Thanksgiving is still a week away, but the holiday season is kicking into high gear around Fort Worth. Half of the events this weekend are holiday-themed in one way or another. If you're not yet ready to start celebrating, you can also catch a great opera singer, an Oscar-worthy movie, a legendary comic actress, a local viral video star, or theater from across the pond.
Below are the best ways to spend your free time Thursday through Sunday. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, November 16
Performing Arts Fort Worth presents Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Irving Berlin's White Christmas tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. The show is full of dancing, laughter, and some of the greatest songs ever written. The merry and bright holiday musical will be at Bass Performance Hall through Sunday.
The Cliburn presents Isabel Leonard
Isabel Leonard, the star who dazzled audiences in Fort Worth Opera’s Cinderella and Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere of Cold Mountain, has quickly become one of the world’s leading vocal artists. At this concert, she'll perform a recital of songs by American master Leonard Bernstein, as the Cliburn honors the centennial of his birth. The concert will take place at Kimbell Art Museum.
Friday, November 17
Trinity River Vision Authority presents Panther Island Ice
It may not be that cold yet, but you can still enjoy some outdoor ice skating courtesy of Panther Island Ice. The city's only outdoor skating rink brings a winter wonderland of fun and excitement. Including all holidays, the ice rink will operate seven days a week through January 15, 2018.
Magnolia at the Modern: Novitiate
Set in the early 1960s and during the era of Vatican II, Novitiate is about a young woman in training to become a nun who struggles with issues of faith, the changing church, and sexuality. Helmed by breakout director Margaret Betts, the film is generating Oscar buzz for Melissa Leo, who stars as the Mother Superior. The film will screen seven times through Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
People Generation presents Magical Winter Lights
Magical Winter Lights is unlike any other holiday lighting event in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The festival bases its designs from Chinese lanterns and transforms them into larger-than-life remakes of well-known landmarks like the Dallas County Courthouse, a giant cowboy, and Dallas’ iconic Pegasus. The festival, which has multiple different areas, will be open every day at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie through January 7.
Arlington Music Hall presents Vicki Lawrence & Mama
Vicki Lawrence has been tickling people's funny bones for 50 years, starting with her run on The Carol Burnett Show. From that show came Lawrence's most well-known character, Mama, which she has been reprising in one form or another ever since. This "two-woman show," taking place at Arlington Music Hall, is a mixture of stand-up comedy, music, and Lawrence's observations about real life.
Saturday, November 18
Mardel presents Candace Payne
The advent of YouTube and other streaming video outlets means that anyone can become a star, even if they weren't meaning to. That was the case for Texas mom Candace Payne, who became a sensation for laughing uproariously while trying on a Chewbacca mask. Payne has released a book about her life, Laugh It Up, which she'll talk about and sign at this event at Mardel in Bardin Place Center in Arlington.
National Theatre Live presents Yerma
Billie Piper returns in her award-winning role as a young woman who is driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child in Simon Stone’s radical production of Lorca’s achingly powerful masterpiece. Set in contemporary London, Piper’s portrayal of a woman in her 30s desperate to conceive builds with elemental force to a staggering, shocking climax. The screening of this National Theatre Live production will play at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Sundance Square Christmas Tree Lighting
Designed with the community in mind, activities the day of Sundance Square's tree lighting will feature Santa Claus, live music from the Inspiration Band, as well as photo opportunities throughout the plaza. New this year will be the opportunity for visitors to get in a virtual line while waiting to see Santa Claus. Guests will simply check in at Santa’s Sleigh and then shop, eat, and relax until it’s time to meet Santa Claus.
Sunday, November 19
2017 XTO Energy Parade of Lights: A Postcard to Christmas
For the 35th year, half-a-million lights and more than 100 illuminated floats will cover the 1.59-mile parade route and draw tens of thousands of people to downtown Fort Worth for the XTO Energy Parade of Lights. Traveling down a new parade route, audiences will see spectacular, never-before-seen floats, giant illuminated balloons, antique cars, marching bands, equestrian units, horse-drawn carriages, and groups of carolers that will create the perfect “Postcard Christmas.” Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be making an appearance on the specially designed, LED-lit, grand finale float.