February's showers may bring March flowers, as opposed to the proverbial pairing meant to happen in April and May. Now that the rush of rainfall that hit late last month seems to be drying up, we can turn our thoughts to the new season, and you know what that means: It's spring festival time! Whether you want to discover nature, celebrate your community with an old-fashioned town square party, or recognize your Irish (or Latino or Asian or Hindu) culture, there is a spring festival in D-FW for you. For a more complete list of happenings, go to GuideLive.com/things-to-do.
This week's highlights
This convention is like the Baskins-Robbins of fandom: It has all the flavors. There's Star Wars, Star Trek, video games, board games, steampunk, Harry Potter, Wrestlemania, Beetlejuice, Doctor Who, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, burlesque, drag, arts and crafts, trivia, karaoke, casino games, Match Game and even more. This year's guests will include Battlestar Galactica actress Anne Lockhart, Star Wars actor-puppeter Derek Arnold, voice actor D.C. Douglas, and Land of the Lost's Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman and Phillip Paley.
March 15-18 starting at 9 a.m. daily at InterContinental Dallas, 5201 Dallas Parkway, Addison. $30 in advance, $34.95 at the door. Tickets for children 5-12 are $15 in advance, $19.95 at the door.
Mansfield's unique holiday celebration is kind of a big dill. The Pickle Parade and Palooza is a two-day party in downtown featuring live music, family fun and appearances by pickle queens. Really. The festivities kick off March 16 at 7 p.m. with keg races and a country concert. Then on March 17, the palooza is in full force, featuring a baby parade at 10 a.m., a pet parade at noon and the pickle parade at 1 p.m., followed by pickle-eating contests and more live music. The best part? All the attractions are free to attend.
March 16-17 in downtown Mansfield. Free.
GRAFFITI AND STREET ART FESTIVAL Box Office Warehouse Suites — the Fort Worth business complex comprising more than 100 recycled shipping containers — will host a daylong showcase of art and entertainment. As part of the "Art on a Can" contest, five artists were chosen to paint a 7.5-by-20-foot mural on one of the facility's shipping containers. During the festival, all five finalists' work will be on display, and the winner will be announced. Guests can enjoy live music from multiple bands, food trucks and an outdoor market featuring local vendors and craftsmen. Dog owners can enter their pups in the St. Patrick's Day costume contest, or look for a new four-legged friend at the SPCA's on-site adoption center.
March 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Box Office Warehouse Suites, 1953 Golden Heights Road, Fort Worth. $5, free for kids 12 and younger. All proceeds benefit the SPCA of Texas.
FREE | DALLAS ST. PATRICK'S PARADE AND FESTIVAL The most important thing to remember about Big D's famous St. Patrick's Parade and Festival is that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Now in its 39th year, the event starts at 11 a.m. with a parade that travels south on Greenville Avenue from Blackwell Street to SMU Boulevard. But if you want a good spot from which to take in the action — namely, the throwing of beads, tortillas, marshmallows and Jell-O shots — you'll want to get there several hours early. Find a spot along the 2-mile parade route and watch marching bands, dancers and bagpipers; catch beads thrown from one of the more than 90 passing floats; and party with thousands of green-clad revelers. There parade is free, but some paid bleacher seating is available, and there's an after-party with a cover charge.
March 17 at 11 a.m. on Greenville from Blackwell Street to SMU Boulevard.
FREE | DALLAS HOLIFEST Radha Krishna Temple celebrates the festival of colors with Dallas HoliFest -- a day of dancing, DJ tunes, cultural performances, food and bazaar shopping. Eventgoers can get in the spirit of the holiday by throwing colorful powder at one another, one of the main customs practiced in the traditional Hindu celebration of Holi. Organic colored powder will be available for purchase; no outside powder allowed.
March 17 from noon to 5 p.m. at Fair Park, 1121 First Ave., Dallas. Entrance and parking at Gate 5. Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $3 per person.
FREE | COWTOWN GOES GREEN If you're looking for a family-friendly holiday celebration, consider going to Fort Worth for the free Cowtown Goes Green festival. On March 17, the historic stockyards will host live music, armadillo races, Irish dancing, a petting zoo, face painting and staged gunfights for kids to enjoy. At 4 p.m., the cattle drive comes through the area followed by a special Western-Irish-themed parade to cap off the day.
