The fall season is upon us and for North Texans that means there’s a lot to look forward to beyond just football.
From food and wine festivals to pumpkin patches and holiday gift markets, there’s no shortage of things to see and do from now until Thanksgiving. To help you make the most of the season (as well as plan your weekends accordingly), we rounded up seven events worth checking out this fall.
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Raise a glass to the best wines that the Lone Star State has to offer at the 31st annual GrapeFest (Sept. 14-17) in Grapevine. The four-day festival, which is the largest of its kind in the Southwest, features a variety of activities for the entire family, including wine tastings, carnival rides, food vendors and live entertainment. $5-$8. www.grapevinetexasusa.com/grapefest.
If you can’t book a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest this year, North Texas offers a couple of alternatives for those wanting to celebrate the world’s largest Volksfest. They include:
Addison Oktoberfest (Sept. 14-17)
The city of Addison is marking the 30th anniversary of its annual Oktoberfest celebration with the first-ever Addison Oktoberfest parade. In addition to the parade, the four-day festival will also feature German entertainers, carnival rides, games and food and beverage vendors. $10 (children under 12 are free). http://addisonoktoberfest.com.
Oktoberfest Fort Worth (Sept. 21-23)
Fort Worth’s Oktoberfest is back once again at Panther Island Pavilion and this year they’ve added a midway with carnival rides, food vendors and games. The three-day German festival also will include the annual tapping of the kegs, barrel rolling races, a stein hoisting competition and the adorable dachshund dash. $5-$10 (children 12 and under are free). 817-698-0700, http://oktoberfestfw.com.
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Oktoberfest Southlake (Oct. 6-8)
Stop by Southlake Town Square for the city’s 16th annual Oktoberfest celebration, which includes vendors, live entertainment, contests, a family-fun zone and (most notably) dachshund races. Free. http://oktoberfestsouthlake.com.
Autumn at the Arboretum
Nothing says fall has arrived quite like the start of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s Autumn at the Arboretum (Sept. 23-Nov. 22). This year’s event is themed “The Wonderful World of Oz” and will feature stunning displays of 4,500 chrysanthemums, 150,000 fall-blooming plants and the internationally-acclaimed Pumpkin Village (made from more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash). $10-$15 (children 2 and under are free). 214-515-6615, www.dallasarboretum.org.
Hall’s Pumpkin Farm and Maze
It wouldn’t be fall without a trip to the popular Hall’s Pumpkin Farm and Maze in Grapevine (opening Sept. 29). The farm, which was founded in 1929, is one of the last working farms in North Texas and opens to the public each fall. While most visitors come for the pumpkins (and the photo ops), the farm also offers fun fall activities like hayrides and a 2-acre corn maze. Free (fee with activities). 817-991-1052, www.hallspumpkinfarm.net.
State Fair of Texas
By far the biggest (and tastiest) event on our fall events list is the State of Fair of Texas (Sept. 29-Oct. 22), a Texas-sized celebration of fried foods, carnival rides, exhibits and live entertainment. This year’s event kicks off with a major bang as Arlington native and Grammy Award winner Maren Morris stops by the Chevrolet Main Stage on opening day for a performance. The concert is free with fair admission. $12.50-$16.50. 214-565-9931, https://bigtex.com.
Christmas in Cowtown
Spare yourself unnecessary stress in December by getting an early start on your holiday shopping at Christmas in Cowtown (Oct. 12-17). The annual holiday gift market, which is presented by the Junior League of Fort Worth, is held at Will Rogers Memorial Center and features more than 150 vendors. Items for sale range from home decor and jewelry to gourmet food and clothing. $12. 682-235-1105, www.juniorleaguefw.org.
Dallas Fan Days
Fandoms will collide once again as over 20,000 North Texans descend upon the Irving Convention Center for the twice annual Dallas Fan Days (Oct. 20-22). The three-day pop culture extravaganza features multiple panels, meet-and-greets, cosplay contests, vendors and more. Special guests at this year’s event include Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom) of “Riverdale,” Kristian Nairn (Hodor) of “Game of Thrones,” Michael Cudlitz (Abraham Ford) of “The Walking Dead,” and Mara Wilson, star of “Matilda.” $20-$45. http://dallasfandays.com.