By Becca Shinn
Plano International Festival
For the tenth year in a row, the Plano International Festival has returned for a day of food, performances, displays and activities from across the globe. Centering on a theme of environmental friendliness, the free event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 18 in Haggard Park, where visitors will have access not only to entertainment, but also to a wellness health fair.
According to the Plano International Festival’s press release from earlier this year, “The festival will continue focusing on its core mission of building bridges across cultures.” It goes on to mention that the event “has sworn in over 600 new citizens in the area’s only outdoor naturalization ceremony.” Given that the festival features art, musical instruments and artifacts from all over the world, this comes as no surprise.
Continuing with the festival’s theme of cultural unity, dance groups, including African and Aztec performers, will be coming together to showcase their talents on a common stage throughout the day.
Cultural booths encourage education about other cultures, complete with a festival passport that can be stamped by booths from various countries. The festival also features a food court with dishes from Indian, Thai, Polish, Mexican, Brazilian, Turkish, Caribbean, Puerto Rican, Mediterranean and American cultures. Biodegradable bowls, plates, and utensils will be provided at the event, as well as organic waste bins for trash disposal.
The festival will conveniently be held near the Downtown Plano DART Station, which is the second to last stop on the red line. The free event will last from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Haggard Park, making it the perfect way for a University of Dallas student to spend a Saturday.
Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival and Chili Cook-off
The fifth anniversary of the Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival will be held in the Farmers Branch Texas Historical Park, beginning on Friday, Oct. 17 from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and continuing on Saturday, Oct. 18 from noon to 10 p.m. Between talented bluegrass artists, raffle drawings and free chili, the event holds extraordinary promise.
“We select our lineup from the top touring bluegrass bands in the United States,” said president of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Alan Tompkins. “I haven’t researched this point, but I’d say that if you take all the artists we’ve presented over the past five years, they collectively hold over 100 IBMA [International Bluegrass Music Awards] awards and nominations.”
Bands such as Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Seldom Scene, Gibson Brothers, Joe Mullins & Radio Ramblers, Kenny and Amanda Smith Band, Balsam Range, Rambling Rooks, Flatt Lonesome and The Herrins will be performing throughout the weekend.
According to the festival’s website, “The mission of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is to preserve and promote the heritage of bluegrass music in America, with a focus on promoting bluegrass music in Texas.” With free parking as well as free admission, this mission seems very achievable. In addition to the promising music lineup, there will also be a chili cook-off.
“The chili cook off is sanctioned by CASI [Chili Appreciation Society International], the big chili competition organization,” Tompkins said.
Even the food is completely free, as the City of Farmers Branch Texas is paying for the whole festival. Through educational programs and workshops, public performances of bluegrass music, historic preservation efforts and other similar programs, the Bluegrass Festival will be a fun weekend of food, jamming and chili.
On Saturday, Oct. 25, Canal Fest will be returning to Irving from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. for a second year of food, music, culture and fun along the Mandalay Canal. Last year, over 8000 people attended the festival, setting this year up for a promising turnout.
Canal Fest was not able to be reached for comment, but according to their website, the festival will include “a local art exhibit, cultural dance displays, family-friendly activities and attractions, live music, a variety of food and beverage options, and much more.” Beginning with artists Emerald City Band, All Funk Radio Show and Professor D, the event will also feature a variety of dancers that will perform throughout the day. These include Ballet Folklorico Azteca de Fort Worth, Desert Diamonds Belly Dance, Cuicani In Xochitl Aztec Dance, Bandan Koro African Drum & Dance, Chin Woo Kung Fu & Lion Dance, and Grace Hula & Fire Dance. Finally, there will be an art gallery showcasing the work of Dallas-area photographers and artists, as well as the opportunity to meet and speak with several of the presenters.
This free festival is located at the Las Colinas Urban Center, which is accessible by DART on the orange line. University of Dallas students can expect a very short commute, as the Urban Center station is just one stop away.