Courtesy of Whataburger

The holiday season is upon us. And you know what that means in the Lone Star State: decking the halls, visits with Santa, dashing through no snow, and — oh, yeah — the annual release of some of the cheesiest Christmas garb in all of Texas.

That’s right, it’s time to “sleigh” the season by beefing up your wardrobe with some Whataburger finery. The San Antonio-based burger chain has plenty of new and classic holiday offerings Whataburger fans will relish this year and for Yuletides to come.

If it’s an ugly holiday sweater you’re craving, the fast-food company’s new design — featuring a snowy Christmas Eve scene at Whataburger, complete with Santa and his reindeer — is sure to jingle your bells. Make it a combo by adding the matching beanie and new holiday socks to stay cozy during the most wonderful time of the year.

Also new this season: pajama sets in sizes for the whole family and bedecked with a diamond flying W design. After all, as Whataburger notes, “the jolly man on Christmas night loves families in orange and white.”

And the 2021 collectible ornament, a signature orange vintage pickup truck hauling — what else? — Whataburger fries will help make the season bright and perhaps a little salty.

The company will also gift fans with additional product drops throughout the season, including more pajama sets and beanies, though the online Whatastore, where all seasonal items can be purchased, already boasts an abundance of holiday wares, from the clever “All I want for Christmas is Whataburger” T-shirt and the classic Whataburger A-frame snow globe to 7-foot inflatable Santa and snowman yard decorations, and even Christmas-themed Whataburger table tents.

Of course, Whataburger-branded apparel and gifts are nothing new for the brand, which has long offered a meaty line for the fashion-forward fan, including a flurry of strangely appealing holiday wear.

Visit the Whatastore to get more info and to check out the full line of holiday offerings.

The new holiday sweater will have you dreaming of a Whataburger Christmas.

holiday sweater
Courtesy of Whataburger
The new holiday sweater will have you dreaming of a Whataburger Christmas.

The Masked Singer reveals Dallas-Fort Worth show as part of epic national tour

Costume drama

Dallas-Fort Worth will soon play host to a touring version of America’s favorite song-and-dance reality show.

The Masked Singer, the Fox series guessing-game competition that features costumed celebrities belting out their best (and sometimes worst) renditions of popular songs, will take to the stage of Texas Trust CU Theatre at Grand Prairie on July 15, 2022 as part of a national tour.

Tickets for the DFW show ($39.75-$89.75) are now on sale at AXS.com. VIP packages are available now through VIPNation.com and include meet-and-greet opportunities with the cast, exclusive merch, and photo opportunities.

Fans of the TV show can expect much of the same zaniness during the live performance, which will include some recognizable characters from the TV series brought to life onstage alongside “surprise celebrity guests,” according to a release.

Celebrity guest hosts from the TV show, who will be announced closer to performance dates, will join one “local celebrity” at every show, with that VIP performing in a top-secret disguise.

The Grand Prairie audience will then try to decipher clues to guess the local celebrity’s identity until the he or she is unmasked at the end of the night’s festivities, with producers promising “an incredible production of song, dance, and craziness that only The Masked Singer could deliver.”

The tour is presented by Right Angle Entertainment — which has made a killing touring with live versions of popular TV series, including Price is Right Live — and producers Guy Phillips and Mark Swanhart, the minds behind Dancing with the Stars: Live!, The Bachelor Live on Stage, and the Simone Biles-led Gold Over America Tour, which stopped at Fort Worth's Dickies Arena last month.

With the following The Masked Singer showhas amassed (it’s currently the No. 1 primetime series, averaging 7.9 million viewers across multiple platforms), it was likely only a matter of time before these producers took the show on the road.

The Masked Singer national tour kicks off in St. Louis on May 28, 2022. In addition to the DFW engagement on July 15, the tour will also make Texas stops in San Antonio on July 12, Austin on July 13, and Sugar Land on July 14.

Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras Galveston

Follow the beads to these Mardi Gras beats, bashes, and balcony parties in Galveston

Let the good times roll

It's that time of year when tourists descend upon Galveston — no, not for spring break yet — but to go crazy during the two weekends that make up Mardi Gras Galveston. While some gatherings are private, there will be plenty of events where bead-bearing folk can respectfully get their party on.

