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Ubbi Dubbi Festival

Photo courtesy of Ubbi Dubbi Festival

The annual Ubbi Dubbi Festival will feature an expanded festival site and a new fourth stage. The two-day festival will feature performances by over 40 artists, including Adventure Club, Bonnie x Clyde, Fairlane, Kaskade, Slushii, and more.

Photo by Joan Marcus

These are the 12 best things to do in Fort Worth this weekend

Weekend Event Planner

This is a big weekend around Fort Worth, with an annual film festival, the return of a beloved pianist, a national tour of a Broadway musical, two opera productions, larger-than-life Hot Wheels cars, the city's annual marathon, awards honoring the best in Texas country music, and more.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, November 10

Lone Star Film Festival
The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival will feature eight narrative feature films, nine documentary feature films, and over 50 short films across four days. Highlights include opening night film Butcher's Crossing starring Nicolas Cage; a showcase screening of Living starring Bill Nighy; and a retrospective screening of Pedro Almodovar's 2006 film Volver. Most screenings will take place at Downtown Cowtown at the Isis. The festival will also include a gala on Friday honoring Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan with the Larry McMurtry Award.

Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth presents Beethoven Quartet Cycle
The Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth presents Beethoven Quartet Cycle, featuring the Miro Quartet. The concerts, going on through Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, highlight all 16 of Beethoven's string quartets. Bill McGlaughlin, host of Exploring Music will be a special guest at this event presenting the pre-concert talks about the works being performed.

Theatre Wesleyan presents Wonder of the World
Theatre Wesleyan will present Wonder of the World by David Lindsay-Abaire, a laugh-out-loud comic confection intended for mature audiences. The play follows the exploits of Cass as she flees from her troubled marriage in a frantic search for the life she thinks she missed out on. Cass heads to the natural wonder of the world - Niagara Falls - crossing paths with a shipload of nutty characters. Does all of the comedic chaos push Cass over the water's edge ... literally? The production runs through November 19 in Thad Smotherman Theatre on the Texas Wesleyan University campus.

The Cliburn presents Vadym Kholodenko
Vadym Kholodenko's dynamic and technically phenomenal performances earned him the gold medal at the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013. He went on to be named the first artist-in-partnership of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, among other honors. The native of Ukraine and honorary Fort Worthian returns to Fort Worth for his first Cliburn Concerts appearance in nine years, performing a traditional recital at the Kimbell Art Museum on Thursday, and a more casual concert at The Post at River East on Friday.

Friday, November 11

New Fort Worth Opera productions
Fort Worth Opera will present two single-performance productions this weekend. On Friday at Fort Worth Community Arts Center will be the world premiere of Stand Up!, a socially conscious chamber opera that gives the audience a snapshot of the life of South African activist Stephen Biko during 1960s Apartheid, and segues into a modern-day story of a similarly racially divided college campus in Texas. On Sunday at Van Cliburn Recital Hall at TCU will be Of Thee I Sing! Songs of Love & Justice, a recital curated by Karen Slack that features a program with songs around the themes of love and justice as a reminder to the audience that no matter your race, ethnicity, politics, etc., we are all human.

Performing Arts Fort Worth presents Elf the Musical
It may be a bit early to get into the full Christmas spirit, but the story of Buddy the Elf in Elf the Musical is hard to resist. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. The production runs through Sunday at Bass Performance Hall.

Cody Canada & The Departed in concert
The music of Cody Canada & The Departed blurs the lines between hard-edged country, rock & roll, and all the gritty sounds in between. The band has released four albums in their career, most recently 2018's 3. They'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

Saturday, November 12

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live
At Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, fans will enjoy a new and expanded lineup of monster trucks as they experience the thrill of watching the iconic Hot Wheels monster truck toys come to life in a full-size, kid-focused, immersive Hot Wheels experience. This is the only opportunity to see real-life versions of the famous Hot Wheels monster truck toys, including fan favorites Bone Shaker, Tiger Shark, V8 Bomber, and Demo Derby. There will be three performances through Sunday at Dickies Arena.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents Final Fantasy 35th Anniversary Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy Coral
Specially curated by Japanese composer and keyboardist Nobuo Uematsu, the program for Final Fantasy 35th Anniversary Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy Coral is a monumental, retrospective celebration of the Final Fantasy music catalogue. Conductor Arnie Roth leads an orchestra and chorus of 100 musicians on stage at Will Rogers Memorial Center, with exclusive HD video direct from creators at Square Enix.

