The State Fair of Texas is in full swing, but there are many other great events going on in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This weekend, that includes concerts by big names in the pop, country, R&B/soul and hip hop genres; a visit by some reality TV dancers; and your first glimpse at the new-look Dallas Mavericks.
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, October 2
Cool Thursdays Concert Series: The Molly Ringwalds
With a cool down anticipated for Thursday night, there's no better time to go out to the Dallas Arboretum and enjoy one of the concerts by White Rock Lake. The band on tap this time around is The Molly Ringwalds, a group that not only pays tribute to classic '80s songs, but also other '80s pop culture touchstones.
Katy Perry in concert with Tegan and Sara
When Katy Perry last came to town back in 2011, she was near inescapable on the radio. Fast forward three years and nothing as changed, as hits like "Roar" and "Dark Horse" have made Perry into one of the biggest stars in the world. She plays not one but two shows — one Thursday and one Friday — at American Airlines Center alongside opening act Tegan and Sara.
Friday, October 3
Zac Brown Band in concert with Ryan Kinder
The Zac Brown Band has been big on the country/folk scene for the past six years, but they got an assist from a rock legend last year when Dave Grohl came on board for the EP The Grohl Sessions. Grohl probably won't be on hand at Gexa Energy Pavilion for this concert, but Zac Brown and his bandmates are joined by up-and-comer Ryan Kinder.
Natalie Cole in concert
It can be rough being the offspring of a legend. Even though Natalie Cole has been a force in the soul/R&B genre for decades, it wasn't until she made Unforgettable...with Love "with" her father, Nat King Cole, that she truly got the credit that she deserved. Cole treats the audience at Winspear Opera House to songs from throughout her varied career, including 2013's Natalie Cole en Español.
So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 Tour
Anyone who watched the 11th season of So You Think You Can Dance can attest to the quality of dancers on the show this year. Although some may decry the cheesiness of reality TV, the idea that dancers can be showcased to a national audience is something to be celebrated. Season 11 champ Ricky Ubeda and the rest of the top 10 perform at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie.
Saturday, October 4
Fall for the Arts
If you always wanted to get into the arts but didn't know where to start, Klyde Warren Park is a good place to be on Saturday. That's because it's hosting Fall for the Arts, which features performances by a wide array of performing and visual arts groups, including Dallas Summer Musicals, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Contemporary Ballet Dallas and more.
Dallas Mavericks Fan Jam
The Dallas Mavericks kicks off their preseason schedule on October 7, and they get fans ready for the new season with their annual Fan Jam at American Airlines Center. You can sign up for season tickets, get autographs from players, get pumped up by the Dallas Mavericks Dancers and ManiAACs, and watch an open practice, getting your first look at the complete 2014-2015 roster.
Lecrae in concert with Andy Mineo and DJ Promote
If you haven't heard of Lecrae, now might be the time to get to know him. The rapper has been a fixture on the Christian charts since 2004, but his talents have led to his gradually crossing over into the mainstream, resulting in his latest album, Anomaly, going straight to No. 1. He is joined at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie by collaborator Andy Mineo and DJ Promote.
Sunday, October 5
Dallas VideoFest 27: Expanded Cinema III
The 27th annual Dallas VideoFest doesn't officially start until next Wednesday with a special screening of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger, featuring a live performance by the Dallas Chamber Symphony, but they are getting things rolling with this showcase on the outside of the Omni Dallas hotel. The sanctioned viewing party takes place at Reunion Tower, but the show can be seen in multiple downtown locations.
Lita Ford in concert with The Kul and Stand2Reason
Female rock legends are few and far between, so it's nice to appreciate them when they come our way. Lita Ford secured her place in rock history as part of the all-female group The Runaways, and she's spent the last 30 years proving that she has enough talent to survive on her own. She plays at Trees with The Kul and Stand2Reason.