Event Planner

Festivals galore top the best events in Dallas this weekend

Dallas International Film Festival tops the best weekend events

Dallas International Film Festival, Java Heat
Java Heat is one of the opening-night films at the Dallas International Film Festival, running April 4-14. Facebook/Java Heat
Turandot at Dallas Opera
Turandot opens at the Dallas Opera April 5. Photo courtesy of Dallas Opera
Dog Bowl, Cotton Bowl
The Dog Bowl takes over the Cotton Bowl April 7. Photo courtesy of Friends of Fair Park
Dallas International Film Festival, Java Heat
Turandot at Dallas Opera
Dog Bowl, Cotton Bowl

This weekend presents yet-another delicious dilemma for Dallasites: There's just so much going on that it's nearly impossible to choose what to do. That includes two of the best annual events in Dallas, the start of an eagerly anticipated opera and the chance for your pup to pee on the hallowed Cotton Bowl field.

Hopefully the below list serves as a good guide toward making your decisions, but this is honestly a weekend where it's hard to go wrong. 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, April 4

2013 Dallas International Film Festival Opening Night
We're highlighting this night, during which films like 8 1/2Java Heat and The Crash Reel christen the brand-new LOOK Cinemas, simply because it's the beginning of Dallas' biggest film festival. But the 11-day film orgy, running through April 14 at multiple theaters, has so many films that any cinephile will be in heaven. Be sure to check the events calendar for all the films playing.

Dallas Arboretum presents An Evening with National Geographic Explorer Boyd Matson
Usually the Dallas Arboretum is the place to go to enjoy the spectacular flower displays or views of White Rock Lake. But they're branching out a little with this event, in which National Geographic's Boyd Matson shares the beauty of the rest of the world by telling stories and showing pictures of his trips around the Earth the past 20 years.

Friday, April 5

2013 Deep Ellum Arts Festival
In what's shaping up to be another glorious spring weekend, the Deep Ellum Arts Festival takes over Main Street with a huge selection of artists selling original works and bands playing music from four different stages. Going on Friday through Sunday, it's a free opportunity to be inspired by the creativity of multiple talented people in one five-block radius.

Dallas Opera presents Turandot
There have been precious few times to attend a Dallas Opera production of late; in fact, this is only the second opera of the 2012-2013 season. Playing six times through April 21 at Winspear Opera HouseTurandot is a classic opera from composer Giacomo Puccini about a prince who risks everything in his bid for the love of a princess.

Saturday, April 6

NorthPark Center presents fourth annual ArtsPark
Deep Ellum won't be the only spot in town highlighting art this weekend. NorthPark Center hosts the annual ArtsPark, a one-day event filled with performances, arts and crafts, and other arts-related activities in the mall's corridors. ArtsPark is also an unofficial kickoff to the first Dallas Arts Week, which starts on Sunday.

2013 Big Texas Beer Fest
Ah, beer — the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. This second annual festival, taking place in the Automobile Building at Fair Park, is bringing together more than 100 breweries, with a focus on craft breweries, so you and your friends can taste their unique concoctions. Multiple breweries offer special beers you can only get at events like this, so any good beer snob must attend.

Sunday, April 7

Dallas Zoo's 125th Birthday Party
From its humble beginnings at Fair Park to now, the Dallas Zoo has been a go-to destination for kids and adults alike. To celebrate its quasquicentennial anniversary, the zoo has special activities sprinkled throughout the grounds on both Saturday and Sunday, including magicians, stilt walkers, music and animal interactions.

Fair Park presents 2013 Dog Bowl
Watch your step if you attend this event, as hundreds, if not thousands of dogs — and their owners — descend upon the Cotton Bowl to enjoy a day full of canine-themed activities. In addition to letting your dog run from end zone to end zone, you can participate in a dog/owner look-alike contest and do arts and crafts.