Sunday, November 13

Fort Worth Marathon
The Fort Worth Marathon course is certified by the USA Track and Field Association and can be used to qualify for the Boston Marathon. It is a flat out-and-back course along the Trinity River. The event will also include a 20 Mile Race, Half Marathon, and 5K. Beginning and ending at Panther Island Pavilion, there will also be food trucks, hot showers, music, and free money giveaways.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents "Robert Spano Performs Chamber Music"
Robert Spano, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's new music director and an accomplished pianist, will launch the Kimbell Chamber Series with a song cycle of his own composition, the Sonnets to Orpheus, featuring mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor. The intimate concert experience at Kimbell Art Museum's Piano Pavilion will also include Brahms' Piano Quintet in F Minor and Debussy's Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp.

Texas Country Music Awards
The 2022 Texas Country Music Awards will feature performances by headliner Roger Creager, as well as Terry McBride & The Ride, co-host Brandon Rhyder, Bailey Rae, and more. Artists up for the top award, Entertainer of the Year, include Aaron Watson, Creed Fisher, Jon Stork, Kin Faux, and Randall King. The awards will take place at Billy Bob's Texas.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Elf the Musical will play at Bass Performance Hall, November 11-13.

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These are the 13 best things to do in Fort Worth this weekend

Weekend event planner

This weekend across Fort Worth offers a little bit of everything, including some top-level tennis, four concerts from different genres, a documentary about a legendary country singer, four festivals with vastly different focuses, the first holiday lights of the season, a new art exhibit, and a new local theater production.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, November 3

WTA Finals Fort Worth
Fort Worth is hosting the prestigious year-end finale for the WTA, featuring the top 8 singles players and doubles teams. Players who've taken the court this week include U.S. Open winner Iga Świątek, Jessica Pagula, Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia, and more. The tournament will go on through Monday at Dickies Arena.

The Cliburn presents Jessie Montgomery
Jessie Montgomery is a decorated composer and violinist whose works are frequently performed around the world by leading musicians and ensembles. Her music interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, poetry, and social consciousness. She'll perform at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Friday, November 4

Magnolia at the Modern: The Return of Tanya Tucker - Featuring Brandi Carlile
The trailblazing, hell-raising country music legend Tanya Tucker defied the standards of how a woman in country music was supposed to behave. Decades after Tucker slipped from the spotlight, the rising Americana music star Brandi Carlile takes it upon herself to write an entire album for her hero based on Tucker’s extraordinary life, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history. This documentary follows Tucker’s richly creative, utterly captivating, bumpy ride back to the top as Carlile encourages her to push past her fears to create a new sound and reach a new audience. The film will screen six times through Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Q BBQ Fest
The Q BBQ Fest gathers the finest pitmasters from across Texas and throughout the country to dish out award-winning smoked meats to BBQ lovers. The weekend-long celebration features tons of barbecue, local music, BBQ tutorials and demonstrations, and games and activities. The festival goes on through Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

The Light Park
Most holiday light shows wait until around Thanksgiving to open, but the new The Light Park is already raring to go. It features a mile-long, drive-thru spectacular where guests will witness millions of lights synchronized to a mix of music by DJ Polar Ice. Open daily through January 1 at Hurricane Harbor Arlington, the show claims it has the longest light tunnel in the world.

REO Speedwagon in concert
The legendary REO Speedwagon are now into their sixth decade as a recording group, as they released their first album in 1971. Their biggest days were in the early 1980s, when best-selling albums like Hi Infidelity, Good Trouble, and Wheels are Turnin' yielded hits like "Keep On Loving You," "Take It on the Run," and "Can't Fight This Feeling." They'll play at Billy Bob's Texas.

