Courtesy photo

Dallasites in the mood to give had a worthy place to direct their energy on November 29: the Frost Bank and CultureMap donation drop-off, benefiting Genesis Women's Shelter & Support.

Bags upon bags of coats, hats, gloves, toiletries, and masks were handed over at Pacific Plaza during the two-hour event, and those who donated received a few surprises in return.

If you showed up with five or more items to give you were handed a Frost It Forward card, the idea being that you'd spread optimism and use the money to pay it forward to someone else.

The generous gesture from Frost Bank echoed the Optimism Starts With You mural, which served as the backdrop to the donation event. The mural's artist, Mari Pohlman aka Marpohl, even dropped by with her own items to donate.

Those who attended the donation drive-through also got a head start on entering the social media contest by snapping a selfie by the mural and using #OptForOptimism to enter.

If you'd like a shot at winning a one-night staycation at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel and $100 to spend at downtown Dallas businesses, there's still time. Get your post up before December 31, when we'll pick one lucky winner.

The items received from the event are more important than ever to Genesis Women's Shelter, which provides safety, shelter, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence, and raises awareness regarding its cause, prevalence, and impact.

Genesis was founded in 1984 with a goal to not only shelter and support women who have been victims of domestic violence, but also raise awareness regarding its cause and impact — with a hope to one day completely eradicate domestic violence. In the last year alone, Genesis saw 3,700 women and children at its emergency shelter, transitional housing apartments, and nonresidential counseling office.

Recessions like the one caused by the pandemic, coupled with stay-at-home orders and quarantine measures, can be particularly challenging for women and children trapped in abusive homes. Donations like the ones received here make a huge impact for women and children seeking a safe way out of dangerous situations.

If you missed the event but would still like to contribute to Genesis’ important mission, please make a donation this holiday season.

Everyone who donated five or more items received a Frost It Forward card to help spread optimism.

Dallas Frost Bank Genesis donations
Courtesy photo
Everyone who donated five or more items received a Frost It Forward card to help spread optimism.
Photo courtesy of Louie Murillo

Festive-fantastic Grapevine home lights up with 1,000 Santas for charity

Here comes Santa Claus

If the Murillo family doesn't capture the top spot on Santa's nice list this year, there's no hope for the rest of us. They have filled their front yard in Grapevine with more than 1,000 lighted Santa decorations as a beacon of awareness for a local nonprofit.

They're calling it, simply, Grapevine Santa House.

The half-acre property is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of Santa statues, which visitors can walk among, snap photos with, and then, they hope, make a donation to Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program. The charity's seasonal initiative provides new, unwrapped gifts to Tarrant County families facing financial hardship.

"I've always been a holiday guy, way over the top," says Louie Murillo, the dad and Santa House head honcho. Anyone who's seen the 20-foot Christmas trees perched atop the the two Chick-fil-A restaurants he owns near Dallas Love Field can attest.

"About a year ago, I bought some Santas on clearance and thought maybe we'd do something with them for a family Christmas card," he says.

Along came COVID-19, and his holiday passion intersected with a desire to help those who were struggling. During his quarantine free-time, he bought a few more Santas online. Then a few more. Then his idea for a Santa House really began to take shape.

"Once we dipped our toe in, we decided to go all out," he says of his family, including kids ages 12 and 14.

His search for Santas took him around Texas and beyond. Murillo even flew to Chicago and drove back a truck loaded with nine reindeer and a sleigh.

By July, one of the home's three attics was stuffed with Santas. Then a game room overflowed with them. By fall, a storage unit was filling up.

To be clear, these aren't just any Santa statues. They're "blow molds," a specific kind of hollow, plastic figure popular in the '50s, '60s, and '70s. They're rarely made now, and considered collectibles, costing anywhere from $30 to $140 apiece.

"How much I've spent is not a number we're gonna discuss nor share with my wife," Murillo says with a laugh. "It definitely got out of hand."

Then there was the matter of lighting it all up. An electrician helped wire the yard with an additional, 14-outlet breaker, and they're hoping a switch to LED lighting helps ease the electricity bill a little.

