Spring in Dallas heralds the arrival of one the area's most beloved events: Cottonwood Art Festival. This two-day, semi-annual show runs May 5-6 (it returns the first weekend in October) and draws artists from all around the country to Richardson's Cottonwood Park. Whether you're a veteran festival-goer or a first-time fan, here's what you need to know before you go:
It's free to get in
That's right — you can surround yourself with mixed media, ceramics, jewelry, leather, painting, photography, sculpture, and more, from the the 240 artists that were selected to display, without paying a cent in admission (parking, across the street at the Richardson High School football stadium, is free too!).
More than 1,400 artists submitted their work this year, meaning that Cottonwood's reputation as the premier juried art event in North Texas has only continued to grow. This year's featured artist, Anthony Hansen, is a metal artist that works primarily with found automotive sheet-metal.
The scenery is lovely
Cottonwood Park serves as the outdoor gallery's setting, letting visitors leisurely wind their way through the greenery and flowers while admiring the works and chatting with the artists. A charming pond attracts ducks, which you can actually stop and enjoying thanks to the festival's laid back, not overly crowded atmosphere.
Families are encouraged to attend
ArtStop, the interactive children's area, is packed with so many activities that adults might wish they could join in on the fun. More than 100 volunteers create a hands-on world of art for the festival's mini Monets, leading stations that teach pottery, sculpting, and other arts and crafts. Even if you don't purchase any art from the adult participants, you'll likely leave Cottonwood with at least one of these tiny masterpieces.
Get ready to rock out
Top local bands are performing the best in rock, country, jazz, blues, swing and folk all weekend. Grab a seat at the food court or courtyard stages and listen to such acts as Victor Andrada, Erik Carizalles, Kirk Thurmond & the Millennials, Danni & Kris, Darren Kobetich, Davis & Rose, Heather Little, BJ Stricker & The Kings, Ron Bultongez, Taylor DeLatte, and Alton Bridge.
There is plenty to eat and drink
Make a day of it by sampling from the festival's array of food vendors, which run the gamut from Conway's Corndogs, Sonny Bryan's barbecue, and Mario's Greek delights to Marble Slab Creamery, Kona Ice, and the Belgian chocolate-dipped treats of Taylor's Sweet Shop.
Wet your whistle with handcrafted, non-alcoholic drinks from Wild West Soda Saloon or venture into the craft beer garden, where brews from Revolver, Rahr, Lakewood, Community, Bishop Arts Cider, Franconia, and Deep Ellum Brewing Co. await.
For more information, visit the Cottonwood Art Festival website.