Check out these picks for the best events of the holiday weekend in D-FW.
Thai Culture and Food Festival
Taste Thailand's four regional cuisines at this sixth annual festival with international flair, presented by the Thai Community Center of North Texas. You'll find traditional dishes that are popular on most American Thai restaurant menus, such as pad Thai and spring rolls, as well as opportunities to branch out with rarities prepared by local chefs and cooks. Other culture-forward fun includes demonstrations of Muay Thai boxing and martial arts and traditional music, dance and theater. Take a tour of the temple (docent-led or self-guided) and shop at the "Made in Thailand" pop-up bazaar, which features items made in Thailand or by Thai artisans, artists and fashion designers.
May 25-26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Buddhist Center of Dallas, 8484 Stults Road, Dallas. Free admission and parking. thaifestdallas.com.
Don't overthink it. Craft beer, smoked meat, outdoor games and a concert by Zane Williams make for a heckin' good time — especially considering that doggos and kiddos can go, too. It all started back in the day before Deep Ellum Brewing Co. was a stalwart of the D-FW beer movement. It began as an informal parking lot party unveiling the brewers' first batches to the neighboring community, but now it has become an annual celebration showcasing just how far the once-little brewery has come. Tickets for adults 21 and up include a barbecue plate by Triple G Group and three coupons for tasting unreleased, specialty, seasonal and year-round beers. There will also be food for purchase for nondrinkers and children, plus all-ages activities.
May 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. at Deep Ellum Brewing Co., 2823 St. Louis St., Dallas. $35, $15 for entry only (no food and beer), free admission for children 12 and under (child's plate sold separately). facebook.com/deepellumbrewing.
McKinney International Festival
Go global in McKinney. The city's motto is "Unique by Nature," and this inaugural fest aims to live up to the title with a singularly spectacular combination of multicultural arts, music and dance performances, plus ethnic cuisine and souvenirs for sale from food trucks and artisans. The day kicks off with a parade of nations before a jampacked schedule featuring artistic styles from around the world. See breathtaking art in motion from groups including Eyakkam Dance Company (Indian classical dance), Bolly Rhythms Dance Academy, Jagoda Dance Ensemble (Polish folk dance), STV Almrausch (German folk dance), Moussa Diabate (a drummer and dancer from Guinea), Tari Tabla School of Music (Hindustani percussion), Flamenco DNA (Spanish dance) and Dallas Capoeira (music and martial arts from Brazil) — plus a Chinese yoyo performance.
May 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Finch Park, 301 W. Standifer St., McKinney. Free admission. mckinneyinternationalfestival.com.
Dallas Margarita Meltdown
The margarita — well, its frozen version, specifically — has historic roots in Dallas, so it stands to reason that more than 4,000 attendees would annually arrive in the heart of the city to taste sweet, salty and sour samples from more than 20 D-FW restaurants and bars. Tickets include a wristband that grants access to the variety of libations, plus a tasting card and opportunities to vote for favorite flavors from among the participating establishments. The winner of the best margarita competition will be announced at 8:45 p.m., and the bartender who creates the winning drink will get $1,000. Proceeds benefit Oak Cliff Furry Friends.
May 26 from 5 to 9 p.m. in and around the West End Historic District, 1701 N. Market St., Dallas. $40, $75 for a speed pass. dallasmargaritameltdown.com.
National Polka Festival
Czech culture, costumes, music and food are what put Ennis on the map for many North Texans who otherwise hadn't explored the small city in Ellis County. Each year, the town's population more than doubles when up to 50,000 attendees descend from D-FW and beyond for the polka fest, a 50-plus-year tradition spanning three days over Memorial Day weekend.
The fun begins on May 24 with a king and queen dance contest, at which many dancers will be clothed in kroje (folk costumes). On May 25-26, concerts will be performed in three halls by more than a dozen bands including Brave Combo, Czech and Then Some and the Moravians, plus alt-country artists Josh Ward and Kody West ($15-$18 on May 25) and Lone Star legend Gary P. Nunn on May 26. There will be a 5K race on May 25 ($15-$30), plus daily outdoor activities in downtown Ennis, such as street dances, a children's area with a rock-climbing wall and bounce house, a shopping area and Czech and fair foods. Other activities include a downtown parade, a kolache-eating contest and a polka mass.
May 24-26 at 119 N. Dallas St., Ennis. Free admission for downtown activities. General admission to the concert halls: $9 on May 24, $14 on May 25, $11 on May 26; free for children 12 and under. Josh Ward and Kody West concert on May 25: $15 in advance or $18 at the door. Registration for 5K race on May 25: $30 for ages 14 and up, $15 for children 7-13, free for children 6 and under accompanied by a paying adult. nationalpolkafestival.com.
The Sound at Cypress Waters Grand Opening with Pat Green
What will the Sound sound like? Well, on opening night, May 25, the new entertainment district in Coppell will pulse with pedal steel and fiddle when Texas country singer-songwriter Pat Green takes the stage. Bordering North Lake and boasting breathtaking aquatic views, the Sound features an outdoor stage right on the water. The venue is surrounded by cash bars, open-air green space and nearby popular restaurants such as Flying Saucer, Rodeo Goat, Eno's Pizza, Flying Fish, Landon Winery and Ascension Coffee. Boho Market will host a pop-up bazaar with more than 50 vendors. General admission is on a grass lawn. Blankets are allowed, but chairs and coolers are not.
May 25 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Sound at Cypress Waters, 3111 Olympus Blvd., Coppell. $25, $50 VIP. facebook.com/thesoundtx.