Some decorations are set up in vignettes, and Murillo's favorite piece isn't actually a Santa. It's a vintage church, an expensive piece he found in Chicago. The display also includes carolers and a nativity, and a sign urges people to tune to a radio station to hear the Christmas story from the Bible.

Murillo reached out to the Grace organization about a partnership at the perfect time. Their need would be higher than ever at a time at the holidays, when fewer gatherings meant fewer opportunities for donations to be collected. Typically, Christmas Cottage serves more than 2,500 individuals and families each holiday season. Families are given a hypothetical “budget” that allows the parents to “purchase” donated toys, home goods, and appliances in a secure, store-like setting.

The Murillos' goal is to raise $15,000 with Santa House, which will help 120 kids. By December 1, just a few days after turning the lights on, they were already at $9,000.

Rather than collecting contributions on site, they're encouraging guests to donate online via a GoFundMe page set up in conjunction with the Santa House.

Among the first visitors to the Santa House was a single mom whose child had been helped by Grace, Murillo says. Mom and daughter enjoyed the lights and then made a donation — they paid the kindness forward.

"It's cool to see real people being helped that are in need," Murillo says. "It's fun just to see kids' excitement. We've all been stuck indoors, not traveling, and this is something to do as a family."

The Santa House lights will go on every night from 5-10 pm through December 27. The home is on a cul-de-sac in the Western Oaks neighborhood, and visitors can park along the street.

The exact location is 3373 Spruce Lane, Grapevine. Follow the Grapevine Santa House Facebook page for updates.

The Murillo family home has become the Grapevine Santa House.

Santa House Grapevine
Photo courtesy of Louie Murillo
The Murillo family home has become the Grapevine Santa House.
Photo by SDI Productions/Getty

Drop off supplies and spread optimism at Genesis donation event in downtown Dallas

The Season of Giving

Looking for a way to give back this holiday season? Then mark your calendar for Sunday, November 29, when CultureMap and Frost Bank are hosting a donation drop-off benefiting Genesis Women's Shelter & Support.

Donations will be accepted from 12-2 pm at Pacific Plaza (401 N. Harwood St.) in downtown Dallas, with masks requested if you get out of your car. To help provide safety, shelter, and support for women who have experienced domestic violence, and to raise awareness regarding its cause, prevalence, and impact, bring the following items:

  • Disinfectant spray wipes
  • Antibacterial hand soap
  • Cloth face masks
  • Sports bras in size adult large and medium
  • New gloves and hats in all sizes and ages
  • New coats of all sizes for women and children ages 0-18

When you bring five or more donation items, you'll receive a $10 Frost It Forward card as yet another opportunity to spread generosity and the power of optimism.

Everyone who donates will also get the chance to win a special grand prize: a one-night staycation at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel and $100 to spend at downtown Dallas businesses.

To enter, visit the Optimism Starts With You mural by local artist Marpohl at 400 N. Olive St., on the side of the Sheraton Dallas' parking garage. Snap a photo of the mural and share it on social media using #OptForOptimism. We'll choose a grand prize winner on December 31.

Genesis Women's Shelter & Support was founded in 1984 with a goal to not just help women, but to completely eradicate domestic violence. Last year alone, Genesis saw 3,700 women and children at its emergency shelter, transitional housing apartments, and nonresidential counseling office.

They have formulated their services to address the issue holistically and give each woman the same message: There is help, and there is hope.


Special thanks to Downtown Dallas Inc. for sponsoring the location of the donation drop-off event.

Bring coats, gloves, and new PPE to donate.

Drive-through donations
Photo by SDI Productions/Getty
Bring coats, gloves, and new PPE to donate.
Photo by Jenifer McNeil Baker

4 new virtual fundraisers to add to Dallas-Fort Worth social diaries this fall

Coronavirus pivot

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to prevent nonprofits from holding large luncheons, galas, and parties, they're still finding creative ways to raise crucial funds.

