Itâ€™s hard to believe itâ€™s been 27 years since musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds started showing up on TV and radio with songs to discourage littering as part of the Donâ€™t mess with Texas campaign.
The campaign was a big success and grew into a household slogan in Texas, and even beyond. But at the same time, the stateâ€™s population has grown (at a pace of 1,000 people per day currently), and a younger generation of Texans doesnâ€™t necessarily relate the slogan with its anti-littering message.
Sometimes, part of the fun of taking a vacation is the planningâ€”researching itineraries, hotels, restaurants; making plans for special activities; even reconnecting with friends in a different environment. On the flip side, then there are the pleasures associated with last-minute travelâ€”the fun and freedom of spontaneity, the relaxation of expectations, and the refreshing sense that all is right with the world when something serendipitous unfolds.
We may be hard at work finishing up the summer edition of the Texas Highways Events Calendar, but our eyes are always on what's coming up next weekend. Now that spring is officially here, there are great annual events popping up all over the state, plus plenty of Easter activities happening this weekend.
The Dallas Film Society is busy preparing for this yearâ€™s Dallas International Film Festival, which kicks off next week.
The event runs April 4-14 and features 175 films at venues across the city. I had a chance to interview Lee Papert, festival executive director, by email recently, and hereâ€™s what he had to say about the event.
In Houston this Saturday, March 23, from 11-2, the always zany and creative Orange Show Foundation hosts its annual Easter Orange Hunt, when kids of all ages can tour the Orange Show siteâ€”a veritable playground of whirligigs, moats, and brightly tiled and painted structuresâ€”and collect eggs, candy, and (of course) oranges. Also on March 23, the Orange Show will also host its first annual PEEPS Art Contest. Using Peeps marshmallow treats, contestants will make sculptures, costumes, and other works of art, following the lead of similar contests in Washington, D.C., Denver, and Westminster, Maryland. If youâ€™d like to submit an entry, bring it to the Orange Show for judging by noon on Saturday. Winners will receive Peeps prizes, gift cards, and recognition on the Orange Show website, www.orangeshow.org.
a Peeps creation from the Westminster competition
The Vernal Equinox and the first official day of spring—March 20—is so close we can taste it. Well, FEEL it (in the sun's warm rays on our skin), SEE it (in the leaves budding out on even the pecans, which somehow know when the chance of frost has passed), and SMELL it (in the fragrance of all those flowers). It's tough to be inside in weather this glorious. So get on out there. We just received word that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's "Texas Outdoor Family" program, which kicked off a few years ago to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors, has expanded this year to include themed weekends organized around such topics as learning to mountain bike. On March 23-24, at Stephen F. Austin State Park, groups of up to six participants ($65 for all!) can learn basic camping skills (such as how to pitch a tent, build a campfire, and go geocaching) along with mountain biking safety, etiquette, and rules of the (off)road. Amazingly, most equipmentâ€”including tents, handheld GPS untis, cookware, lanterns, and bikesâ€”are provided. You're on your own for food, clothing, and sleeping bag. Sign up for this program or others by calling 512/389-8903; www.tpwd.state.txus/calendar/texas-outdoor-family-stephen-f.-austin-state-park-houston-1.
Photo courtesy of Best Maid
What goes great with a green shirt and green beer on St. Patrick's Day? If you're in Mansfield, the answer is simple—pickles.
Here's another example of the enduring appeal of "retro." There's a new drive-in movie theater scheduled to open adjacent to downtown Fort Worth this spring.
The Coyote Drive-In is building a 20-acre complex in the Trinity Uptown neighborhood, across the river from downtown. Two of the three screens will be six stories tall (that's relatively big), and the complex will accommodate up to 1,300 cars. Audio will be broadcast on an FM radio signal.
Growing up in Texas and learning about how this state became a nation for a time, I always wondered why people didn't make a bigger deal out of Texas Independence Day. It seems like a great time to celebrate whatâ€™s great about Texas, doesn't it?
This year is an excellent chance to do just that, since the March 2 anniversary of the adoption of a declaration of independence falls on Saturday. Celebrations in Granbury, GrueneÂ and Washington-on-the-BrazosÂ offer a fun way to mark this historic occasion and show your Texas pride.
In an era of social media crushes and online dating, preservation groups are seizing on the romantic month of February to spread the love for a completely different kind of treasure: historic county courthouses.