Having had temperatures in the 80s in February — February! — it's nearly impossible to believe that spring isn't officially until March 20. But the spring festival season always starts a bit early, and with this weather, that's a good thing.
Here are fun spring festival options worth marking on your calendar.
The Southwest's largest spring flower fest kicked off a couple of weeks ago, and the gardens are filled with more than 500,000 fragrant flowering spring bulbs in every color imaginable. The flowers make the perfect background for photos of kids, families, brides and quinces. Be sure to take along some allergy meds if you're so inclined, and a picnic for lunch (though food is available for purchase on-site).
Through April 9, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas. $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for children 3-12, free for children under 3. $15 parking, $8 if purchased online. dallasarboretum.org.
Texas Pinball Festival
Gamers can play to their hearts' content with more than 400 pinball machines as well as classic video games set on free play filling a 40,000-square-foot room inside, with a flea market and swap meet hosted by the DFW Pinball and Arcade Club set up outside. March 24-26 at Embassy Suites, Frisco. texaspinball.com.
Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival
The three-day event kicks off with a barbecue showdown and continues through April 1 with the Main Event tasting; Desserts After Dark; Rise + Dine: A Brunch Inspired Tasting; and Burgers, Brews + Blues. March 30-April 1 at various Tarrant County venues. fortworthfoodandwinefestival.
Big Texas Beer Fest
More than 120 breweries, including several local ones, will be pouring more than 500 beers at the sixth annual fest, where you'll find plenty of rare brews. The beer will be flowing inside; outside, bands will perform and food will be available for purchase from a variety of food trucks. March 31-April 1 at the Automobile Building at Fair Park. bigtexasbeerfest.com.
Arts in the Square
More than 120 local and regional artists will greet attendees and sell their work during the sixth annual gathering, which runs April 1-2 at Frisco Square. You can also expect live music and art-making activities. April 1-2. friscosquare.com.
Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival
Ennis is known for its Bluebonnet Trails, featuring about 40 miles of lovely wildflowers on a route that is officially open April 1-30. A fest celebrating the state flower runs April 7-9 in downtown Ennis and features bluebonnet souvenirs, arts and crafts, children's activities, live music and more. April 7-9. visitennis.org.
This wine and food festival starts with an opening-night barbecue ('Cue It Up), and continues with the Shaken + Stirred mixology party; the epicurean centerpiece of the fest, the Grand Tasting; and a community brunch with fresh farm-to-table fare. April 6-9 at various Dallas locations. savordallas.com.
Arts in Bloom
Deep Ellum Arts Festival
During this spring celebration, the sidewalk serves as the canvas for cool creations from professional and amateur chalk artists. Expect to see artists at work in a variety of media, as well as arts-and-crafts stations for kids. April 8 in Old Town Lewisville. lewisvillecolorpalooza.com.
Frisco Streats Food Truck & Music Festival
More than 20 food trucks will be parked in downtown Frisco for this sixth annual festival. The event will also feature music by Emerald City, Moving Colors, Cast Iron Soul and Thunder Road, plus vendor booths and a beer and wine garden. April 8 at Fourth and Main streets, Frisco. facebook.com/
Scarborough Renaissance Festival
Prepare for eight weekends of festivities on grounds styled to look like a 16th-century English village. There'll be plenty of costumed revelers and nonstop performances each day across 24 stages, artisan demos, giant turkey legs and more. April 8-May 29 on the fest's grounds in Waxahachie. srfestival.com.
This free fest features performances by dozens of troupes, as well as dance and fitness classes. April 9 at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in downtown Dallas. thedancecouncil.org.
Easter in Lee Park
Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival
Earth Day Texas
Learn more about Earth-friendly lifestyle choices at a fest featuring exhibits, a sustainable beer garden, and the Savor Dallas sustainable-food market. April 21-23 at Fair Park, Dallas. earthdaytx.org.
Grand Prairie Main Street Fest
Cardboard Boat Regatta
Garland Heritage Celebration
Immerse yourself in the history of Garland with this free festival that includes live-music performances, historical lectures and exhibits, food trucks and a beer garden. April 22-23 in downtown Garland. garlandheritage.com.
Art in the Square
This Southlake Women's Club charity fundraiser features a juried show with works by more than 150 artists, as well as entertainment on two stages. April 28-30 at Southlake Town Square. artinthesquare.com.
Tacos from more than 20 local taquerias will be available in one place and served with a side of lucha libre wrestling and live music, plus there will be beer and tequila for sale. April 29 at the Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market. tacolibredallas.com.