Some, like the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, are simply holding scaled-down versions of their events, with strict attendance limits for social distancing. But most are pivoting to virtual formats.

Below are the latest Dallas-Fort Worth fundraisers that patrons can join using their favorite electronic device. More upcoming virtual benefits are listed here.

Virtually TITAS Gala, October 6
TITAS' annual performance gala, which normally takes place in person during a full season, will feature all seven U.S. dance companies from the Dallas dance group's 2020-21 season. They include New York's Ballet Hispanico, Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet out of San Francisco, and more. The event is free, and donations are accepted. Not only will the gala benefit TITAS, but it will also give the companies an opportunity to present their work to the public at a time when performances are not happening in person. The gala will start at 7 pm, and registration is required here. Once registered, patrons will receive an email with viewing instructions.

Epilepsy Foundation Texas Virtual Dinner Party, October 24
The local Epilepsy Foundation is partnering with Del Frisco's Grille to bring the restaurant home. Participants will pick up a "culinary kit" containing ingredients for a gourmet steak and salmon dinner, salad, side, and bottle of wine. Then, at 6:30 pm, Hell's Kitchen winner, chef Ariel Fox, will join in virtually for private meal preparation instruction. All proceeds benefit the foundation's seizure clinics, school first aid education, and summer camp programs — all of which are offered at no cost to communities. Tickets, $275, can be reserved through the website.

Heart (at Home) for the Homeless benefiting Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County, November 10
The sixth annual Union Gospel Mission benefit will be presented for guests to enjoy at home. Favorite Fort Worth singer-songwriter Josh Weathers will be the featured entertainer at a virtual, hour-long concert experience that begins at 7 pm. Tickets, $100, can be purchased through the website, and sponsorships are still available. A virtual event admission link will be emailed before the concert, and one admission link will be good for an entire household. Union Gospel Mission provides love, hope, respect, and a new beginning for those experiencing homelessness in Tarrant County.

Lakewood Home Festival Virtual Auction Party, November 13
The 44th Annual Lakewood Home Tour has two parts, neither of them a "traditional" home tour. The weekend of events, November 13-15, starts with a free “Lakewood Live” virtual auction party. A Saturday Night Live-style presentation will include pre-recorded skits, special musical performances, and both live and silent auctions. Guests are encouraged to don their SNL-inspired costumes and party in place. (Party Packs, premium gift baskets filled with a DIY cocktail kit, merchandise, and more, are available for pre-purchase.)

Then, the home tour will proceed as a street-view only event on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. The official home tour guidebook is available online for $20 and is the only way to see interior photographs. So you drive up to a home, flip through the book to read about what's behind the doors, and drive on to the next one. All proceeds go to the Woodrow Wilson feeder pattern of schools; for more information, visit the website.

ReuNight for The Family Place

The 5 newest must-attend virtual fundraisers in Dallas-Fort Worth

Coronavirus pivot

In this year of social distancing and canceled gatherings, many nonprofit galas and luncheons are pivoting creatively to virtual formats. They can still raise crucial funds to continue providing services without risking the health and safety of patrons.

Below are the five latest Dallas-Fort Worth organizations to hold virtual fundraisers — and how to join in the fun without slipping on stilettos.

Wilkinson Center The Spirit of Taos Online Auction, through September 25
The Friends of Wilkinson Center's The Spirit of Taos Online Auction continues through midnight Friday, September 25. While this year’s Spirit of Taos fundraising event has been canceled due to the current health crisis, the community can bid on a curated offering of three auction packages: "The Great Treasure Chest," featuring a cornucopia of gift cards from popular local eateries and stores; "Dreamscape," the ultimate home staycation package; and "Bonanza Extravaganza" featuring coaching, portraiture, and more. Click here to register, bid, or donate. All proceeds go to the Wilkinson Center's mission to transform the lives of Dallas families by providing pathways to self-sufficiency with dignity and respect.

