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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 Fort Worth CVB

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents Ando Building's 20th Anniversary

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Modern’s building, visitors can explore the museum for free for one weekend. Tadao Ando’s “arbor for art” has become a beloved destination for Fort Worthians and people around the world since opening on December 14, 2002.

Visitors can experience the tranquil, light-filled spaces and restful pond that reflect Ando’s genius. The highlighted exhibition on display is "Modern Masters: A Tribute to Anne Windfohr Marion," and The Modern trees will be illuminated with an array of festive lights in celebration of the holiday season.

Courtesy photo

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

Weekend event planner

Although this weekend across Fort Worth starts off with a bang thanks to a major concert, it will be the smaller local events that dominate next four days. They include a new theater production, a symphony concert, five concerts featuring mostly local musicians, and a Sunday full of art openings and closings.

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 27

Chris Stapleton's All-American Roadshow
Country singer Chris Stapleton can't seem to get enough of Dallas-Fort Worth. He was supposed to headline the first-ever event at Globe Life Field in Arlington on March 14, 2020, but, well, you know. He did make it back there the following summer, and now he's back yet again, only this time at Dickies Arena. This version of the All-American Roadshow will find Stapleton playing songs from his 2020 album, Starting Over, joined by special guests Elle King and Morgan Wade.

Circle Theatre presents Kodachrome
Welcome to Colchester, a small town where everybody knows everybody and the pace of life allows the pursuit of love to take up as much space as it needs. Tour guide Suzanne, the town photographer, allows a peek into her neighbors’ lives to catch glimpses of romance in all its stages of development. Kodachrome is a play about love, nostalgia, the seasons, and how we learn to say goodbye. The co-production with Theatre TCU will run at Circle Theatre through November 19.

Friday, October 28

Magnolia at the Modern: Triangle of Sadness
In Ruben Östlund’s wickedly funny Palme d’Or winner, social hierarchy is turned upside down, revealing the tawdry relationship between power and beauty. Celebrity model couple, Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), are invited on a luxury cruise for the uber-rich, helmed by an unhinged boat captain (Woody Harrelson). What first appeared Instagrammable ends catastrophically, leaving the survivors stranded on a desert island and fighting for survival. The film will screen six times through Sunday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents "A Trip to St. Petersburg: Glinka, Glazunov, and Tchaikovsky"
With more than 20 years serving as the orchestra’s lieutenant-general under his belt, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra concert-master Michael Shih steps into the spotlight to deliver Glazunov’s Violin Concerto. This all-Russian program launches with Glinka’s Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila and wraps up with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The concert, conducted by Delyana Lazarova, will have three performances through Sunday at Bass Performance Hall.

Green River Ordinance in concert
For over 15 years, Fort Worth rock band Green River Ordinance has paired warm, melodic, and occasionally rambunctious Southern rock with songs that centered around both enjoying life and staying focused on the things that matter. The band has released four albums in their career, most recently 2016's Fifteen. They'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

An Evening with Rhett Miller
Singer Rhett Miller has a lot of love around Dallas-Fort Worth, both from being the lead singer of Old 97's and from his solo work. At this special concert at The Post at River East, Miller will put on an intimate acoustic performance, highlighting songs from his eight solo albums, most recently 2018's The Messenger.

Easton Corbin in concert
Country singer Easton Corbin was among the fastest rising artists in the genre in the early 2010s, releasing three albums in five years, including 2015's About to Get Real, which went to No. 1 on the Billboard County charts. Strangely, he has yet to release a fourth album, although he did release a new song, "I Can't Decide," earlier this year. He'll play at Billy Bob's Texas.

Saturday, October 29

Jonathan Tyler and The Texas Gentlemen in concert
Jonathan Tyler and The Texas Gentlemen will co-headline this special concert. Tyler just released his first album in seven years, Underground Forever, while The Texas Gentlemen have released two albums, most recently 2020's Floor It!. They'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

Kyle Park in concert
Texas singer Kyle Park has had modest success on the country music charts, peaking at No. 24 with his 2013 album, Beggin' for More. Like all musicians struck with the bug to keep creating, though, he's kept at it, with his most recent album being 2018's Don't Forget Where You Come From. This concert at Billy Bob's Texas will double as a Halloween party and costume contest, with prizes up to $300 being awarded to winners.

