It's the most wonderful time of the year in North Texas. Really.
Yeah, we know that phrase is generally reserved for the holidays, but in D-FW, fall is the season of festivals, football, fine arts and entertainment, which makes it the perfect time to explore all our hometown has to offer. This list of 35 of our favorite festivals will get you started, but it's just that -- a start. We're updating this file regularly as fests happen and new ones are added to the lineup. (And you can check out the full list online here.)
Fort Worth Oktoberfest
The authentic German celebration has just the right amount of Texas thrown in to make it our own. Aside from the ceremonial Tapping of the Kegs, the fun includes dachshund races, German competitions, traditional German vendors, and -- new this year -- an Oktoberfest Midway. Sept. 21-23 at Panther Island Pavilion, Fort Worth. oktoberfestfw.com.
Greek Food Festival of Dallas
Opa! Become immersed in all things Greek at the 61st edition of this fest held by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Check out delicious food from recipes passed down through generations along with traditional folk dancing and music, a food shop, cooking demos, backgammon, children's activities and a marketplace with art and imports. Sept. 22-24 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Dallas. greekfestivalofdallas.com.
Covering 14 blocks in the historic downtown area, this 10-year-old McKinney fest offers German music, beer, brats, strudel and other festival foods and activities including Texas' Largest Chicken Dance. Wearing lederhosen and other traditional German costumes is encouraged. Sept. 22-24 in downtown McKinney. downtownmckinney.com.
Plano Balloon Festival
Large crowds flock to Oak Point Park to see colorful hot air balloons take to the sky at this three-day fest that also offers music, food, fireworks and activities for kids. Sept. 22-24 at the Amphitheater at Oak Point Park, Plano. planoballoonfest.org.
This tasty barbecue and music fest features an all-star lineup of Texas' best pit masters, chefs and music by Charley Crockett, the Vandoliers and chef Dean Fearing's Lost Coyote Band. Sept. 23 at Main Street Garden, Dallas. prekindle.com.
Autumn at the Arboretum
You might not associate fall with flowers, but the arboretum will quickly dispel that notion. The gardens are filled with a spectacular show of color as 4,500 chrysanthemums -- along with 150,000 other stunning, fall-blooming plants -- come to life. There's also a pumpkin village that offers more than 90,000 of the orange fruits. Sept. 23-Nov. 22 at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas. dallasarboretum.org.
Lewisville Western Days
Celebrate Texas culture and heritage with live music by headliners Turnpike Troubadours and Randy Rogers Band, plus the World Tamale Eating Championship, a mechanical bull, a working blacksmith and a cattle drive parade. Sept. 29-30 in Old Town Lewisville. lewisvillewesterndays.com.
State Fair of Texas
The three-week-plus-a-couple-of-days-long fair -- the highlight of the fall festival season for many Texans -- offers excellent exhibits, an action-packed midway, the most interesting fried food you'll find anywhere and a Texas-size "Howdy" from Big Tex. Sept. 29-Oct. 22 at Fair Park, Dallas. bigtex.com.
Murphy Maize Days
Cody Canada and the Departed headline this fest that includes fun for kids, vendors, punkin' chunkin' and more. An "a-maize-ing" fireworks finale will complete the night. Sept. 30 at Murphy Central Park, Murphy. murphymaizedays.com.
Otsukimi Moon Viewing Celebration
Gaze at the heavens at this celebration of the full autumn moon that offers a picnic under the stars, Japanese music and dance performances and traditional art forms including calligraphy, a tea ceremony, ikebana and haiku. Oct. 3 at Klyde Warren Park, Dallas. crowcollection.org.
More than 100,000 are expected at the city's 16th annual event celebrating German culture. Wiener dogs will race and march in a parade, bands will perform on two stages, and plenty of food and beer vendors will be on hand. Oct. 6-8 at Southlake Town Hall, Southlake. oktoberfestsouthlake.com.
Frisco Arts Walk
Enjoy singing fairy tale princesses, Nutcracker dancers, street performers, painters and sketch artists, along with carnival games and crafts at this second-year fest. New this year: You can perform on a Steinway grand piano on a red carpet. Oct. 7 at the Texas Sculpture Garden at Hall Office Park, Frisco. friscoarts.org/frisco-arts-walk.
What's better than tacos? That's easy: Unlimited tacos from more than 35 taco vendors. There'll be live music, as well as beer, wine and cocktails available for purchase. Oct. 7 at the Dallas Farmers Market, Dallas. tacolandiadallas.com.
Cottonwood Art Festival
Talk with more than 200 artists and artisans about their works at this semi-annual juried art show. The festival also includes live music, food trucks, a craft beer garden and a children's art area. Oct. 7-8 at Cottonwood Park, Richardson. cottonwoodartfestival.com.
Christmas in Cowtown Holiday Market
The Junior League of Fort Worth hosts more than 200 merchants selling home decor, jewelry, clothing, gourmet food, toys and more in this event that kicks off the holiday season (really early!). Oct. 12-15 at Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth. juniorleaguefw.org.
Bonnie and Clyde Days
Back in the day, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow hung out in the Pilot Point area, north of Denton, and part of the 1967 movie about the pair starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty was filmed there. This fest stages a re-enactment of the of the movie's bank robbery scene, as well as old-timey family fun. Oct. 14 at Pilot Point Town Square, Pilot Point. bonnieandclydedays.org.
Plano International Festival
Plano puts its diversity on display, with sights, sounds and tastes of cultures from around the world. The event features a naturalization ceremony, a parade of flags, an international art exhibit, multicultural music and dance performances, and an ethnic food court. Oct. 14 in Haggard Park, Plano. planointernationalfestival.org
Oak Cliff Lively Fest
This reggae and roots-inspired festival showcases multicultural arts and music with DJs, food, vendors, art, drum circles, a petting zoo and more. Oct. 15 at Kiest Park, Dallas. facebook.com/DFWLivelyFest.
Dallas Fan Days 2017
Celebrate comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming at one of the largest-of-its-kind events in North Texas. There'll be cosplay, celebrity comic guests, vendors, family-friendly activities and more. Oct. 20-22 at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, Irving. dallasfandays.com.
Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering and Western Swing Festival
Cowboy poetry, music, rodeo and competitions are just part of this celebration of Western heritage. Oct. 27-29 at the Fort Worth Stockyards, Fort Worth. redsteagallcowboygathering.com.
Japanese Garden Fall Festival
Martial arts and sword demonstrations are sure to thrill everyone at this festival, which also includes traditional Japanese dance, music, tea ceremonies and more. Oct. 28-29 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Fort Worth. fwbg.org.
The biggest Hindu Festival of Lights celebration in America features Bollywood stars, a community stage, kids' activities, traditional food, vendors, a laser show, fireworks and more. Nov. 4 at the Cotton Bowl, Dallas. dfwdiwalimela.com.
Festival at the Switchyard
The Toadies, Everclear and Emerald City Band will perform at this annual street fair. It's a full day of fun with entertainment, free rides and games, and free activities including bungee trampolines, a zip line and face painting. Nov. 4 in downtown Carrollton. facebook.com/CarrolltonFestival.
Staff writers Norma Cavazos, Shannon Sutlief and Ann Pinson contributed to this report.