Check out these picks for the best events of the weekend and beyond in D-FW.
DFW Dragon Boat, Kite and Lantern Festival
Dragon boating is relatively new to North Texas — when compared with China, where it originated and has thrived for more than 2,000 years. But if you haven't attended this local festival in the past decade, here's a primer: Teams of 20-24 crew members race across a 250-meter course in 40-foot-long crafts -- often with colorful dragon heads on the front. Spectators can cheer on their favorite paddlers; create a kite (another ancient Chinese art form) during one of three crafting sessions, then compete in a flying contest; play jianzi (hacky sack) and face off to see who can keep the shuttlecock in the air the longest; and enjoy other Chinese and Asian cultural activities. There will also be face painting, performing arts and lantern riddles.
May 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Lake Carolyn near the intersection of East Las Colinas and El Lago boulevards, Irving. Free admission; parking is $10. dfwdragonboatfestival.com.
Wildflower Arts and Music Festival
Like the lovely mix of blue, red, pink and yellow wildflowers along the side of a Texas highway, this 27th annual arts and music fest in Richardson is an eclectic attraction, combining a variety of national touring acts with rising local talent. Ratt, Neon Trees, Fitz and the Tantrums, Quiet Riot and Judah and the Lion are among 20-plus big-deal bands that will rock four main stages. Stroll through Performance Row to see acrobats, lion dancers, drumlines and clowns, and view — or perhaps even bid on — outstandingly beautiful instruments in the Art Guitar auction fundraiser. There will also be competitions for songwriters, bands and budding vocal talents, plus art for sale in an open-air marketplace, a children's area, beer and wine gardens, and food truck fare for purchase.
May 17 from 6 p.m. to midnight, May 18 from 11 a.m. to midnight, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Galatyn Park, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. $65 for a three-day pass, $30 for single-day admission on May 17-18, $15 for single-day pass on May 19, $5 for children 5-12, free for children 4 and younger. Free parking. wildflowerfestival.com.
Main Street Fest — A Craft Brew Experience
This Grapevine festival combines traditional fair fun, including carnival rides and a midway, with a beer fest featuring 34 breweries such as Deschutes Brewery, Oskar Blues Brewery, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. and Franconia Brewing Co. Craft beer will be for sale throughout the festival grounds, plus there will be a Craft Brew Garden offering eight 3-ounce tastings of limited-release beers for $15 in advance or $18 at the fest. The festival will include performances by Darryl Worley, Martin Fry and ABC, and the Spazmatics, as well as the KidZone children's section, a marketplace with artisans and other vendors, and food and drink.
May 17-18 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., May 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. along Main Street between Northwest Highway and Dallas Road, Grapevine. May 17: free admission until 5 p.m. May 17 after 5 p.m. and on May 18-19: $15 for weekend passes or $7 daily for adults, $5 for senior citizens 62 and older and children 6-12, free for children 5 and younger. Free parking with complimentary shuttle service. grapevinetexasusa.com.
Elm Street Tattoo and Music Festival
Ink Master judge Oliver Peck will bring more than 30 handpicked fellow tattoo artists to Deep Ellum for three days of body-art sessions at Trees. There will also be nightly concerts at Three Links and Club Dada. Among the featured bands are Lucero, which will play its entire first and second albums on back-to-back nights; Riverboat Gamblers; Vandoliers; John Moreland; Convoy and the Cattlemen; and more.
May 17-19 at Trees, 2709 Elm St., Dallas; Three Links, 2740 Elm St., Dallas; and Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., Dallas. Tattoo festival at Trees: $30 for a three-day pass or $20 for single-day admission. Music festival: $5-$25 per concert. elmstreettattoo.com.
Warbirds Over Addison
Honor veterans during this exhibition of vintage combat search and rescue (SAR) planes from the Vietnam War era. The Cavanaugh Flight Museum hosts the largest collection of flying historic and military aircraft in the Southwest, including World War II and Korean War-era machines. Attendees can view the collection up close and even sit in or book a flight on select aircraft. There will also be a Sherman tank demo.
May 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cavanaugh Flight Museum, 4572 Claire Chennault St., Addison. $12 for ages 13 and older, $6 for children 4-12, free for ages 3 and younger. cavflight.org.
Dallas Pet Expo
Three words to excite pet owners: free nail trims. It's true; some of the best aspects of this pet-friendly indoor festival are the practical ones such as discounts on vaccinations, microchipping and flea and heartworm preventative medications. But there will be plenty of fun, too, including talent and costume contests for pets, a musical-chairs competition and agility demonstrations. Expect lots of vendors, samples of treats and spa treatments, obedience demos, lectures and dozens of rescue groups with adoptable pets. Furry, feathered and scaly friends are welcome to attend, but be prepared for crowds of other two-leggers and four-leggers.
May 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas. $5 in advance, $6 at the door for general admission, $4-$5 for seniors and veterans, $3-$4 for children 5-17, free for children 4 and younger. Free admission for pets. Parking is free. dallaspetexpo.com.
Kids Obstacle Challenge
Rambunctious may be a coded way to pejoratively describe children on airplanes or at movie theaters, but in the great outdoors, boisterous behavior can be a great asset. Reward it in the appropriate environment at this event for both the wild child and his or her loving, if exhausted, family. Kids Obstacle Challenge features a 1.5- to 2-mile course with 13-15 exciting physical challenges such as rope swings over water pits and rock-climbing walls — all on a muddy motocross track. Participants start in 20-minute waves. The first is a competitive wave for ages 10-16 only. Each following family wave is for ages 5-16 and their guardians. Bonus: Up to two adults will be admitted free with each child's ticket in the family wave. Additional grown-ups can join for $10 each, making it a group outing for whole feisty families. Finishers receive not only bragging rights — and probably epic tan lines — but also finisher medals, free event photos and other swag.