If you'd rather forego the Mardi Gras crowds in New Orleans this year but still want to take part in parties and parades, point your car toward the popular Texas beach town. In a few hours, the good times will be rolling.

The parades
Expect myriad Mardi Gras parades, mostly going down in the Strand District. The weekend of February 22-24, there will be the George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award Parade (7 pm February 22), the 8th Annual Zaniest Golf Cart Parade (1 pm February 23), the Krewe D'iHeartMedia Art Car Parade (3 pm February 23) and the Fiesta Gras Parade (1 pm February 24).

The following weekend, there's the Danny Weber Memorial Fire Truck Parade (7 pm March 1), the Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Parade (3:30 pm March 2), and the Krewe d'Esprit Rosaire Parade (11 am March 2) on Seawall Boulevard.

The entertainment
This weekend's Main Stage headliners are Texas country artist Pat Green (6 pm February 23) and Baton Rouge funk band Zaemon (10 pm February 23). Coming from Roma, Texas, Norteno band Duelo (2:30 pm February 24) will handle the music for Fiesta Gras.

Next weekend, Lone Star country stars Jason Cassidy (10:30 pm March 1) and Drew Womack (8:30 pm, March 1) will headline a "Salute to Texas" show.

And, for the EDM-loving kids, there's also Electric Mardi Gras, where DJs will be keeping things loud on the Electric Stage at the intersection of 21st and Mechanic. The two big draws this year are Phoenix's Grey the Mute (9 pm February 23) and Austin's Buck Rodgers (11 pm February 23).

The balcony parties
Savvy locals know that half the fun is observing the events from the numerous balcony parties that'll also be going down. The Mardi Gras! Headquarters Balcony Party will be happening all through Mardi Gras at the Dargan & Tobyn Building. A Mardi Gras Mask-Making Party (5:30 pm February 21) will kick things off at the Galveston Arts Center.

The King's Court Balcony Party will be on both weekends at Trolley Station, while the Queen's Court Balcony Party will also be happening at the Trumpets Building. And fans of '80s junk might want to check out the 2019 Krewe of Thalasar '80s Mardi Gras Ball (5 pm February 22) at the Trumpets Building.


For more information on Mardi Gras Galveston parties, visit the official site.

Photo courtesy of Trinity River Vision Authority

This is how fun Fort Worth is, according to one unfun national report

We're having a blast

As that bridal party on a wine crawl down Magnolia Avenue will tell you, Fort Worth sure is fun. As the dudes in inner tubes on the Trinity can attest, Fort Worth knows how to have a good time. In fact, the authors of a new national study should pay us a visit to see what a barrel of laughs we really are.

They think we're "medium fun."

Personal finance site WalletHub has released the results of its new report, an investigation to uncover the 2018 Most Fun Cities in America because, as they explain, "everyone likes to have fun." In order to quantify fun, a process which seems inherently not fun, thus negating the fun study, the researchers looked at 80 U.S. cities based on 65 relevant metrics.

Fort Worth ranked No. 56. Womp, womp.

According to WalletHub, Americans spend nearly $3,000 on entertainment each year, so this fun study is actually about money. Austin landed at No. 14 among U.S. cities — up four spots from 2017 — and took the No. 1 spot among Texas cities.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Live Music Capital of the World scored its highest marks in the "Nightlife & Parties" (13) and "Entertainment & Recreation" (19) categories. Austin didn't do as well in the "Costs" column, earning a paltry 54. (Strangely, Austin did not land among the top five cities for festivals. Instead, that honor went to Honolulu. No disrespect to Honolulu, but seriously? Austin hosted a festival entirely for cats, and they didn't even get an honorable mention? That's just ridiculous.)

How did Fort Worth score? In "Entertainment & Recreation," 83; "Nightlife & Parties," 27; and "Costs," 101. Its total average score of 35.10 sandwiches it between snowy Rochester, New York (No. 55) and wing-capital Buffalo, New York (No. 57).

Elsewhere in Texas and DFW, Houston's fun ranking is No. 18, followed by San Antonio (22), and Dallas (27). El Paso and Arlington join Fort Worth at medium levels of fun, at Nos. 73, and 86, respectively. Plano is at 121. Irving comes in at a pretty boring 148, Grand Prairie at 151, and Garland at 152. And sadly, at No. 170, Brownsville wears the tiny sad crown as the least fun place in Texas.

