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Summer Guide To Fair Park

May 28, 2011 6:00 AM

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Fair Park Hall of State

Fair Park Hall of State

Yeah there’s a huge party every fall for the State Fair of Texas, but did you know Fair Park is open year-round for all sorts of family events? While the midway may not be open, that doesn’t mean your family can’t have a ball at Fair Park’s many permanent attractions and summer festivals.

History, adventure and culture await your family all year ‘round. Visitors can enjoy concerts, museums and other attractions in a family-friendly environment. In addition to regular attractions, Fair Park hosts a variety of special events, like the 2011 CityArts Festival (Memorial Day Weekend); concerts by well-known jazz, rock and country musicians; and one of the area’s biggest fireworks shows.

First up is the Memorial Day weekend CityArts Festival. It’s a self described 3 days of food, art and fun:

Showcasing spectacular cultural, performing, visual and culinary arts, CityArts Festival presented by Big City Crushed Concrete will fill historic Fair Park with three days of art-loving, museum-visiting, chef-cooking, craft-making, film-watching, music-playing, fireworks-flying, water-dancing, full-blown family fun.

Free and open to the public, ArtFest and CityArts open at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 27 and continues through May 29.

Or if you can’t make it out Memorial Day Weekend, why not check out Fair Park Fourth.

Free and open to the public, the Fair Park Fourth will feature a state-of-the art fireworks program.

The event will provide fun for the entire family and will include free admission to Fair Park’s eight museums including the African American Museum, Dallas Aquarium, Hall of State, The Women’s Museum, Museum of Nature and Science, Texas Museum of Automotive History, Texas Discovery Gardens and the Museum of the American Railroad.

In addition, two new “Dancing water” shows choreographed to music will debut during the event and run throughout the day. There will be musical entertainment, games and plenty of Fourth of July food favorites.

Here’s what’s planned:

    • Free admission to all museums at Fair Park from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    • “Dancing water” shows at the Esplanade Fountain throughout the day
    • Concert by the Dallas Wind Symphony at 8:30 p.m.
    • National class fireworks show by Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
    • Fireworks program synchronized to choreographed music with live Broadcast on 98.7 KLUV
    • Exhibitors and kids activities

Did you know that Fair Park is home to the largest collection of ‘30s Art Deco architecture in the country? Many of the buildings created for the 1936 Texas Centennial Celebration are still in place, including the Hall of State – see if you can find your county’s name etched into the top of the building.

Or take a stroll through Texas Discovery Gardens, the first garden in the state of Texas to be certified 100 percent organic by the Texas Organic Research Center, to see indigenous flora and fauna in ten themed areas including the butterfly habitat, native wildlife pond, scent garden, shade garden and heirloom garden. Their are workshops and guided tours during which experts explain how to use both native and adapted plants to create backyard habitats that attract butterflies and other wildlife.

As mentioned above, in addition to the beautiful gardens Fair Park also houses eight educational museums.  Other than for special events, each museum charges admission during most times of the year, but you can buy a pass that will give you access to all of these (and the gardens) for only $15.35 per child and $26.85 per adult (40 percent off retail). [Note that the passport doesn’t give you access to the IMAX or planetarium]

Fair Park also boasts four different entertainment venues where you can see anything from a performance of “Guys & Dolls” to performances by Selena Gomez and Def Leppard. See world-renowned musicals at the Music Hall at Fair Park and major musical artists at the Gexa Energy Pavilion. See performances by the Nouveau 47 theater troupe at the Magnolia Lounge, or catch a special outdoor show at the Fair Park Band Shell (immortalized in the movie “State Fair” in 1960).

Getting to Fair Park
There’s so much to do at Fair Park, we recommend being prepared before you go. The best way to plan your day at Fair Park is to stop by the website at www.fairpark.com. Here, you can review the park’s many attractions to plan your day. You can also find links that give you more information on some of the many photo opportunities you won’t want to miss, find out what the park’s rules are (for instance, during most times of the year, you can bring your own food and drinks as long as they aren’t alcoholic and you don’t mind having the cooler searched). If you’re interested in a specific event, you can find dates and buy tickets online, as well.

Bordered by I-45 to the east and I-30 to the North, getting to Fair Park by car is surprisingly easy given the fact it’s just past downtown Dallas.  Parking inside the fairgrounds is recommended, as the city has had problems with neighborhood parking lots.  If you don’t wish to drive, you can always take DART’s Green Line, which has two convenient station stops right outside Fair Park’s gates.

So enjoy your summer, and have a great time at Fair Park.

Information for this article provided by fairpark.org and cityartsfestival.com

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