Foals in concert
English alt-rock band Foals has been big in their native UK since their debut 2008, as all seven of their albums, including the new Life is Yours, have made the top 10 over there. They've recently started to make inroads in the U.S. but still haven't come close to that popularity here. They'll look to change that with a two-night stint at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall, playing on both Friday and Saturday.

Saturday, November 5

Fort Worth Botanic Garden presents Japanese Fall Festival
At the Japanese Fall Festival, guests can enjoy traditional Japanese dance, music, martial arts, sword demonstrations, raku, tea ceremonies, and more. The festival, located inside the historic Japanese Garden inside the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, will take place on both Saturday and Sunday.

Studio Nano and Sleepi ZZZ presents Nishi Fest
Nishi Fest is a single-day celebration of anime and Asian pop culture in the west. Planned attractions and events include voice actor and industry guest panels, cosplay guests and cosplay contest, autograph sessions and photo ops, fighting game and TCG tournaments, exhibitors and Artists Alley vendors, a JDM/KDM car show and contest, Asian food truck style night market, and more. The festival will be at Arlington Convention Center.

Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents Charles Truett Williams: "The Art of the Scene"
Charles Truett Williams: "The Art of the Scene" examines the Fort Worth mid-century art scene through the presentation of more than 30 works by the Fort Worth artist and the artistic community drawn to his studio salon. Accompanying the works on paper and sculptures are ephemera from the recently acquired archives of Williams, enhancing the Carter’s strong holding of artist archives. The exhibition will be on display through May 7, 2023.

Social House Entertainment presents The Tacos & Tequila Festival
The Tacos & Tequila Festival may have food and drink in the name, but it's equally about the music, as it will feature performances by T.I., Lil Jon, Chingy, Baby Bash, Mike Jones, Petey Pablo, Twista, and DJ Ashton Martin. Attendees can enjoy chef-inspired tacos, tequila and margarita tastings, authentic Lucha Libre wrestling, an exotic car showcase, and a Chihuahua beauty pageant in addition to the music. The festival is at Panther Island Pavilion.

Casa Mañana presents Here You Come Again: How Dolly Saved My Live in 12 Easy Songs
Here You Come Again: How Dolly Saved My Live in 12 Easy Songs is a rollicking and touching new musical about a has-been-who-never-was comedian and his unusual relationship with his longtime idol, Dolly Parton. The show is a celebration of Dolly’s music and of the profound and funny things she has to say to us all about life, love and how to pull yourself up by your bootstraps during the toughest of times - even if your bootstraps don’t have rhinestones. The production runs through November 13 at Casa Mañana Theatre.

Joe Nichols in concert
Country star Joe Nichols has been crafting hits since his breakout in 2002 with his sophomore album, Man with a Memory. Thanks to songs like "Brokenheartsville," "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off," and "Gimmie That Girl," he's remained at the top of the genre for the past 20 years. He'll play at Billy Bob's Texas in support of his new album, Good Day for Living.

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Coco Gauff and Caroline Garcia play an early match at the WTA Finals in Dickies Arena.

Photo courtesy of Saban Films

Lone Star Film Festival

The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival will feature eight narrative feature films, nine documentary feature films, and over 50 short films across four days.

Highlights include opening night film Butcher's Crossing starring Nicolas Cage; a showcase screening of Living starring Bill Nighy; and a retrospective screening of Pedro Almodovar's 2006 film Volver.

Most screenings will take place at Downtown Cowtown at the Isis; supplemental events will take place at other venues around Fort Worth. For a full schedule of events, go to the festival website.

Facebook/Art Worth

New weekend festival makes Fort Worth the epicenter of fine art & craft in North Texas

Art in the City

Fort Worth's newest festival, Art Worth, will showcase hundreds of works by dozens of fine artists and crafters.

Yes, craft — a word that makes some art snobbies bristle.

The inaugural juried festival will take over the lawn of the Will Rogers Memorial Center complex for one weekend, October 21-23. It will display fine craft and fine art that spotlights skillfully executed works of art in glass, metal, wood, clay, and fiber, plus paintings, photography, jewelry, and more.