So where is the ultimate fun city in the U.S.? That precious honor was bestowed upon Las Vegas. Orlando, Florida, and New York City round out the top three spots.

Magic Men Live/Facebook

Magic Mike-inspired male dance revue grinds its way to North Texas stage

Do You Believe in Magic

Let us brace ourselves: An all-male dance revue called Magic Men Live is coming to Dallas at the end of the year. "Where size matters: And everything is bigger in Texas" reads the tagline.

Billed as the "first live stage production to bring the phenomenon of Magic Mike, Fifty Shades of Grey, and others to life," Magic Men Live promises to lift girls' night out to naughty new heights. Like a classy strip club.

The show is produced by (we're not making this up) Premier Gentlemen Entertainment. It's the handiwork of Myles Hass, who also performs as emcee. It's segmented into acts spotlighting different fantasies that are "sure to appeal to a variety of tastes:" Fire Men, Military Men, Trojan Men, and Rain Men are all promised in the show's teaser video, though it looks like cowboys also make a hat-tipping, chaps-wearing appearance.

There's plenty of hip hop-inspired dirty dancing too, à la Channing Tatum and crew from the movies (with which the stage show is not officially affiliated). Audience participation also seems strongly encouraged.

Eight lucky Texas cities receive these magical men at the tail end of 2016. North Texans can live out their fantasies at the Bomb Factory on December 2; tickets ($22-$77) go on sale October 14.

The full Texas lineup is as follows:

  • November 29: McAllen, McAllen Convention Center
  • November 30: Abilene, Civic Center, Abilene
  • December 2: Dallas, The Bomb Factory
  • December 3: Robstown, RMB Central Pavilion Area
  • December 4: Houston, Revention Music Center
  • December 7: Austin, The Paramount
  • December 9: San Antonio, Aztec Theatre
  • December 11: El Paso, Plaza Theatre
Photo courtesy of iStock

The 5 best makeout spots in Fort Worth to steal a kiss

Pucker Up

It's not as romantic as, say, Paris, but Fort Worth has some surprisingly amorous spots around town that are perfect for a little makeout session. Here are five spots to pucker up in Cowtown.

Around the Fort Worth Botanic Garden
With 22 specialized gardens and 110 acres of land, the possibilities are endless when it comes to picking somewhere to duck away and steal a kiss. Proposals and weddings happen here all the time, so you just know there are a few grade-A hidden pockets where previous couples have had smooch success.

Inside the planetarium at UT Arlington
Making out under the stars is romantic — if you can see them amid the city lights, that is. The planetarium at UTA has a 60-foot projector that streams shows like Texas Stargazing to a Pink Floyd concert soundtrack. The building is dark, air-conditioned, and offers comfy seating, and who can resist "Dark Side of the Moon?"

In a Brazos Carriage around Sundance Square
Say "horse-drawn carriage," and chances are your sweetie will appreciate the courtly vibe so much you'll be rewarded with some snuggling. You can also learn about the history of Fort Worth’s Sundance Square when you're not focused on each other. Reservations are $45 per couple.

At Coyote Drive-In
Does it get much more classic than making out at the drive-in movies? Coyote offers the latest blockbusters in the comfort of your own car — and we'll let your imagination take it from there.

By the Fort Worth Water Gardens
The privacy factor may not be strong here, but the surrounding cascade of water is good for masking those sweet nothings you're whispering in each other's ears. And if you feel the need to, ahem, move to somewhere a little more secluded, just hop back up to the beginning of this list.


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Don't be afraid of PDA, Fort Worth.

Couple kissing
Photo courtesy of iStock
Don't be afraid of PDA, Fort Worth.
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'Yellowstone' stars to greet fans at Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Yellowstone news

Yellowstone fans, get your comfy shoes ready - there'll be a long line for this one. Cole Hauser a.k.a. "Rip Wheeler" on Yellowstone, and Taylor Sheridan, the show's co-creator, executive producer, and director of the series, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

The event will take place from 4:30-6:30 pm only on Friday, February 3. Location is the 6666 Ranch booth near the south end of Aisle 700 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall.

According to a February 2 announcement from FWSSR, "fans will have the opportunity to snag an autograph as well as purchase some distinctive Yellowstone and 6666 Ranch merchandise while also enjoying all the features the Stock Show offers."

