The greatness that is the three-week long State Fair of Texas kicks off this weekend, threatening to obliterate every other event in its path. While none of the other happenings quite match the power of the State Fair, there is still a lot of other great stuff going on, including two big comedy events, music and film festivals, and national theater tours.
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 24
John Wayne Film Festival
For the second straight year, Dallas will host the annual John Wayne Film Festival, now in its fifth edition. Celebrating John Wayne's heritage and legacy and featuring question and answer sessions with Wayne family members, the four-day festival will screen films like The Shootist, True Grit, The Searchers, Red River, and How the West Was Won at three locations: Highland Park Village Theatre, LOOK Cinemas, and Klyde Warren Park.
Bill Burr in concert
Comedian Bill Burr is a regular of the late night shows who's also a familiar face in movies and on TV shows like Breaking Bad. He also has a hit comedy podcast that's amongst the most downloaded on iTunes. He'll bring his raucous stand-up act to the Majestic Theatre for one night only.
AT&T Performing Arts Center presents Matilda the Musical
A winner of four Tony Awards, including best book, Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. The national tour will be at Winspear Opera House through October 4.
Off Broadway on Flora Series: Murder for Two
To kick off the second year of its Off Broadway on Flora Series, AT&T Performing Arts Center will welcome in Murder for Two. The play, running at Dallas City Performance Hall through Saturday, reinvents the classic murder mystery with the story of the untimely demise of a novelist that sparks a ribald investigation, with a variety of suspects who are each more entertaining than the last.
Friday, September 25
2015 State Fair of Texas
If you can't find something to do at the 24-day State Fair of Texas, there's something wrong with you, as there's literally something for everybody. With the famous fried food, Midway rides and games, music, exhibits, shopping, and more, it's easy to spend the whole day — and a lot of money — at Fair Park. Make sure to take advantage of the discounts available; only a fool pays full price to get into the fair.
The Downtown Denton Square will be entertainment central Friday through Sunday when it hosts Oaktopia Fest. Big name acts and local favorites, including Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Polyphonic Spree, Minus The Bear, Sarah Jaffe, and Thundercat, will perform on 11 stages, and there will also be skaters on a half pipe, street performers, art installations, and more.
The Comedy Get Down with Cedric The Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, and Charlie Murphy
The only thing better than getting to see one big name comedian is getting to see five in one sitting. That's the opportunity you'll have at American Airlines Center when Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, and Charlie Murphy join forces for the Comedy Get Down tour, one of the most hilarious nights you could ever imagine.
Saturday, September 26
2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship
Texas Motor Speedway usually plays host to fast-paced car races, but for the second straight year it'll welcome the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. The world’s best pilots will battle in the air, navigating 82-foot-high pylons at speeds of up to 230 mph. The race in Fort Worth, taking place on Saturday and Sunday, is the first stop in the United States.
Mark Knopfler in concert
If you're a child of the '80s, you know Mark Knopfler best as the lead singer of Dire Straits, which had hit songs like "Money for Nothing" and "Walk of Life." But that band broke up way back in 1995, and Knopfler has now spent more time as a solo artist than he did fronting that group. He'll play at Majestic Theatre in support of his eighth solo album, Tracker.