According to a release, some 60 artists were selected in May by a distinguished panel of local art professionals. A complete list of artists and examples of their pieces can be found here.

Throughout the weekend, guests can meet the artists who make the pieces, learn about various art disciplines through live demonstrations, and, of course, purchase works to add to their own collections.

“Art Worth promises to be an ideal venue for these remarkable artists to present their works for local and visiting guests,” says Greg Belz, executive director for ArtWorks Foundation, in the release. “This will be a truly immersive experience celebrating new works in the heart of Fort Worth’s cultural treasures.”

Art Worth is a production of the Memphis-based nonprofit ArtWorks Foundation, which helps artists grow in their business and their work, they say, "through programs, exhibitions, and education initiatives, including scholarships for advanced study workshops at fine craft schools."

Belz says in the release that they chose the Fort Worth Cultural District location more than year ago, influenced by "the verdant outdoor setting, comfortable October weather, plus proximity to renowned museums, restaurants, theaters, and other arts institutions."

The location, of course, is directly across from the Kimbell Museum and the Amon Carter Art Museum of American Art.

The organization, he says, is looking for a future permanent center for fine craft in Texas (hey, how about Fort Worth?) and hopes to establish an endowment for Emergency Relief Grants to help artists resume careers derailed by illness or disaster.

Throughout the weekend, Art Worth also will present performances of classical music by area youth ensembles and fare from local eateries.

Inside the nearby museums, there are many goings-on, too, including a Chamber Music Society concert and the opening of a big new exhibition at The Modern.

Art Worth hours are 10 am-6 pm Friday and Saturday, and 11 am-4 pm Sunday. Admission is free, and the entire festival is family-friendly, pet-friendly, and open to the public. Follow updates on Facebook and Instagram.

“Everyone can expect a full weekend of art, craft, music, food, and more,” Belz says. “Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and make a day (or three days) of it.”

Photo courtesy of The Judds

These are the 15 best things to do in Fort Worth this weekend

Weekend event planner

It's a packed weekend in Fort Worth, with six concerts that will draw a variety of music lovers as the headline. Also on tap will be a new local theater production, an art festival, the start of a new opera season, a celebration of musical theater, and more.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, October 20

Stage West presents Guards at the Taj
India, 1648. Two hapless Imperial Guards watch from their post as the sun rises for the first time over the newly-completed Taj Mahal. But the morning light brings with it an unthinkable task that will shake the foundations of everything they thought to be true. In this disarmingly funny and deeply moving story, two friends behold the most sublime of wonders and discover the perils of bearing witness to perfection. The regional premiere runs through November 20 at Stage West.

Phillip Phillips in concert
The reality singing competition American Idol has produced its fair share of stars, sometimes from the winner's circle, sometimes not. Phillip Phillips won the 11th season of the show in 2012 on the strength of his song "Home," which went on to become the best-selling song in Idol history. Phillips has released three albums in his career, most recently 2018's Collateral. He'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall with support from American Authors.

Friday, October 21

Art Worth Festival
Art Worth is a juried festival of fine craft and fine art that spotlights skillfully executed works of art in glass, metal, wood, clay, and fiber, plus paintings, photography, jewelry, and more. Visitors can meet the artists who make the pieces and learn about various art disciplines through live demonstrations. There will also be performances of classical music by area youth ensembles and fare from local eateries. The festival takes place through Sunday at Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Magnolia at the Modern: God's Creatures
In a windswept fishing village, a mother (Emily Watson) is torn between protecting her beloved son (Paul Mescal) and her own sense of right and wrong. A lie she tells for him rips apart their family and close-knit community in this tense, sweepingly emotional epic. There will be seven screenings through Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Opera presents Noches de Ópera
Fort Worth Opera will open their 2022-23 season with two new productions as part of its Noches de Ópera initiative. On Friday, Noche de Zarzuela will take the audience across the Atlantic for an evening of excerpts from Spain’s most beloved zarzuelas from composers Jacinto Guerrero, Frederico Moreno and Soutullo-Vert. On Saturday and Sunday, Noches de Latinidad: El Fuego de Una Mujer is a Latin-American musical extravaganza that features a mix of art songs, arias, and folkloric music from Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Argentina. Both productions take place at Rose Marine Theater.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents "Rodgers and Hammerstein Celebration"
The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will harken back to the golden age of musical theater when Rodgers and Hammerstein, one of the greatest writing duos in history, had their heyday. The musical partners had a run of award-winning Broadway shows, including Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and more. The concert, conducted by Carl Topilow and featuring vocalists Scarlett Strallen, Hugh Panaro, and William Michaels, will have three performances through Sunday at Bass Performance Hall.