The event is free to attend (with paid Stock Show admission) and open to the public.

It's the second year in a row for Hauser to appear at FWSSR; in 2022, he and fellow cast mates drew huge crowds.

Sheridan, a Paschal High School graduate, is no stranger to Fort Worth; he lives in a ranch near Weatherford and filmed 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, in and around Fort Worth. Currently, another spinoff, 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, is filming in North Texas.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is winding up its 2023 run on Saturday, February 4.

Dallas-Fort Worth arrives at surprising spot among top summer travel destinations


Dallas-Fort Worth recently racked up more than a dozen accolades at the 2023 Texas Travel Awards. But a new survey reveals it's not necessarily such a hot travel destination this summer.

DFW comes in at a middle-of-the-road No. 45 in WalletHub's recent 2023 Best Summer Travel Destinations report.

The report compared 100 of the largest metro areas in America across 41 metrics, including number of attractions.

DFW scored an overall rating of 52.56 out of 100. Broken down by category, the Metroplex ranked 86th in "Travel Costs & Hassles;" 32nd in "Local Costs;" 20th in "Attractions;" 41st in "Weather;" 27th in "Activities;" and 50th in "Safety."

Taking the top spot in Texas was San Antonio, at No. 11, with Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown at No. 14. Behind Austin and San Antonio in the 2023 rankings is El Paso (No. 18), then Houston (No. 38). After 45th ranked DFW came Corpus Christi (No. 62), and McAllen (No. 86).

Dr. Susan Weidmann, assistant professor in the department of recreational management and physical education at Appalachian State University, said in the report that summer 2023 is going to be a “good season for travel” despite recent economic downturns that have many worried about a recession.

“Coming out of Covid, I think many people have taken these last few years to really evaluate what they want out of life, and for those that love travel, I think they have probably put it at the top of their list of things to do,” she said. “As far as economics are concerned, many may have saved their traveling money from the last multiple years, so will have money to spend. That being said, after the airline chaos of last year, many people may be thinking about domestic travel over the long-haul, just to alleviate many of the concerns that airlines, especially in Europe, are still grappling with, such as reduced staffing leading to flight cancellations.”

Weidmann predicts the time period between July and early August will be the most popular season for National Parks, like Texas’ Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains.

Despite none of them being in Texas, the top 10 destinations in WalletHub’s report are all popular cities worth a glance in sun-friendly states like Hawaii, New York, and Florida.

The top 10 best summer destinations are:

  • No. 1 – Atlanta
  • No. 2 – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • No. 3 – Washington, D.C.
  • No. 4 – Wichita, Kansas
  • No. 5 – New York City
  • No. 6 – Chicago
  • No. 7 – Tampa, Florida
  • No. 8 – Orlando, Florida
  • No. 9 – Richmond, Virginia
  • No. 10 – Springfield, Missouri

New exemption gives Fort Worth homeowners a small break in property taxes

Homeowner News

Homeowners in Tarrant County will pay slightly less in property taxes, following two new homestead exemptions approved by the Tarrant County Commissioners Court on June 6.

Homestead exemptions subtract part of the value of your home, which results in a decrease in your taxes. Home values in Texas have increased by nearly 40 percent in recent years; Texas has the sixth-highest property taxes in the U.S.

The first was a 10 percent exemption on the county tax rate. A home appraised at $300,000 would will see a decrease of approximately $67 in taxes they owe to the county.

The commissioners court initially discussed a 5 percent exemption but raised it to 10 percent.

The second exemption was a 10 percent exemption for the Tarrant County Hospital District tax. The Tarrant County Hospital District, AKA the JPS Health Network, provides funding for the city-county hospital. The network receives about 40 percent of its funding from Tarrant County taxpayers.

According to KERA, JPS Health Network brings in more revenue than it is spending. However, two commissioners who voted against the exemption noted that taking revenue away from JPS Health Network now could endanger the progress of an expansion in the works.

County administrator G.K. Maenius, who is retiring in September after 35 years, said that the exemption will cost the county between $28 and $30 million in revenue; the commissioners do not know how they'll replace the shortfall or which departments will face a budget cut.

Tarrant County Appraisal District has a form that can be filled out online.