March 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Stockyards Station, 130 E. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth. Free.
SANTA FE DAYS IN THE PARK Become immersed in American Indian culture at this two-day festival featuring performances by a variety of Plains Indian Nations, a youth parade, a tepee design contest, food and a family-fun tent.
March 17-18 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Sandy Lake Amusement Park, 1800 Sandy Lake Road, Carrollton. $2 (cash only).
FREE | GENERAL GRANBURY'S BIRTHDAY BASH Salute Gen. Hiram B. Granbury (1831-1864), the man the city was named for, at this 40th annual festival that includes a parade, the Texas-style Bean and BBQ Cook-off, bean eatin' and bean spittin' contests, an Outhouse Race, live music by the Tejas Brothers, shopping and children's activities. Don't miss the free birthday cake and ice cream. March 17-18 at Granbury Square Plaza, Granbury. granburysquare.com.
DALLAS JAZZ AGE SUNDAY SOCIAL Dallas Heritage Village's annual Roaring Twenties block party is the cat's meow. Matt Tolentino's Singapore Slingers and Dave Washburn's Three Quarters Fast Jazz Band will perform hit songs from the era. Don't know how to Charleston? Elaine Hewlett from the Rhythm Room will teach dance steps, so everyone can shake a leg. And don't forget to arrive dressed in flapper finery to pose with antique cars, visit the photo booth or compete in the best-dressed contest. Blankets and picnic baskets are welcome, but there will be some food to purchase, as well.
March 18 from noon to 5 p.m. at Dallas Heritage Village, 1515 S. Harwood St., Dallas. $12, free for children 12 and younger.
The Dallas Arboretum's spring festival features more than 500,000 blooms including tulips and daffodils, plus an international vibe. There'll be music, dancing, vendors and other cultural activities each weekend at the International Festival, and each week will focus on a different region; this week it's the Mediterranean.
Through April 8 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 2 and younger. $15 parking, $9 if purchased online. On most Wednesdays, admission is buy-one, get-one-free at the gate. dallasarboretum.org.
Also in March
FREE | ARTS IN THE SQUARE This ninth annual juried fine arts and crafts festival showcases paintings, graphics, pottery, textiles, glass, jewelry, photography and more by 120 artists. There'll also be interactive art activities and performances by Frisco ISD students. March 24-25 at Frisco Square. friscosquare.com/aits.
FREE | EASTER IN THE PARK Head to Oak Lawn Park, formerly known as Lee Park, to relax on the lawn and enjoy a picnic (take your own or create one from the on-site food trucks) before checking out the annual holiday pooch parade. April 1 at Oak Lawn Park, Dallas. facebook.com/OakLawnParkDallas.
FREE | DEEP ELLUM ARTS FESTIVAL Stroll six blocks of Main Street to take in the sights and sounds of this 24th annual eclectic street fest. Works by more than 200 artists, performances by 100 original bands and singer-songwriters and a pet parade are the chief reasons to attend this event. There'll be plenty of food and vendors on hand, too. April 6-8 in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas. deepellumartsfestival.com.
FREE | DALLAS FESTIVAL OF IDEAS Shape the future of Dallas through powerful ideas to unite and energize the city at the fourth annual event presented by the Dallas Institute, The Dallas Morning News and CrowdSource a subsidiary of A.H. Belo Corporation, which owns The News. It's being held concurrently with the Dallas Book Festival. April 7 at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, Dallas. thedallasfestival.com, dallasbookfestival.org.
SCARBOROUGH RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL Join in the mirth and merriment of the days of King Henry VIII at this festival that runs for eight weekends, with colorful characters such as knights, villagers, fire jugglers, jousters, sword fighters and turtle racers there for you to meet. You can also eat a giant turkey leg, buy a longbow or some jewelry at the shops, watch a village artisan at work or stop in the Elkhorn Tavern or Dirty Duck Pub. April 7-May 28 at Scarborough Renaissance Festival Grounds, Waxahachie. srfestival.com.
FREE | ARTS IN BLOOM Fine artists, dancers, performance artists, musicians, Texas wineries and food vendors come together for this three-day art and wine festival that also features plenty for kids to do. April 13-15 in historic downtown McKinney. downtownmckinney.com.