Junior Brown in concert
Country singer Junior Brown is a true original, best known for his signature instrument, the "guit-steel" double neck guitar that is a hybrid of an electric guitar and lap steel guitar. Active since the early '80s, Brown has released 11 albums in his career, including 2018's Deep in the Heart of Me. He'll play at Billy Bob's Texas.

Saturday, October 22

AllianceTexas Aviation Expo
The world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will soar through the sky at the AllianceTexas Aviation Expo presented by Bell (formerly Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show). The event at Fort Worth Alliance Airport will include static aircraft displays, exhibitors, food concessions, and a gift shop. In addition to the Thunderbirds, aerial acts will include the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, Bell 505 Fly-By, and the National Anthem Flag Presentation by the RE/MAX Skydiving Team.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium presents BeerFeast
BeerFeast is a beer tasting extravaganza that is celebrating 16 years at Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in downtown Fort Worth. Guests can enjoy beer samplings from 50 Beerknurd-approved local, national and international breweries, along with live music and food.Tickets include a BeerFeast 2022 t-shirt, tasting glass and 12- 2 ounce tastings.

Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth presents "La Dolce Vita"
The Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth presents "La Dolce Vita," featuring an all-Brahms program including Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38; Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 34, and more. Guest pianist Alessandro Deljavan of Italy won Fort Worth hearts as a two-time Cliburn competitor; he is joined by violinist Gary Levinson, violist Michael Klotz, and cellist Bion Tsang. The concert takes place at 2 pm at the Modern Art Museum.

The Judds: The Final Tour
What was meant to be the last hurrah for mother-daughter duo Naomi and Wynonna Judd has turned into a bittersweet tour after the death of Naomi in April. Wynonna Judd will go on without her, joined at this concert at Dickies Arena by fellow country music icons Trisha Yearwood and Martina McBride. McBride will play a full set of her own classic hits before Wynonna takes the stage to sing some of her own hits and songs by The Judds.

Ludacris in concert
Almost from the start of his career, rapper Ludacris has been on two paths - one as a music star and another as an actor. On the music side, all eight of his albums have landed in the top five of the Billboard 200, including four at No. 1. On the acting side, he's become a reliable performer, most notably as a member of the Fast & Furious family. He'll perform at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

Casey Donahew in concert
Country singer Casey Donahew had a nice run of success on the national country music scene, charting four straight albums in the top 10 on the Billboard Country charts in the 2010s, including the No. 3 All Night Party. He comes back to town in support of his new album, Built Different. He'll play at Billy Bob's Texas.

Sunday, October 23

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents "Modern Masters: A Tribute to Anne Windfohr Marion"
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will present "Modern Masters: A Tribute to Anne Windfohr Marion," an exhibition of contributions of one of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s greatest patrons, tracing her support over nearly a half century. Marion’s generosity to many institutions is legendary, but no organization stood above her love for the Modern. The exhibit, which will feature 80 works by 47 artists, will be on display through January 8, 2023.

Foreigner in concert
With 10 multi-platinum albums and 16 Top 30 hits, Foreigner is universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world. They are responsible for some of rock and roll’s most enduring anthems, including “Juke Box Hero,” “Cold As Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” “Waiting For A Girl Like You,” “Feels Like The First Time,” and more. They'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'Lightscape' shines bright in this week's 5 most popular Fort Worth stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. What to expect at 'Lightscape,' Fort Worth's new walk-thru winter wonderland. Fort Worth’s most Instagrammable new holiday lights display is best enjoyed without clinging to a phone. “Lightscape,” which made its North Texas debut at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Friday, November 18, walks visitors through a winter wonderland experience unlike any other in DFW.

