Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Thanksgiving weekend around Fort Worth will start off with many holiday-related events, including a light display, ice skating, Christmas train ride, a theater production, and a symphony event. It will end with a quintet of concerts, headlined by an iconic band, as well as an appearance by a well-known character actor.

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 24

Texas Motor Speedway presents Gift of Lights
Texas Motor Speedway will open its gates to the public for the annual Gift of Lights drive-through holiday lighting spectacular. There are over two miles of light displays, with almost 3 million lights, while visitors get to stay in their warm cars, listening to Christmas music on KLTY. Taking place through January 1, there will be special theme nights with discounts offered for participating vehicles.

Friday, November 25

Stockyards Rodeo Rink
The Stockyards Rodeo Rink will feature an all-new ice skating rink, Cowboy Santa's Winter Wonderland, live music, theme days, activations, Coco Corral, and more. There will be five 90-minute skating sessions Mondays through Thursdays, with an extra 9 pm session Fridays through Sundays. Ice skates are included at the venue, which will be open through February 5, 2023.

Grapevine Vintage Railroad presents North Pole Express
Guests can don their favorite pajamas and experience the magic of Christmas onboard Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express. Mrs. Claus takes guests on a holiday adventure to Santa’s Workshop. All guests will receive a cookie and a taste of Santa’s Frosty Chocolate Snow Milk served in a keepsake Memory Mug. Children will also receive a “We Believe” bell. The event takes place through December 23 at Grapevine Cotton Belt Depot.

Casa Mañana presents A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy
Casa Mañana presents a new, fresh twist on a classic Dickens tale that will have children ages 4 to 100 laughing alike. A Christmas Carol: A New Musical Comedy features a contemporary pop score and current pop culture references that are guaranteed to have audiences dancing in the aisles. The production runs through December 23.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents "Home for the Holidays"
Audiences can catch a glimpse of jolly old St. Nick with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra for another installment of "Home for the Holidays," the favorite holiday tradition that comes complete with magical snowfall and Christmas carols. The concert, conducted by Stuart Chafetz and featuring vocalist N’Kenge and the Lone Star Youth Chorus, will have three performances through Sunday at Bass Performance Hall.

Eagles in concert
The legendary band Eagles, with the lineup of Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, and Vince Gill, come to Fort Worth as part of their Hotel California tour. The concert will feature them playing their iconic album Hotel California in its entirety, accompanied by an orchestra and choir. After an intermission, they'll return with an entire additional set of the band’s other greatest hits. The concert will be at Dickies Arena.

Aaron Watson in concert
Country singer Aaron Watson has been recording music for over 20 years, but it wasn't until 2012 that he hit it big with his 11th album, appropriately titled The Underdog, which went to No. 1 on the country charts. He's been near the top of the charts ever since. He'll play at Billy Bob's Texas in support of his new album, Unwanted Man.

Saturday, November 26

Downtown Cowtown at the Isis presents An Evening with Barry Corbin
Downtown Cowtown at the Isis presents a special evening with Emmy-nominated actor and Fort Worth friend Barry Corbin. Corbin will enchant the audience during the first act with his razor-sharp wit and wisdom as he recaps 81 years of outrageous, sobering, and true stories from his life and experiences on film, TV, and stage. The show’s second act will allow the audience to participate in a moderated Q&A.

Joshua Ray Walker in concert
Rising star Joshua Ray Walker may just be the next big thing to come out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. His honky tonk-infused music has struck a chord since his 2019 debut album, Wish You Were Here. His latest release, 2021's See You Next Time, is the conclusion of a trilogy of records that share characters and vibes. He'll play at Tannahill's Tavern and Music Hall.

Eli Young Band in concert
Eli Young Band is a prime example of how some college bands can actually make it big in the music world. After forming at the University of North Texas, they quickly gained notoriety, opening for the likes of Miranda Lambert. Six albums later, three of which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Country charts, the band remains one of the bigger success stories to come out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They'll play at Billy Bob's Texas in support of their new album, Love Talking.

Sunday, November 27

Pat Green in concert
After rising through Texas' dancehall scene years ago, Pat Green earned himself major label support in Nashville and became the poster child of Texas music for a whole generation of fans. Green’s explosive live shows have made him a fan favorite, and the San Antonio native and Fort Worth resident has sold over 2 million albums and been nominated for three Grammy Awards. He'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Eagles will play at Dickies Arena on November 25.

Photo by Michelle Watson CultureMapSnap

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

Weekend Event Planner

The holidays are already in full effect in Fort Worth the weekend before Thanksgiving, with four events celebrating the season, but a visit from the King of Country overshadows them all. Other options include concerts at a ranch, a trio of well-known comedians, a classical music concert, and two smaller-scale concerts.

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.

Friday, November 18

Fort Worth Botanic Garden presents Lightscape
Taking place within the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and set along a beautifully illuminated walking trail custom-designed for Fort Worth, Lightscape will feature spectacular artistic installations that come to life after dark with color, imagination, and sound. Visitors will walk a one-mile-long path with suspended strands and tunnels of light, a fire garden, undulating wave of bluebonnets, singing trees, treetop sculptures, and artistic installations, while toasting marshmallows over a fire and drinking hot chocolate and other seasonal drinks at stations along the trail. The event will run through January 8.