Dallas Book Festival
National, regional and local authors gather on April 29 at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas. Artistic and cultural performances and presentations round out the day's events. (This year's fest is being held in conjunction with the Dallas Festival of Ideas listed below.) April 29. dallasbookfestival.org.
Dallas Festival of Ideas
Equity is the theme for the third annual Dallas Festival of Ideas, a partnership between the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and The Dallas Morning News. The free, daylong festival on April 29 features authors Yaa Gyasi (the novel Homegoing) and Andrew Solomon (The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression). April 29 at City Hall Plaza and the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in Dallas, held in conjunction with the Dallas Book Festival listed above. April 29. thedallasfestival.com.
This annual arts and crafts festival has been reimagined with new elements for 2017, including a university zone and Dallas galleries. Includes food and beverage booths, a music stage, work from artists from across the country and a children's activity area. April 29-30 at the Dallas Arboretum. dallasarboretum.org.
Taste treats from chocolatiers, bakers and chefs during the two main events of Grapevine's celebration of cacao: Evening of Chocolate and Wine, and Day of Chocolate and Art. The evening event is May 5 and A Day of Chocolate and Art is May 6 at the Grapevine Convention Center. chocolatefestgrapevine.org.
Dallas International Guitar Festival
The 40th annual event includes acts like Andy Timmons, Eric Gales, Derek St. Holmes, Mark Lettieri, George Lynch and Wes Jeans, as well as hundreds of exhibitors. May 5-7 at Dallas Market Hall. guitarshow.com.
Texas Frightmare Weekend
The cast of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things will headline this year's event, and other familiar faces will be on hand for this horror-themed convention. Expect seriously creepy screenings, panels, autograph sessions, makeup demos and more. May 5-7 at the Hyatt Regency DFW at DFW International Airport. texasfrightmareweekend.com.
Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Break out the kilt for a weekend featuring plenty of Scottish music; bagpipe bands; Highland dance and athletic competitions; an all-Scottish-breed dog show; tents representing clans and families; and Scottish foods (haggis!) and ales. May 5-7 at Maverick Stadium on the University of Texas at Arlington campus. texasscottishfestival.com.
Bugs and Brews
Dallas Cinco de Mayo
Cottonwood Art Festival
Browse works by about 240 artists during the spring installment of this fest, which is held twice a year. You can also checkout the ArtStop Children's Area and plenty of local music. May 6-7 at Cottonwood Park, Richardson. cottonwoodartfestival.com.
Frontier Fort Days
Texas frontier life is the inspiration for this celebration in Fort Worth's Stockyards National Historic District. Expect to see military history re-enactors taking part in parades; infantry, artillery and cavalry demos; and discussions of what frontier life was like. May 12-13. stockyardsstation.com.
Enjoy food from some of Addison's best restaurants while taking in live music in the park at Taste Addison. The festival includes pay-per-bite samples from local restaurants (most will be in the $3-$5 range), stages full of live music, cooking demonstrations and a children's activity area. May 19-21 at Addison Circle Park, Addison. tasteaddisontexas.com.
Main Street Fest
Texas and regional craft beers are the focus of this Grapevine festival that's subtitled "A Craft Brew Experience." Learn how to taste beers or put your existing skills to use at tasting events, keg tappings and more. The festival will also have live music, a midway and carnival area and, of course, wine, for which Grapevine is known. May 19-21 along North Main Street in downtown Grapevine. grapevinetexasusa.com.
Taste of Irving
More than 20 restaurants will sell samples of their dishes for $5 or less at this family festival at Cimarron Park. Vendors will include chain restaurants and ethnic spots. There will also be cooking demos by local chefs, live music (the Obscure Dignitaries, Bollywood Productions and Havana NRG), a Fun Zone for kids and shopping in the craft marketplace. May 20 in Irving. irvingevents.org.
Dragon Boat, Kite and Lantern Festival
Check out dragon-boat races, kite flying, a lantern display and children's activities at the 10th anniversary of this event. May 21 at Lake Carolyn in the Las Colinas Urban Center in Irving. dfwdragonboatfestival.com.
Art on the Greene
Dallas Margarita Meltdown
Taste more than 40 margaritas competing to be named the best in town. Bartenders from Savor, Pie 3.14 Everyday Eatery, Asador, Whiskey Cake and Iron Cactus have been awarded the prize in previous years. This year, ticketholders can sample local restaurants' entries, then vote for their favorites. The outdoor fest also includes music by DJ Regs and vendor booths. May 28 in Dallas' West End. dallasmargaritameltdown.com.
Compiled by Sara Frederick Burgos, Aaron Colen, Nanette Light, Shannon Sutlief and Ann Pinson