2. Hoffbrau Steak fires up the grill for new location in Grapevine. A longtime steakhouse is coming to Grapevine: Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House, a small family-owned and -operated chain that's been in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 40 years, will open a location November 28 at 700 W. State Hwy 114, previously home to a Brick House Tavern & Tap, which closed during the pandemic.

3. Yellowstone and 1883 stars cowboy up at Fort Worth gala honoring Taylor Sheridan. Fort Worth has always been "where the West begins," and now it's where TV's hottest Western drama begins, too. The 2022 Lone Star Film Festival Gala - held November 11 at Hotel Drover in the Stockyards - leaned hard into the city's connections to Yellowstone and its prequel, 1883, with signs and programs that boasted "The Road to Yellowstone Began in Fort Worth."

4. Divine doughnuts and tempting tamales top this Fort Worth restaurant news. This roundup of restaurant news around Fort Worth has tidbits about doughnuts, Cajun food, vegan tamales, and gourmet ice cream, culled from press releases, social media, and the occasional hot tip. Here's what's happening in Fort Worth restaurant news.

5. Here comes Santa House, back to Grapevine for a very charitable 2022 Christmas season. After taking a much-needed break last year, Louie Murillo and his family are once again decking their halls, yard, and rooftop to bring back the Grapevine Santa House — a smash hit during the 2020 holiday season. The half-acre property is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of more than 1,000 Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program.

Texas parks beckon throughout 2022 holidays with festive events and peaceful escapes

If roasting ‘smores and hiking in the great outdoors sounds fun, pack up your family and visit one of Texas’ state parks this holiday season.

Texas state parks and historic sites are ringing in the holidays with a number of festive events. There are drive-thru light tours, special holiday hikes, arts and crafts for the kiddos, and more.

Reservations fill up quickly, so be sure to visit an individual park's website before you head out. And check the Holidays in the Parks page for many more fun options, pricing information, and more information.

Dallas-Fort Worth-area parks

Tyler State Park
Avoid the Black Friday madness with the 15th annual “Walk-off the Bird” Bird Walk, a 2.1-mile walk by the lakeshore at 9 am November 25. Bring your binoculars to relax and enjoy the bird life of the East Texas Pineywoods. At 2 pm the same day, enjoy a Fall in the Savannah fall foliage hike. Enjoy Reading Ranger Campfire Stories around a cozy campfire at 3 pm December 3. Head back December 9-10 for A Pineywoods Christmas, when you can stroll or drive through the Lakeview and Big Pine campgrounds to take in campers' elaborately decorated sites and take a Winter Wonderland Hike.

Lake Tawakoni State Park
Drive through or stay at the park and decorate your campsite with your favorite Christmas decorations to receive your second night of camping free during your stay. There will be a decorating contest, complete with awards, as well as a reading of The Night before Christmas — all part of Twinkle Tour 2022, 5-8 pm December 3.

Daingerfield State Park
Drive through the park lit up like Santa Land during the 10th annual Christmas in the Park drive thru lights tour December 14-17 (times vary). Marvel at the decorated campsites and lights, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while waiting for a chance to visit with Santa.

Eisenhower State Park
Help those in need and spread holiday cheer — and as a bonus, get free entry to the park — by bringing one unwrapped donation item to the park’s Holiday Donation Drive from November 25 to December 19. Come back December 9-10 to visit the Light Up the Park drive-thru lights event, featuring milk and cookies with Santa. This year, the park is taking unwrapped toys to donate instead of collecting entrance fees for the event.

Cleburne State Park
Enjoy Pancakes With Santa and make pinecone bird feeders 9-11 a.m. December 10.