Sunday, October 30

Kimbell Art Museum presents "Guests of Honor | Modigliani: Three Works from the Pearlman Foundation" closing day
Sunday will be the final day to view three works by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani that have joined the Kimbell’s limestone sculpture, Head (c. 1913), as “guests of honor.” Drawn from the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation and usually on loan to the Princeton University Art Museum, the three works include another limestone Head (c. 1910–11) and two paintings – portraits of the poet, designer and filmmaker Jean Cocteau (1916) and the Russian sculptor Léon Indenbaum (1916).

Fort Worth Museum of Science and History presents "Fort Worth and the Green Book" final day
Sunday will also be the final day to view "Fort Worth and the Green Book" at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The family-friendly exhibition explores what the life was like for Black travelers in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ’50s, who faced many unique challenges both on and off the road, as well as the remarkable guide that helped them adventure with confidence. Visitors can step into the times through an immersive photo experience, chart a safe path through Texas using the Green Book as a resource, and examine artifacts from Fort Worth history and beyond.

Amon Carter Museum of American Art openings and closing
Sunday will be moving day at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, as two new exhibitions will open while another closes. Closing is "Art Making as Life Making: Kinji Akagawa at Tamarind," which offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in a 1960s print workshop. Opening are "Speaking with Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography," the first major museum survey to explore the practices of Indigenous photographers working today, and "Faces from the Interior: The Native American Portraits of Karl Bodmer," which features over 60 recently conserved watercolors by Bodmer, including portraits of individuals from the Omaha, Ponca, Yankton, Lakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Assiniboine and Blackfoot nations. Both new exhibitions will be on display through January 22, 2023.

Courtesy photo

Chris Stapleton will play at Dickies Arena on October 27.

Photo by Zig Jackson

Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents "Speaking with Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography"

Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents "Speaking with Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography"

Marking the first major museum survey to explore the practices of Indigenous photographers working today, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art will present "Speaking with Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography." Contemporary photography-based works will spotlight the dynamic ways in which more than 30 Indigenous artists have leveraged their lenses over the past three decades to reclaim representation and affirm their existence, perspectives, and trauma.

Among many milestone works, this sweeping multimedia exhibition will feature acclaimed prints by Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, Wendy Red Star, and Nicholas Galanin; site-responsive installations by Kapulani Landgraf and Jolene Rickard; and a new large-scale photo weaving by Sarah Sense, which has been commissioned by the Carter.

"Speaking With Light" showcases the evolution of cultural affirmation and institutional critique in photography through the prolific output of young and mid-career artists such as Jeremy Dennis, Sky Hopinka, Dylan McLaughlin, and Cara Romero, along with their generational forebearers, including Shelley Niro, Tom Jones, and Zig Jackson.

Brought together, these photographs, videos, three-dimensional works, and digital activations forge a mosaic investigation into identity, resistance, and belonging. Reflecting a wide spectrum of distinct cultures and creative practices, the exhibition is an outgrowth of the Carter’s broader collecting initiative dedicated to amplifying Indigenous artists’ contributions to the history of photography and American visual identity.

Photo courtesy of Estate of Nam June Paik

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents "I'll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen"

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents the landmark "I’ll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen," a thematic group exhibition that examines the screen’s vast impact on art from 1969 to the present. This exhibition surveys more than 60 works by 50 artists over the past five decades. The artists included examine screen culture through a broad range of media such as paintings, sculpture, video games, digital art, augmented reality, and video.

Screens affect nearly every aspect of life today. Their pervasiveness has bred a 24/7 breaking news cycle, the looming corporate-sponsored virtual-reality “Metaverse,” unlimited accessibility and content, and an ease in how ideas and images are distributed, undoubtably shaping culture in profound ways.

This exhibition starts in 1969 - the year of the televised Apollo moon landing and the launch of the internet’s prototype, ARPANET - as this was the watershed year where collective connectivity through screens was first mobilized in modern society. This era forged what the media theorist Marshall McLuhan presciently deemed in the 1960s a “global village,” a place where distance is collapsed and people from across the world readily interact.

Following this trajectory, contemporary life is hybrid and increasingly mediated through screens. These flat and finite surfaces embody more than what meets the eye - they hold up a mirror to society and contribute to forming meaning in life and mainstream culture.

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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.”

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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.