FREE | OAK CLIFF EARTH DAY At this Earth-friendly festival, you can get creative in the Green Man and Mother Nature costume contests or take your pooch for a stroll in the Mutt Strut dog pageant. Also on the agenda: community performers, environmental speakers, games for kids, artisan booths, and festival foods and treats. April 15 at Lake Cliff Park, Dallas. oakcliffearthday.com.
EARTHX EXPO The festival formerly known as Earth Day Texas features a wide range of Earth-friendly activities including interactive scavenger hunts, an Outdoor Adventure Zone including scuba diving and tree climbing, Goat Yoga, a Tiny Homes showcase, education competitions, a Green Auto Show and more. April 20-22 at Fair Park, Dallas. earthx.org.
FREE | ENNIS BLUEBONNET TRAILS FESTIVAL Photo ops abound along 40 miles of beautiful wildflowers on a route that is officially open April 1-30. The three-day festival celebrates the state flower of Texas and includes arts and crafts, food, a street dance, live music, a wine stroll, kids' activities, and plenty of bluebonnet-themed souvenirs. April 20-22 in downtown Ennis. bluebonnettrail.org.
FREE | GRAND PRAIRIE MAIN STREET FEST Expect three nights of live music from headliners Wade Bowen, Josh Turner and La Mafia; novelty shows; carnival rides; arts and craft vendors; a business expo; food and beer gardens; a kids' zone; and more. Admission is free, but some activities carry a fee. April 20-22 on Main Street in Grand Prairie. mainstreetfest.com.
FREE | ART IN THE SQUARE The open-air juried art show features works from more than 150 artists; live entertainment on two stages; food and drink vendors; and fun activities for children, tweens and teens. Admission is free. but tickets are required to purchase food and drinks and for some activities. April 27-29 at Southlake Town Square. artinthesquare.com.
FREE | ARBOR DAZE Go crazy over trees at this annual festival that includes a free tree giveaway and forestry village alongside plenty of family fun with a kids' zone, inflatables, food vendors more. Community groups and tribute bands provide live entertainment throughout the day. April 28 at Euless Family Life Center, Euless. arbordaze.org.
FREE | LATINO STREET FEST Celebrate Latino culture at this family-friendly street fair that features live music, artists, food vendors, games and more. Contests will be held for singing and dancing, children's poetry, avocado recipes and youth mariachi bands. April 29 in the Dallas Arts District. avance-dallas.org/latino-street-fest.html.
MAYFEST This family-friendly fest brings four days (and nights) of fun to the bank of the Trinity River. Enjoy live music, performing arts, festival foods, carnival rides, free kids' activities, an art and gift market and plenty of people-watching. May 3-6 at Trinity Park, Fort Worth. mayfest.org.
FREE | DALLAS CINCO DE MAYO Commemorate the Battle of Puebla with this parade, festival and car show. May 7 on Jefferson Boulevard in Dallas. oakcliffarts.org.
FREE | PLANO ASIAFEST The 15th anniversary event promises to be a day of Asian dance, music and food that includes lion dances, a fashion show, martial arts demonstrations, a tea ceremony and vendor booths. May 5 at Haggard Park, Plano. asianamericanheritage.org/asiafest.asp.
FREE | COTTONWOOD ART FESTIVAL Browse museum-quality works by more than 240 artists during the spring installment of this juried show, which is held twice a year. You can also check out the ArtStop Children's Area and plenty of local music and food. May 5-6 at Cottonwood Park, Richardson. cottonwoodartfestival.com.
TEXAS SCOTTISH FESTIVAL AND HIGHLAND GAMES Break out the kilt for a weekend featuring plenty of Scottish music, Highland dance and athletic competitions, a Scottish-breed dog show, tents representing clans and families and Scottish foods and quaffs (including a scotch tasting and seminar) -- all in a new location. May 11-13 at Wise County Fairgrounds in Decatur. texasscots.com.
FREE | DFW DRAGON BOAT, KITE AND LANTERN FESTIVAL Check out dragon-boat races, kite-flying, a lantern display, children's activities and more. May 20 at Lake Carolyn, Irving. dfwdragonboatfestival.com.
Shannon Sutlief, Tiney Ricciardi and Kiley Faulkner contributed to this story.