of the juried art show. With an army of volunteers and organizers who have years of experience, this event will no doubt run smoothly, even following a two-year hiatus. Artists from around the country join local talent to set up on the red bricks of downtown Cowtown. Four stages showcase multiple genres of musical entertainment, including a Grammy nominee and the multimedia troupe known as Squonk Opera, which entertains with original music and design, including a pair of giant purple puppet hands. Food and beverage service no longer requires coupons for purchases (credit cards only), and offerings range from burgers to craft beer to fruit smoothies. For kids’ enjoyment, there’s the TCC Makers Zone.
Art in the Square, Southlake
April 22-24 artinthesquare.com
Presented by the Southlake Women’s Club, this event spotlights more than 200 artists, including emerging talent. There are also two stages of live entertainment; the April 23 tribute to Prince is one of the musical highlights. And, of course, there’s plenty to eat and drink, with tickets required for all festival food and beverages. Check out a variety of food options at Le Bistro dining area (i Fratelli Pizza, Feedstore BBQ, Taziki’s and Little German Kitchen are some of the vendors). Drinks include a bellini and margarita tent, iced tea stands and more. Art in the Square welcomes kids and provides plenty of activities, including the Kids Korner with hands-on art activities, wearable-wig decorating and more. The Zone provides large inflatables, obstacle courses and more for endless bouncing, climbing and jumping. Proceeds from the event, including kids’ activities, benefit more than 28 local nonprofits serving families in the area.
Featured artists at this year’s Art in the Square include Kim Eubank of Madrid, New Mexico. She works with layers of oil paint, carving into the layers with a special tool to give them more depth. Her images are inspired by her experience as a woman living in today’s modern world. Photo courtesy of Kim Eubank
Deep Ellum Arts Festival, Dallas
April 1-3 deepellumartsfestival.com
If you’re looking for something a bit eclectic, a little more rock ’n’ roll, head to Deep Ellum for this three-day festival. Events begin and end later than at other festivals, as five blocks of the funky cultural district are transformed by musicians and artists, some of whom will create original works as you watch. Confirmed participants are listed on the website, so you can browse by genre. Eats include everything from Mexican to Mediterranean cuisine along with street fair classics. Children are welcome, but festival organizers stress that everything is definitely geared toward adults and that no specific activities are scheduled for kids.
Cottonwood Art Festival, Richardson
May 7-8 cottonwoodartfestival.com
This two-day semiannual event has been around for more than 50 years. It celebrates both established artists and young, emerging talent. For kids, there’s ArtStop, a plethora of activities including weaving, working with polymer clay, painting and pottery making with experts. Check out two stages of entertainment — one acoustic — and a food court, beer tent and beverage carts stationed throughout the grounds.
Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival, Richardson
May 20-22 wildflowerfestival.com
Another biggie in Richardson, the Wildflower! festival celebrates 30 years in May. This event rightfully includes music in its name, as the entertainment lineup features acts such as popular disco band Le Freak, a Rolling Stones tribute band, Texas singer-songwriter Jason Eady and ’90s fave Collective Soul. Go for the music, but check out the food and art vendors, too. This is a ticketed event, with general admission and package deals available.