Cedar Hill State Park
Walk off your Thanksgiving Day meal and explore nature in the cool fall air during the three-mile Thanksgiving Nature Walk 7:30-9 a.m. November 26. Search for birds taking their winter break at the park during their Winter Birding Walk, which takes place 7:30-8:30 am December 13. Explore Christmas on Penn Farm on December 17: Learn about the history and pioneers of the Penn Family and the farm they built 150 years ago.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park
Experience Christmas, cowboy style, at Cross Timbers Cowboy Christmas, December 3. Park ranger and cowboy poet David Owens will gather guests around a campfire at the Lone Star Amphitheater for an evening of cowboy culture through songs, stories and poems.

Dinosaur Valley State Park
In partnership with Toys for Tots, the park is hosting Christmas in the Valley, a full day of ranger-led events, programs, family friendly activities, arts and crafts, food and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for free admission for the whole family. The event takes place 1-4 pm. December 17.

Austin/San Antonio-area parks

Bastrop State Park
The park’s annual Gobble Till You Wobble hike November 25 has been canceled due to predicted rains. However, you can still follow ornaments with clues through the park every day in December during the annual Fa La La Through The Forest Scavenger Hunt. Enjoy the Lost Pines Christmas Parade, a collaborative event with Bastrop and Buescher Parks, at 6 pm December 10. Tour the inside of the historic Refectory and see how the Civilian Conservation Corps celebrated Christmas away from home during A Lost Pines CCC Christmas 9 a.m. to noon December 17.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site
Attend Deck the Halls, 10 am. to 3 pm November 26 to explore how early Texans at the Sauer-Beckmann Farm got ready for the holidays by stringing popcorn and decorating cookies to hang on their Christmas tree; learn how to make wreaths out of local cedar and dip candles as the farm staff get ready for das Weihnachten (Christmas). Return to the park at 5:30 pm December 18 for the 53rd Annual Tree Lighting, a holiday tradition started by President and Mrs. Johnson.

Garner State Park
Join the Buffalo Soldiers program and friends as they stop into Garner State Park before leaving for Christmas break during the Marching Towards Christmas event 10 am to 2 pm December 10. Christmas activities will include hand-dipped candles, frontier Christmas painting, Christmas-themed hard tack in Dutch ovens, and stories of the Buffalo Soldiers.

Buescher State Park
Take a Giving Thanks Guided Hike and learn how the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park from 3-4 pm November 26. On the Fa La La in the Forest Scavenger Hunt, you can follow ornaments with clues through the park to secure a prize at the end, December 1 to January 1. Enjoy the Smithville Festival of Lights and Lighted Parade, a collaborative effort between Buescher and Bastrop parks, on December 3.

Hill Country State Natural Area
See how art, history and state parks are connected; learn some basic watercolor techniques and paint a card or two to take home during the Watercolor Christmas Cards event 2:30-4 p.m. December 3. Come back for Horses in History & Ornament Craft from 2:30-4 pm. December 22 and learn how horses played important roles in the lives of vaqueros, native people, ranchers and more. Then, play a round of horseshoes and paint a horse ornament to take with you.

South Llano River State Park
At Christmas at the Ranch, 2 to 5 pm December 3, guests can warm up with hot chocolate and cider, listen to live entertainment, enjoy crafts and cookie decorating, and anticipate Santa's visit while taking in the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations at the historic Ranch House that now serves as Park Headquarters.

Houston and Gulf Coast-area parks

Brazos Bend State Park
Holiday in the Park is an all-day affair on December 10. Events include a self-guided "Elf Hike," Christmas crafts, "Pup Parade," s'mores, and more.

Goose Island State Park
See the park in lights, enjoy holiday activities, and camp for free when you decorate your campsite during Christmas in the Park on December 17. Guests are invited to "Santa's Village" at the CCC Recreation Hall for holiday crafts, games, hot chocolate around the campfire, and to drop off letters to Santa in the North Pole Mailbox.