Artisan Center Theater presents The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Based on the best-selling book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.” The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids. The production runs through December 23 at Artisan Center Theater in Hurst.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Circle T Ranch Music Festival
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will present the second annual Circle T Ranch Music Festival, a three-day concert series featuring performances by The Steep Canyon Rangers on Friday and contemporary and classical music from the orchestra on Saturday and Sunday. Along with performances, the family-friendly festival will feature food trucks and a number of pre-concert activities, ranging from face-painting to instrument demonstrations. All concerts will be at Circle T Ranch in Westlake.

Improv Arlington presents Shawn Wayans
Shawn Wayans was born into one of Hollywood's largest and most successful comedic families, so he was naturally gifted with the ability to make people laugh. He carved his own acting career with a starring role in the sitcom The Wayans Bros., along with movies like the Scary Movie franchise. He'll perform four times through Saturday at Improv Arlington.

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents "Wagner Highlights"
Audiences can marvel at some of the greatest moments in the operatic repertoire as Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano delves into the music of Richard Wagner, including “The Ride of the Valkyries” from Die Walküre, the Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey” from Götterdämmerung. The program will include images by famed British illustrator Arthur Rackham. There will be three performances through Sunday at Bass Performance Hall.

Hyena's present Helen Hong
A fan favorite on the hit NPR podcast Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Helen Hong has been a recurring character on HBO's Silicon Valley, CBS' The Unicorn, and others. She will perform four times through Sunday at Hyena's in downtown Fort Worth.

George Strait in concert
Country superstar George Strait may have retired from touring way back in 2014, but he's by no means finished playing concerts. He helped open Dickies Arena in 2019, and he's also played big shows in the past couple of years at the Houston Rodeo and in Austin alongside Willie Nelson. He's back at Dickies Arena for two special concerts - one Friday and one Saturday - where he'll be joined by opening act Tenille Townes.

The Panhandlers in concert
The Panhandlers are a Texas country music group made up of William Clark Green, Cleto Cordero, Josh Abbott, and John Baumann, four solo artists who've had a good amount of success in their own right. They'll play at Billy Bob's Texas in support of their new EP, West Texas is the Best Texas.

Saturday, November 19

Fort Worth Zoo presents 30th Anniversary Festival
The Fort Worth Zoo will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their reopening with a special festival, where visitors can spend the day with favorite animals, enjoy a variety of live musical acts throughout the park, take advantage of photo ops, interact with strolling characters, enjoy giveaways (while supplies last), and check out themed animal enrichment activities in habitats across the zoo. Admission will be half-price all day long.

13th Annual Funky Finds Holiday Shopping Experience
The 13th Annual Funky Finds Holiday Shopping Experience will feature Santa as he wears shades, swimming trunks, and his Hawaiian shirt in holiday market surf side. The flamingos are rounding up the best in handmade and vintage funky finds for shoppers' tropical holiday pleasure. Visitors can also float over to snag the best finds before they're swept away with the tide. The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Will Rogers Memorial Center.

George Lopez: OMG Hi! Comedy Tour
Few comedians have enjoyed the type of success that George Lopez has over the past 20 years or so. He has had not one, but three eponymous sitcoms — George Lopez, Saint George, and Lopez. He was also the host of the short-lived talk show, Lopez Tonight. Obviously, the man knows funny, which he'll show in two performances at Will Rogers Auditorium.

Josh Weathers Band in concert
Josh Weathers is a Fort Worth-based soulful singer-songwriter. He has spent close to 20 years honing his craft of combining songs of hope with a high energy rock n’ soul live show. With his band or not, he's no stranger to the various stages around Fort Worth. They'll play at Tannahill's Tavern & Music Hall.

Sunday, November 20

40th Annual GM Financial Parade of Lights
The GM Financial Parade of Lights will take over the streets of Downtown Fort Worth for the 40th year, with more than 100 illuminated floats, an array of festive performers, holiday decor, live music, and hundreds of thousands of sparkling lights. The lighting of the Christmas tree in Sundance Square will take place an hour prior to the start of the parade, at 5 pm. For things to know before you go (including road closures and parking), go here.

Photo by Michelle Watson CultureMapSnap

George Strait will play at Dickies Arena on November 18 and 19.

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.

Courtesy photo

Fort Worth music group promises rock 'n' roll experience with weeklong Beethoven extravaganza

String fever

In a first for Dallas-Fort Worth, the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth will present all 16 of Ludwig van Beethoven's string quartets in a series called the Quartet Cycle.

The Miró Quartet, a classical string quartet based in Austin, will perform the Quartet Cycle with five concerts over seven days, November 7-13, at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. (The Miró knows the pieces well, as they've released a recording of them; listen here.)

Gary Levinson, CMSFW artistic director, says the Quartet Cycle will resemble a resume of Beethoven’s life’s work as a musician, composer, and pianist. Throughout the concert series, the quartets will be divided into three distinct areas of Beethoven’s career: his early work, the middle of his career, and his late work up until he died.

