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(Fireworks explode over Waterway Square at the Memorial Day Weekend Celebration in The Woodlands./Photo courtesy of The Woodlands CVB)

Memorial Day kicks off the unofficial start of summer with a full roster of hot events this weekend.

Just north of Houston, The Woodlands boasts two nights of dazzling fireworks displays in Waterway Square on Saturday and Sunday at their Memorial Day Weekend Celebration. Families can enjoy live music and other activities from 6-9 p.m. before the sky lights up.

Granbury officials say their big Memorial Day Celebration will go on as planned after a devastating tornado ripped through the edge of town last week. The Historic Granbury Square was untouched, and the city is welcoming visitors Saturday through Monday for live music, contests, arts and crafts, ceremonies and more. This year’s theme is “Balconies, Bands and Boats.”

And in Kerrville, it’s a great time to take in the local art and music scene while the Kerrville Folk Festival and several art shows cross paths. The Texas State Arts and Crafts Fair and the Texas Masters of Fine Art and Craft Show both stay only for Memorial Day weekend, but the music festival goes through June 9. If you go, be sure to make time for the Southwest Gourd Fine Art Show and other exhibits at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center.

Other events coming up this holiday weekend include:

Anthony: KLAQ Balloon Fiesta

Dallas: Dallas International Festival

El Paso: Neon Desert Music Festival

Ennis: National Polka Festival

Farmers Branch: Liberty Fest

Fort Worth: Crowne Plaza Invitational

Fredericksburg: Crawfish Festival

Rockport: Rockport Festival of Wines

San Antonio: Memorial Day Arts and Crafts Show

 

Houston to host 2017 Super Bowl

Written by | Published May 21, 2013

The Super Bowl is heading back to Houston—Super Bowl LI, to be exact.

A New View of Dallas

Written by | Published May 17, 2013

I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Dallas, where I visited several new attractions, including the Perot Museum of Art and Science, the brand-new George W. Bush Presidential Library, and the new Klyde Warren Park, a 5.2-acre downtown green space built—somehow…amazingly—over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets in the Arts District. I also enjoyed a sneak-peek tour of the observation deck of the 560-foot-tall Reunion Tower, which has been closed since 2007 and will reopen after a major renovation this fall. When the observation deck reopens, it’ll have high-powered telescopes, a 50-foot-long digital panel presenting Dallas history and geography, and a new bar and café. The view from up there is terrific, and it’s a great place to gain perspective on all the new things going on in Dallas.  I can’t wait to revisit in the fall.

Nearly two years after massive wildfires, the director of Possum Kingdom Chamber of Commerce says tourism has rebounded but drought continues to trouble the area.

For book-lovers drawn to the Texas Book Festival and its engaging congregation of authors each fall in Austin, it’s worth noting that the festival also partners with other events around the state to highlight books and authors.

Women take a closer look at a piece of pottery at the Rockwall Founders Day Festival, which features all-day live music, gourmet food trucks, children's activities and a street fair of vendors. This year's event is on May 18. (Photo courtesy of the City of Rockwall Parks and Recreation)

Food and Wine recap

Written by | Published May 7, 2013

Among the many things I learned at the second annual Austin FOOD & WINE Festival, which took place at Austin's Butler Park April 27-28, here are my favorite take-aways:

With the reopening of the Boquillas border crossing in Big Bend National Park, curious travelers have raised questions about the activities and safety associated with crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico.

A cook-off competitor fries up his best chicken-fried steaks in Lamesa.

The West Texas town of Lamesa, about 60 miles south of Lubbock,serves up its annual Chicken-Fried Steak Festival this weekend in celebration of the town’s claim as the birthplace of the Texas delicacy. According to local legend, short-order cook James Donald Perkins accidentally made the first dish of its kind in 1911 when he misinterpreted an order for chicken and fried steak at a small restaurant called Ethel's Home Cooking. Instead of making two separate items, he thought the customer wanted a steak battered and fried like a chicken—and what a delicious mistake it turned out to be.

 

Passport to Brazil!

Written by | Published April 24, 2013

Brazil—the fifth largest country in the world and the host country of 2014’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics­–has been making headlines this year, as media outlets as varied as Condé Nast Traveller, the International Business Times, and the New York Times rave about its wines, beaches, music, cultural diversity, and food. The country’s culinary offerings— a literal melting pot simmered from Portuguese, African, Italian, German, Arab, and Japanese influences—extend far beyond the grilled meats most people think of when they think of Brazilian food. Imagine savory pies made of chicken, sausage, cheese, herbs, olives, and eggs; chewy, fudgy candies known as Brigadeiros, the national dessert of Brazil; or Cocada de Forno, a buttery cake made with coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and rum.  I’ll add my personal favorite new obsession to the list: Goiabada com Queijio, a classic Brazilian pairing of mild, fresh cheese and jewel-like slices of guava paste.

The public gets its first chance this week to the see the newly restored Texas Governor's Mansion.

Some are shy on stage; others are natural performers. Some feature technical playing; others draw on their emotions. They're all budding accordion slingers aiming for the title in this year's Big Squeeze competition.

Eight of the state's best young accordionists are traveling to Austin this weekend for the semifinals of the Big Squeeze. The semifinalists, ranging in age from 11 to 18, will perform a free show at Lonestar Plaza of the Bullock Museum from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

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