Lake Livingston State Park
Learn about your favorite Thanksgiving food (the turkey) during Campfire Turkey Talk on November 26. Rangers will cover the history of Thanksgiving, the habits and behaviors of wild turkeys, and share interesting facts about turkeys, including how it nearly became our national bird.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Get in the holiday spirit with the second annual Holiday Light Drive Thru 6-9 pm December 10. Visitors can enter the park for a drive through the lighted areas of Javelina and Opossum Bend camping loops, plus the Old Pavilion.

West Texas and the Panhandle-area parks

Franklin Mountains State Park
Pack your Thanksgiving leftovers and hike 1.5 miles up to Aztec Caves during the park’s Turkey Trot at 11 am November 25. On December 3, make ornaments and holiday cards with recycled materials as part of the Art in the Parks series. During Cookies and Cocoa, you can decorate and take home your own Christmas treat while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate 2-4 pm December 23. Come back on Christmas Eve for a guided, two-mile Santa Hike at 11 am.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Bring your family out for Home for the Holidays guided family hike on December 10 and moderate hike on 17.

San Angelo State Park
Enjoy a drive-thru tour of lights and optional pictures with Santa and Smokey Bear during Holly-Days in the Park 6-8 pm December 10.

Affluent Fort Worth neighbor leads list of lavish holiday spending budgets in U.S.

Santa Baby

As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, holiday shopping budgets are in the spotlight, and a study from WalletHub lists Flower Mound as one of the top cities where Santa doesn't need a whole lot of help.

According to the personal finance website, the average holiday budget in Flower Mound is $3,531 per person, the third highest in the nation.

The town's 2021 population of 77,243 (per the U.S. Census) boasts a median income $139,703 and earlier this year was named by Ventured.com as the richest city in Texas.

In spite of an increase over last year's gift list totals, Flower Mound dropped to the third spot after being ranked No. 1 last year with a budget of $3,427. Newton, Massachusetts (budget $4,233) and Palo Alto, California (budget $3,920) edged out the Texas city this year.

Flower Mound was the only Texas city in the top 10, but there's plenty of holiday cheer to be found in the report, and not just for Flower Mound Santa fans.

Each year, WalletHub calculates the maximum holiday budget for over 550 U.S. cities "to help consumers avoid post-holiday regret," the website says. The study factors in income, age of the population, and other financial indicators such as debt-to-income ratio, monthly-income-to monthly-expenses ratio and savings-to-monthly-expenses ratio.

Despite nationwide focus on inflation strains, holiday spending is expected to be healthy, and higher than last year.

"The seeming social upheaval in recent times may lead households to spend more in an attempt to take some control of the environment which they can control," says Robert Wright, University of Illinois, Springfield professor emeritus who was among five experts consulted for advice about holiday shopping.

This could be good news if your Christmas wishes are on local shopping lists. Eight other North Texas cities landed in this year's top 100 heftiest holiday budgets:

  • Allen, No. 17 , $2,670
  • Frisco, No. 37, $2,150
  • McKinney, No. 45, $2,070
  • Plano, No. 50, $1,999
  • Carrollton, No. 55, $1,837
  • Richardson, No. 58, $1,823
  • North Richland Hills, No. 81, $1,658
  • Lewisville, No. 90, $1,630

Fort Worth landed at No. 366 with a budget of $890, while Dallas landed at No. 401 out of 558 cities with an average holiday budget of $845.

Elsewhere in Texas, spending in the Austin area won't be ho-hum with the Capitol City's budget of $1,705 ranked at No. 78. Two Austin suburbs, Cedar Park (budget $2,855) and League City (budget $2,541) ranked 14 and 20, respectively.

Santa's bag could be a mixed bag in the Houston area with three suburbs in the top 100, but the urban center falling behind:

  • Sugar Land, No. 15, $2,793
  • Pearland, No. 36, $2,172
  • The Woodlands, No. 71, $1,733
  • Houston, No. 366, $890

Things don't look too jolly for San Antonio, ranked at No. 431 with an average budget of $803 or Pharr, which was the lowest ranked city in Texas.

At No. 553 with a budget of $487, the Rio Grande Valley city came in just a few spots ahead of last place Hartford, Connecticut, with a budget of only $211.