May 18 with waves from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Village Creek Motocross Park, 4840 Shelby Road, Fort Worth. $59 in advance per child for competitive wave, $52-$60 per child for family waves (includes admission for two guardians), $10 for additional people ages 17 and up. kidsobstaclechallenge.com.
Addison After Dark: Patriotic Party
If summer just sounds "red, white and blue" to you, get an early jump on celebrating America during this weekend's Patriotic Party, the first iteration of the new recurring event Addison After Dark. Taking place on the third Saturday of each month through November, the series will feature different themes and family-friendly fun. In May, that means honoring our nation's heroes through a vintage military armor and car show and outdoor screening of Top Gun. The night begins with the firing of a 75mm gun from the Cavanaugh Flight Museum's Sherman M-50 tank, then guests can view the "Portraits of Patriotism" exhibit from the American Fallen Soldier Project, meet representatives from veterans' groups, listen to Jon Christopher Davis and the Lone Star Attitude Band, and enjoy food truck fare for purchase. A portion of beer and wine sales will benefit Adaptive Training Foundation.
May 18 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive, Addison. Free admission and parking. addisonafterdark.com.
Rockwall Founders Day Festival
Did you know that nearly 80% of Rockwall residents live within 1 mile of a city park? That fun fact has inspired the city's efforts to draw folks out into the great outdoors with fab events and mucho live music — for free. This year's Founders Day Festival lineup is sure to entice not only hometowners, but Texas music lovers from the farthest reaches of D-FW. Iconic singer-songwriters Ray Wylie Hubbard and Joe Ely will headline the good times, which also will feature a flyover with parachute jumpers and a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, a World War II transport plane; a KidZone with bounce houses, face painting and laser tag; and a Critter Zone with live bees, bobcats, raptors, possums and other local wild animals. Stay after Ely's 8 p.m. performance for a fireworks finale over Pickens Lake.
May 18 at 10 a.m. at Harry Myers Park, 815 E. Washington St., Rockwall. Free. playrockwall.com.
Festival de Mayo
Jam out to a stellar lineup featuring Latin Grammy winner Christian Nodal, locally based international superstars La Energia Norteña and popular norteño artists T3R Elemento and El Fantasma — for free — at this multicultural celebration at Fair Park. Dance, sing and meet on-air personalities from television station Univision and radio station Que Buena 94.1.
May 19 from noon to 8 p.m. at Fair Park Coliseum, 1438 Coliseum Drive, Dallas. Free admission, $10 for parking. fairpark.org.
Finisar Mobile Laser Lab Launch
Sci-Tech Discovery Center, a STEM museum in Frisco, has a new toy, and it's time for a little show-and-tell. The Finisar Mobile Laser Lab features three interactive traveling exhibits for students in grades 6-12 that will be used for public outreach at local schools and events. But on May 18, it will be parked at its home base, where visitors can get a first look and experiment with optics-themed demonstrations throughout the day as well as receive discounted admission — $2 off — to the museum's permanent exhibits.
May 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sci-Tech Discovery Center, 8004 Dallas Parkway, Frisco. $6.50 for ages 3-64; $5.50 for seniors 65 and up, military and teachers (ID required). Parking is free. mindstretchingfun.org.
White Rock East Garden Tour and Artisans
Peep into pretty nooks of East Dallas neighborhoods during this leisurely tour of nine gardens in Forest Hills, Little Forest Hills and Casa Linda Estates. The beauty includes "terraced landscaping, peaceful retreats, large organic gardens, water features, lavish outdoor entertaining venues, fun and funky art, and incredible landscaping, trees and flowers," organizers say. Get ideas for your own backyard oasis and even purchase artwork from local talents. A plant sale featuring flowers, bushes, trees, grasses and more will take place at Casa Linda Park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
May 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Casa Linda Park, 9302 Alta Mira Drive, Dallas, and nine surrounding neighborhood gardens. $12.50 in advance or $15 on tour day at the gardens. whiterockgardentour.org.
Tourney at Central: A 'Game of Thrones' Experience
Jon, Dany, Sansa ... Davos? Let whoever you wish to see sit upon the Iron Throne guide your garb for this stylish celebration of Game of Thrones' final season. Dress as your favorite character to compete in a costume contest and take photos on an actual throne and with house banners. Play trivia and other games, hear live music from Paradise Within and see thrilling sword fighting demos by the Victorian Fencing Society. The after-hours party will also include beer by Pegasus City Brewery and wine.
May 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young St., Dallas. Free admission and parking. facebook.com/dallaslibrary.
DFW South Asian Film Festival
See expressions of South Asian experience through coming-of-age features, hard-hitting documentaries, artistic shorts, LGBTQ voices and children's programming at this fifth annual film festival with a mission aimed at "exploring issues that affect South Asians living and working in America, as well as our brothers and sisters back home." The remainder of the schedule includes 19 titles by filmmakers from around the world, plus Q-and-A sessions and nightly after-parties.
Through May 19 at various locations in Dallas and Addison. Most film screenings are $15, $10 for children's programming (free for children under 10). dfwsaff.com.
Yearning for an old-fashioned, small-town carnival? Look no farther than this lively fest in Tarrant County. The fun will include midway rides and carnival games, live music from local bands — including legendary Elvis tribute artist Kraig Parker on May 19 — food trucks, beer and wine, shopping, pet adoptions and a classic car show on May 19.
May 17 from 6 to 11 p.m., May 18 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., May 19 from noon to 6 p.m. at Capp Smith Park, 5800 Robin Drive, Watauga. Free admission and parking. $25 for carnival wristbands and all-day access to rides. $1 for individual ride tickets. Prices vary for food, wine and beer. cowtx.org.