All 16 quartets are rarely performed together as part of one event, Levinson says. Although the Quartet Cycle has been performed internationally, it has never been performed in its entirety in the DFW area, he adds. Performing all 16 quartets is an “enormous emotional commitment” for the performing musicians, which makes it hard to produce often.

“The actual physics of performing it is not such a big deal, but to perform and connect with audiences at such a high level of music, which requires so much emotionally, is a huge deal,” says Levinson, the Dallas Symphony senior principal associate concertmaster and a renowned violinist who has played chamber music all his life.

The Beethoven super-event was originally planned for 2020, in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMSFW has had to postpone the event three times.

Levinson says it’s hard to say whether the delays will have significantly impacted the performances. A year or two’s worth of delays won’t make the Miró Quartet’s performance better or worse — it’ll just be different because they will have evolved and grown as people and musicians since 2020, he explains.

“It’s just going to be a different interpretation than if the event had happened in 2020,” Levinson says.

Levinson says part of what makes the Quartet Cycle so special for listeners is the ability to connect with the music and the musicians on an emotional journey each night. That’s what sets the series apart from even the greatest concerts, he says.

“In many ways, this is much less like a concert and much more like a journey — much more like almost an evolution for the group and for the listener,” Levinson says. “You won’t be the same afterwards.”

Although audiences should attend every concert if they can, those who can only come to one or two will still experience great music and a great time, he says.

The concert series will be almost like a mini music festival within the society’s fall schedule, Levinson says. In addition to the concerts, Bill McGlaughlin, host of the public radio program Exploring Music, will give a 45-minute lecture about all the quartets before performances. Levinson says all are welcome to attend the lectures but especially encourages those who are not familiar with chamber music to consider attending.

The Quartet Cycle promises to excite and entertain chamber music fans, and those who are not classical or chamber music aficionados can expect a “rock 'n' roll” experience, Levinson says, adding that those who have not attended this kind of event before may be “blown away” by the power and energy that a four-person classical music group can produce.

“If I was inviting someone who has never been to a chamber music concert, I would say, ‘Get ready for a really exciting experience,’” Levinson says. “And the kind of energy that you feel from your fellow audience members is second to none. It’s really like being at a sporting event.”

The performance schedule includes concerts at 7 pm on November 7, 9, 10, and 11 and at 2 pm on November 13. The evening concerts will be preceded by a pre-concert lecture at 6 pm, and the afternoon concert’s lecture will be held at 1 pm. Tickets are $35 per person.

More information is available at the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth’s website.

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 Ralph Lauer/The Cliburn

American software engineer wins 2022 Cliburn Amateur Piano Competition in Fort Worth

Applause-worthy achievement

Jon Lee, a 41-year-old software engineer from San Francisco, has won the Eighth Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition in Fort Worth.

Michael Slavin, 71, a retired New York neuro-ophthalmologist, won second place; and Xavier Aymonod, 46, a public transportation marketing director from France, took home third.

The winners were announced at Bass Hall on Tuesday, October 18, at the conclusion of the seven-day competition that saw pianists compete through three rounds. Six finalists performed a movement of a major piano concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, under former FWSO music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

The Cliburn Amateur, launched in 1999, is the world's pre-eminent competition for non-professional pianists age 35 and older. This year's edition — rescheduled from May 2020 — drew 29 pianists from 16 countries across the globe. They ranged from age 38 to 72, with a median age of 51. An additional 14 pianists came to Fort Worth as non-competing festival participants.

The competition was adjudicated by a jury of internationally renowned pianists, piano professors, and Cliburn competition alumni: Pamela Mia Paul, jury chair (United States); Peter Czornyj (United Kingdom); Alessandro Deljavan (Italy); Valery Kuleshov (United States); Carol Leone (United States); Alex McDonald (United States); and Spencer Myer (United States).

The complete list of 2022 winners, including jury award honorees, is:

The Richard Rodzinski First Prize: Jon Lee, Software Engineer, 41, United States
$2,000 cash prize (plus custom Justin boots)

Second Prize: Michael Slavin, Neuro-Ophthalmologist (retired), 71, United States
$1,500 cash prize

Third Prize: Xavier Aymonod, Marketing Director – Public Transportation, 46, France
$1,000 cash prize

Jury Discretionary Award: Deirbhile Brennan, Accountant, 53, Ireland
$500 cash prize

Jury Discretionary Award: Sean Sutherland, Product Manager, 45, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines/Canada
$500 cash prize

Jury Discretionary Award: Noah DeGarmo, Physician, 44, United States
$500 cash prize

Audience Award: Masanori Murakami, Clinical Project Manager, 38, Japan
$500 cash prize (plus a Justin cowboy hat)

Avid Cliburn Amateur fans will recognize several names from past competitions. Slavin and Aymonod repeated their second- and third-place finishes, respectively, from the 2016 Cliburn Amateur. Brennan, Sutherland, and DeGarmo also competed in 2016.

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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.