Memorial Day Music Fest
What can a city do in a 5.2-acre park? Whatever it can dream, mostly. That means this inaugural music fest in the green space built over a busy downtown freeway falls right in line with the deck park's established community and culture vibe. Performances across multiple stages will include rock, jazz, country, Latin and other types of popular music throughout the day and into the evening. Hear Jonathan Tyler, Fusión Latina, American Bedouin, Tatiana "LadyMay" Mayfield and more; shop vendors; play in the family game zone; have your face painted; and grab meals from a fleet of food trucks.
May 26 from 2 to 10 p.m. at Klyde Warren Park, 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas. Free. facebook.com/klydewarrenparkdallas.
Safari Nights at Dallas Zoo
Motown tribute band Memphis Soul is used to playing for stars and with legends. Singer Rick James has performed for three U.S. presidents, and the group has opened for Sister Sledge and Earth, Wind and Fire, according to the band's website. But this upcoming gig is literally under the stars, and Memphis Soul will be sharing the spotlight with more than 2,000 animal celebs. The band, which features Grammy-nominated instrumentalists, is on deck for May 25's Safari Nights, the zoo's summertime Saturday night concert series.
During the day, meet Instagram-famous elephant Ajabu and baby gorilla Mbani, then stick around for after-hours programming such as special keeper chats and a 20-minute interactive animal show called DinoSoar. The weekly concerts begin at 7 p.m. and are included in the price of regular admission. Take lawn chairs and blankets, as well as cash for food truck snacks and craft beer. Upcoming tribute acts and cover bands include Soul Sacrifice (Santana), Me and My Monkey (the Beatles), Petty Theft (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), Escape (Journey), Forever Mac (Fleetwood Mac) and the Coppertones (old-school soul).
Saturdays through July 6 at 7 p.m. at the Dallas Zoo, 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas. $17 for ages 12-64, $14 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older, free for children 2 and younger. dallaszoo.com.
Memorial Day commemorations
DSO Memorial Day Concert and Fireworks
Seeing the Dallas Symphony Orchestra outside of the Meyerson Symphony Center can be a surreal experience, but the Parks Concerts Series takes trumpets, violins, bassoons and drums to the wild — well, wild-ish — parks and recreational green spaces throughout the otherwise urban city for a more casual, but always dynamic, date with instrumental music. This Memorial Day concert kicks off the series with a rousing program of patriotic music that ends with a fireworks display. Ruth Reinhardt will conduct the program, which will also include Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin. Other dates throughout the summer include May 29, June 4, June 6 and June 11 with concerts at various locations in Dallas.
May 27 at 8:15 p.m. at Flag Pole Hill, 8100 Doran Circle, Dallas. Free. mydso.com.
Carry the Load Dallas Memorial March
This two-day event at Reverchon Park in Dallas invites participants to walk in commemoration of those who have died through military service. Gates open May 26 at noon, and the march starts at 4:30 p.m. and continues through the night. The event culminates May 27 at 12:30 p.m. with a closing ceremony. Additionally, there will be music, speeches and flag ceremonies. You can walk for 20 minutes or 20 hours, and it's free to participate. Donations will be accepted for Carry the Load's projects such as the continuum-of-care program that aids military members, veterans, first responders and their families. Camping is available at the park.
May 26 at noon through May 27 at 1:30 p.m. at Reverchon Park, 3505 Maple Ave., Dallas. Free; donations accepted. carrytheload.org.
Memorial Day Celebration and Touch-a-Truck
Meet at Veterans Park in Rowlett for a memorial service from 10 to 11 a.m. honoring American military members whose lives were lost in service to our county. After paying homage to fallen soldiers, children can learn about other hometown heroes during a Touch-a-Truck exhibition where they can climb on and explore a firetruck, an ambulance, an 18-wheeler, a school bus and other big machines lining the streets in downtown Rowlett. There will also be bounce houses, face painting, a bike rodeo and bicycle safety fair.
May 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 4000 Main St., Rowlett. Free. rowlett.com.
A Granbury Salute
Few things say America like apple pie and hot-dog-eating contests, but this patriotic party in Granbury also adds on a "patriot pooch" contest, live music and a BYOB dance on the plaza. With kids' play areas, vendors and a lighted boat parade on the lake on May 26, it would be easy to mistake this fest for a mere lighthearted summer kickoff party. But the real heart lies in remembrance. In keeping with the holiday weekend's solemn meaning, the festival also features a field of thousands of American flags waving just off U.S. Highway 377, vintage military vehicles on display and traditional Memorial Day programming on May 27, including a Remembrance Walk, guest speakers, inspirational music and an airplane flyover.
May 25 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., May 26 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., May 27 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Granbury Square Plaza, 205 E. Pearl St., Granbury. Free. granburysquare.com.
Memorial Day Party and National Moment of Remembrance
Say you're new to D-FW. You might not know there's a massive swimming pool shaped like Texas that lies nestled in a quiet neighborhood in the suburbs. Come to think of it, even longtime locals might find themselves surprised by that fun, if odd, fact. Regardless of whether the existence of the aptly named Texas Pool is news to you or if your family has been taking summertime dips in the national landmark since it opened to the public in 1961, perhaps you'll be interested to learn that the 168,000-gallon saltwater neighborhood pool, which is normally open to members only, will host a summer season kickoff party for the public. Fun includes a cannonball contest and other traditional pool games, plus food for purchase from 5-Ohh BBQ and the pool's snack bar. (Coolers with outside food and soft drinks are allowed, too.) In honor of Memorial Day, guests will observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m.
May 27 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Texas Pool, 901 Springbrook Drive, Plano. $5. texaspool.org.
Shannon Sutlief and Tiney Ricciardi contributed to this report.