TeamTait For TeamConnor, September 25
TeamConnor was founded in 2008 while young Connor Cruse was in the midst of his four-year battle with neuroblastoma cancer. Today, Connor’s father, Tait Cruse, is fighting a similar battle. From 6 am until midnight September 25, participants can walk, run, swim, bike, Peloton, jump rope, climb a mountain, or participate in anything athletic to stand against cancer. Participants are encouraged to post photos on social media with the hashtag #TeamTait4TeamConnor. Participants can register at TeamConnor.org. The initiative has already raised about $ 424,000 and is striving to reach a $1 million goal.

Virtual Old Bags Luncheon benefiting National Cowgirl Museum, October 20
Each year since 2013, the Fort Worth museum has partnered with designers to create an auction based around gently used designer purses. Proceeds go to support the museum’s educational efforts. This year the event goes virtual, with the exception of the two-day, paid-only viewing days; the entire event will span six days. Guests that had previously purchased tickets for the luncheon (still available for a $125 donation) may preview the bags in person at the museum on October 18 and 19. On October 20 those original ticket holders will have a full day of early bidding. Oct. 21, 22, and 23 Old Bag’s shopping will open up for anyone to bid. The virtual experience will provide a ‘Buy Now’ option and chances to simply place a competitive bid. For more information and updates, visit the event's Facebook page.

Dine In to Stop Domestic Violence benefiting The Family Place, October 24
Unable to "ReuNight" in-person this year, past co-chairs of the dinner fundraiser are encouraging the community to "U-Night" to support The Family Place and its mission to end family violence. Supporters are invited to dine in on October 24; they'll enjoy a four-course elevated dining experience with wine and a floral arrangement from Grey Gardens Florist within the comfort of home. Dinner will be prepared by the innovative Chef Jordan Swim of Vestals Catering and Front Burners Restaurants. Diners will receive a locally sourced farm-to-table meal featuring a charcuterie board, fall vegetable salad, beef entrée, and dessert. Vegetarian options will also be included upon request. Top donors have the option of hosting an executive chef to prepare the four-course dinner in their home. For more information and registration beginning at $375, visit the website.

Cancer Support Community North Texas' "Paint the Canvas Red" at-home fundraiser, November 14
Cancer Support Community North Texas' inaugural "Paint the Canvas Red" fundraiser is a virtual, hands-on art and wine event that allows people to paint and drink wine from the comfort of their own couches. The idea is to show how the power of art has helped thousands of cancer patients heal and stay mentally healthy — especially during this frightening pandemic. CSCNT will send participants a canvas, wine, and art supplies for the $125 ticket price. The live event will take place from 7-9 pm November 14 and proceeds will provide the ongoing social and emotional support programs and services to all impacted by cancer across DFW.

Photo courtesy of Junior League of Dallas

Dallas Junior League helps restore civil rights legend's historic Fair Park home

Giving back

Despite the COVID-cancellation if its signature 2020 fundraiser, the Junior League of Dallas is taking on a significant new civic cause in honor of its 100th anniversary.

As its Centennial Anniversary project, JLD will help restore the Juanita J. Craft Civil Rights House & Museum, a historic home in Dallas' Fair Park neighborhood, the organization announced September 15. The home was once owned by Juanita J. Craft (1902-1985), one of the leading civil rights figures in Texas and the second Black woman to serve on the Dallas City Council. Her home served as a popular gathering spot for civil rights activists when they came to Dallas, including President Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., President Jimmy Carter, musician Duke Ellington, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, JLD says.

The Dallas nonprofit will partner with the City of Dallas on its existing effort to restore the home, which is expected to be completed in March 2022, according to a news release. This includes securing the home’s designation as a historic landmark on the Civil Rights Trail, which would be the first in Texas.

“The Juanita Craft House honors a Dallas legend who devoted her life to fighting for civil rights,” Dallas mayor Eric Johnson says in the release. “Our city is better because of Juanita Craft’s actions, her legacy, and the example she set. And we will all be better for a visit to her house when it reopens."

The city has owned and operated Craft's Craftsman Bungalow in the Wheatley Place Historic District since her death in 1985. Longtime efforts to turn the house into an educational museum came to a halt in 2018 when a sprinkler pipe burst in the attic and flooded the home. Repair costs were estimated at more than $1.2 million. Fundraising efforts have been ongoing, but the city has been unable to get across the finish line.

