Our long wait is over: The State Fair of Texas is upon us. For the next four weekends, it will be the biggest thing in town, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other worthy event options, including great concerts, a new exhibit at the Perot Museum and a tribute screening for a film icon.
Below are the best options for your precious free time Thursday through Sunday. Don't like what you see? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, September 25
The Piano Guys in concert
You couldn't find a more generic name than The Piano Guys, but it not only belies its two members' talents, it's also a misnomer. Only one member — Jon Schmidt — plays the piano, while the other — Steven Sharp Nelson — plays cello. Thanks to some extremely well-done videos doing not just classical music but pop and rock numbers as well, they have become very popular. They play at Winspear Opera House in advance of their latest album, Wonders, which comes out in October.
Theatre Three presents Hands on a Hard Body
Based on the documentary about a group of people in Longview, Texas, who were trying to win a new truck, this Tony-nominated musical uses the endurance contest as a jumping-off point for some hilarious songs. The production, playing at Theatre Three through October 19, is making its regional premiere after its run on Broadway in 2013.
Friday, September 26
2014 State Fair of Texas
From now through October 19, people from around Texas and surrounding states will flock to Fair Park to partake in the new fried food goodness, jump on some Midway rides, or catch a pig race or two — or anything else that catches their fancy. Opening weekend features Main Stage concerts by the Swon Brothers on Friday, Fantasia on Saturday and Lucy Hale on Sunday. Don't forget to get your discount tickets before heading out. Only a fool would actually pay full price.
2014 Index Fest
Just blocks away from Fair Park, Deep Ellum will be taken over by a completely different kind of festival. More than 90 indie bands both established and up-and-coming perform over three days on eight indoor and outdoor stages. Those bands include Local Natives, Ryan Bingham, Mutemath, Dawes, The Felice Brothers, A.Dd+ and more.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in concert with Steve Winwood
It's nearly impossible to remain relevant musically for as long as Tom Petty has, but as he and his band The Heartbreakers near their 40th anniversary, it's hard to see him stopping anytime soon. The man behind "American Girl," "The Waiting," "Free Fallin'," "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and more plays at American Airlines Center alongside another rock legend, Steve Winwood.
Saturday, September 27
Cavanaugh Flight Museum presents Fall Fly Days and Car Show 2014
History comes alive at Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison when it hosts the annual Fall Fly Days. Visitors can ride in vintage aircraft and other military vehicles, participate in a variety of games and activities, take in Sherman tank demonstrations, and take tours and photos of airplanes that are rarely on display. The event, which also includes two separate car shows, lasts through Sunday.
Perot Museum presents 2theXtreme: MathAlive!
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science has brought in traveling exhibits focused on dinosaurs and the bodies of modern animals, but its latest looks at the fun side of math. 2theXtreme: MathAlive! utilizes interactive exhibits themed around video games, sports, fashion, music and more to show how math is used in all walks of life. The exhibit is on display through January 4, 2015.
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents Sara Evans
Sara Evans has been one of the more popular country singers of the past 20 years, scoring No. 1 hits with "No Place that Far," "Born to Fly," "Suds in the Bucket" and "A Real Fine Place to Start." She teams up with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra to perform those hits and more at this special concert at Bass Performance Hall.
Sunday, September 28
The Dallas Mavericks Foundation presents Aloe Blacc and Mark Curry
We're only a couple of weeks away from the NBA preseason, and there's a decent chance you'll see a few members of the Dallas Mavericks at this event at Majestic Theatre, featuring stand-up comedy from Hangin' with Mr. Cooper star Mark Curry and music from soul/hip hop artist Aloe Blacc. Proceeds from the night benefit the Dallas Mavericks Foundation.
ATTPAC Sunset Screenings: Good Morning, Vietnam
The tragic death of Robin Williams hit many of us harder than expected, but at least we can take solace in the fact that he left a treasure trove of great material behind to entertain us. One of his greatest performances ever, as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam, is on display for free in this Sunset Screening at Annette Strauss Square.