In honor of its 100th year, the JLD will donate a final financial gift to help complete repairs and renovations and reopen the museum to the public.

The specific amount of JLD's financial commitment was not disclosed. However, the organization says, additional funds will be raised by its Centennial Committee to establish ongoing educational programming at the house, along with developing curriculum and fostering partnerships with the African American Museum and Fair Park.

“We have been working closely with the City of Dallas for more than two years to determine how we could help save the Juanita Craft House and restore it as a place for visiting students and others to learn more about Civil Rights history in Dallas," says Margo Goodwin, JLD Centennial co-chair. "The city’s mission was something we wanted to be a part of as an extension of the league’s ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives. We are eagerly anticipating the reopening of the Juanita Craft House to visitors in early 2022 and to making this a special place for the public to enjoy in the decades to come.”

Junior League of Dallas chooses a special project to support for each milestone anniversary.

“Funds raised for this special anniversary project are above and beyond the existing commitments to the nearly 40 agencies the JLD supports each year with its trained volunteer service commitments and financial support," says Centennial co-chair Andrea Cheek.

Junior League's major annual fundraising event is its beloved Milestones Luncheon. After a blockbuster 2019 luncheon starring actress Keri Russell, the 2020 edition got canceled and re-scheduled for March 26, 2021, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.

The Juanita J. Craft home is a Dallas landmark.

Juanita Craft historic home
Photo courtesy of Junior League of Dallas
The Juanita J. Craft home is a Dallas landmark.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Spooky ghost tours, a big Silobration, and more Texas travel tidbits in October

where to travel right now

Fall is finally here, and with the (hopefully) cooler temps will come the chance to get outside and enjoy autumn activities all around Texas. Can't decide where to take a quick vacation, road trip, or staycation? Here are 10 events, special celebrations, and hotel happenings to help plan a getaway in October.

Throughout Texas

If searching for beautiful fall foliage around Texas is at the top of the priority list, cabin rental agency Smoky Mountains' prediction map is the perfect guide to help estimate when the leaves will begin changing throughout the state and the U.S. The map predicts most of Texas will have minimal-to-patchy changing leaves by the end of October, and most of the state's trees will be at their color-changing peak in November.

Dallas-based luxury bus operator Vonlane added 60 new weekly departures to meet anticipated high demand for the fall travel season. There are now more than 430 trips per week departing Vonlane hubs in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Travelers can book their trips online for both one-way or round-trips, with fares beginning at $119.


The annual Magnolia Silobration at The Silos will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chip and Joanna Gaines' Waco-based home design and lifestyle empire from October 19-21. Fixer Upper fans can visit the Silos to enjoy a three-day adventure of local artisan and food vendors, live music performances, shopping, and more. The festival is free, but note that certain ticketed experiences like the 20th anniversary tour, weekend rooftop passes, and Evenings with Chip and Jo are sold out.

Along the Gulf Coast

What better way to celebrate the arrival of spooky season than by seeking out haunted ghost experiences in Corpus Christi? The Heritage Park Museum will showcase four reportedly haunted houses, and phantom chasers will delight in visiting the USS Lexington during the "Haunting on the Blue Ghost" event, October 6-31, to glimpse any ghostly crew members lurking about the vessel. The abandoned Nueces County Courthouse also has some ghouls of its own, with reports of voices, noises, and screams being heard following a hurricane that devastated the area more than a century ago.

Summer might be over, but a trip to the beach is always in the cards on South Padre Island. The annual Sandcastle Days falls on October 5-8, drawing the attention of sandcastle-building experts, food and craft vendors, and free family-friendly entertainment. Then, from October 19-21, classic cars and motorcycles rev up the brand new Chrome in the Sand Festival. The weekend will consist of live performances, car shows, a poker tournament, and more. Tickets for the Chrome in the Sand Festival begin at $20 for general admission, $55 for VIP, and $500 for VIP tables.

In the Hill Country

It's never too late for a day by the pool, and the luxurious Lantana Spa at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa has opened reservations for their renovated pool cabanas with a special VIP poolside service and deluxe amenities. The private, two-person Canyons, Preserve, and Oaks Spa Cabanas each include an unlimited mimosa service, shaded seating and chaise lounges, a dedicated server from 11 am-5 pm, and more. Cabana reservations can be made by resort guests or in addition to a spa service, and rates begin at $400.

Nonprofit trade association Texas Hill Country Wineries is bringing back its Texas Wine Month passport this month for a self-guided journey through 45 local wineries with special discounts scattered along the way. With participating estates scattered throughout popular weekend destinations like Fredericksburg, Johnson City, and New Braunfels, it’s a chance to explore the Hill Country and soak in those autumn vibes. Wine passport-holders can visit up to four wineries daily to get the most out of a weekend getaway. Individual passes are $85, and couples' passes are $120.

Speaking of wineries, one Marble Falls-based winery is hosting regular events throughout October, which is perfect for those holding a Texas Wine Month passport. Every Saturday and Sunday, folks can venture out to Flat Creek Estates & Vineyard for their effervescent Bubbles and Brunch from 11 am to 3 pm. And if the trip transforms from a brunch outing into an all-day affair, guests catch live music from local Texas bands during the winery's weekend music series from 2-6 pm. Ernie Vasquez and Evan Grubbs are scheduled the weekend of October 7-8, and Stephen Daly and Andrew Lopez will play on the weekend of October 14-15.


It's finally festival season down in Austin this month, beginning with the iconicAustin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park for two consecutive weekends from October 6-8 and 13-15. Luckily for Texas travelers, CultureMap's got the scoop on all things ACL – from can't-miss acts, to new eats, and more. One-day general admission tickets begin at $170. Weekend One tickets are waitlisted, but there are still one-day general admission tickets available for Weekend Two. Weekend passes for both weekends are waitlisted.

Then Austin zooms forward to the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas from October 20-22. Red Bull Racing has already won the 2023 Constructors' Championship after its longstanding driver Max Verstappen won the Japanese Grand Prix, and Verstappen is well in the lead to win his third-consecutive World Drivers' Championship title. Three-day general admission wristbands are $475, two-day GA is $425, and three-day parking passes are $275.

Snowglobes land on downtown Dallas hotel rooftop for holiday hookups

The Candyman Can

It's only the beginning of October but there's one festive wintry ritual ready to roll: Called Winterproof, it's a holiday-themed pop-up taking over the rooftop of the Statler Dallas hotel in downtown Dallas.

The hotel's rooftop lounge, ordinarily called Waterproof, will transform into Winterproof during the cooler season, from November 22 through February 11, offering outdoor snowglobes and heated cabanas for rent.

This is the fifth year for this annual holiday tradition, but there's a tasty new twist this year: Winterproof is celebrating Willy Wonka, the famous fictional chocolatier — perhaps to coincide with Timothée Chalamet's new film of the same theme being released in December? — with a new cocktail menu and a new Wonka-themed "edible" afternoon tea service on weekends.

Here's a sneak peek at the new cocktails, all based upon the beloved Roald Dahl work and its characters:

  • Gingerbread Espresso Martini: Ketel One vodka, gingerbread syrup, coffee liqueur, cold brew
  • Willy Wonka's Passionfruit Margarita: Tequila, Patron Citronage, passionfruit reduction, fresh lime juice, agave syrup
  • Chocolate Factory Old Fashioned: Bourbon, Aztec chocolate bitters, orange bitters, simple syrup
  • The Violet Beauregarde: Gin, lavender honey syrup, blueberry reduction, fresh lemon juice
  • Charlie's Peach & Rosemary Mule: Grey Goose White Peach and Rosemary Vodka, fresh lime juice, ginger beer
  • Pumpkin Spice Oompa Loompa: Vodka, Kahlua, pumpkin spice cream
  • Just What the Dr. Wilbur Wonka Ordered: Pear nectar, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, dry champagne
  • Grandpa Joe's Spiked Eggnog: White rum, amaretto, house-made eggnog, dusted with nutmeg
  • Veruca's French 76: Vodka, Heering cherry liqueur, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, Champagne
  • The Gene Wilder: Tequila, orange liqueur, rosemary simple syrup, sparkling water

There are two sizes of private snow globes available to rent.

Small globes, which seat up to four people, are available to reserve with two-hour food and beverage minimums starting at $200. Larger globes fit up to six people and start at $300 per two-hour reservation.

The cabanas, which accommodate up to 6-8 people, have been reimagined with themed decor. They can be reserved with prices ranging from $350-550.

Willy Wonka Tea
The tea is available on weekends only November 25-December 31, from 11 am-3 pm. It includes tea plus savory and sweet bites that include

  • egg salad on a mini croissant
  • chicken salad on petit pains au lait
  • English cucumber with whipped dill cream cheese on brioche
  • pimento cheese on nine-grain bread

A daily selection of assorted mini scones are served with house-made jams, jellies, and Devonshire cream. Desserts include mini raspberry cupcake, goat cheese cranberry panna cotta, chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies, and a lemon curd tart.

Guests also receive a complimentary glass of rosé, Champagne, or sparkling cider (non-alcoholic).

Tea reservations are $58 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under.

It's free to visit Winterproof on weekdays before 3 pm — after that it's $10 on weekdays and $15 all day on weekends.

Reservations for snow globes, cabanas and Willy Wonka’s Edible Tea can be made here.

Beloved art festival returns to Richardson with fall vibes

Get Your Art On

A true harbinger of fall is the Cottonwood Art Festival, held October 7-8 this year at Cottonwood Park in Richardson.

From its humble beginning in 1969, this free festival has become the leading art show in North Texas. Where artists wearing bell-bottoms and braids once laid out a blanket and hoped to sell a few art pieces, five decades later Cottonwood has become the signature art event in North Texas.

But it's not just art — this one-of-a-kind outdoor gallery also features interactive activities, delicious cuisine, and live music.

Here is your guide to getting the most out of Cottonwood Art Festival:

Admire the art
Cottonwood is a juried art show in which nearly more than 1,000 talented visual artists compete to be one of the approximately 200 artists chosen to display their work before festival attendees. These include paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, fiber art, fine glass, woodwork, mixed media, and photography.

See some science
This year's featured artist, Erin Curry, is a self-taught artist and biologist who relies heavily on mythology, Hispanic culture, Japanese gods, children’s tales, and taxidermy in her art. She often depicts meticulously drawn skeletons, winged creatures, organs, masks, and flowers that are often crafted within vintage frames and custom shadow boxes.

Groove to the music
Art of another kind will be taking over the Imagery Courtyard Main Stage, where some of North Texas’ top musicians will perform. The live-music soundtrack includes the John Christopher Davis, Chant Duplantier, Suzy and the Sissies, Katrina Cain, Matt Tedder Band, and The Elton Johns. A second Acoustic Stage will feature music by Microchicks, Jameson Loyd, Haven Thomas, and more.

Eat and drink a lot
Enjoy a tasty beverage in the Lakeside Courtyard, which features an epic lineup of wine and craft beer from local breweries. Margaritas, prosecco, and frosé round out the available beverages. To go with those sips, choose from any number of fun foods like Tex-Mex faves, churros, kettle corn, Southern staples, gyros and kebabs, caramel apples, and more.

Indulge in child's play
The kiddos can learn to weave, paint like Picasso, play with clay, craft beaded corn on the cob, and even make a silly scarecrow headband.

Get the details
Admission to Cottonwood Art Festival is free, and the event is held, rain or shine, in Cottonwood Park. Parking is available across the street at the Richardson High School football stadium, and there's a (free!) shuttle between the lot and the festival grounds. Well-behaved pets are allowed on leashes.

Mark your calendar for October 7-8 at Cottonwood Park, and head over to the Cottonwood Art Festival website for more info.