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A long-awaited waterpark in Cedar Hill is debuting Memorial Day weekend with two of Texas' favorite splashy attractions: a lagoon and lazy river.

TheLagoon at Virginia Weaver Park will open Saturday, May 27 after more than a year in development. The buzz is so big for the new park that tickets for a grand opening event (12-2 pm) have sold out. Guests without tickets can still enjoy the new park for free that day, from 12-5 pm.

According to the City of Cedar Hill, the Lagoon - a transformation of the '70s-era Crawford Park Pool - will be one of the largest public pools of its kind in the Southwest.

It will feature almost 10,000 square feet of water surface, including a zero-depth entry pool; a separate lap swim pool; a lazy river; three-turn slide; and a splash feature. Cabanas (available for rent) and shaded picnic tables will surround the pool. A private, indoor party space also can be reserved.

“This project was highly anticipated and truly a collaboration between our city leaders and local community members. We had many members of our community help determine what this pool would look like and how it would best serve our city,” City of Cedar Hill mayor Stephen Mason says in a release. “I have no doubt that this pool will make our citizens proud and will serve our area well for many years to come.”

After opening day, the waterpark will be open to the public from 12-5 pm daily. Regular daily admission will be $8, with discounts available for seniors and Cedar Hill residents.

Season passes (available online) run $60 for kids and seniors, $70 for adults, and $140 for a family of up to four people. Season pass holders can enjoy private swim time, 5:30-7:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays.

Entrance to Virginia Weaver Park, without pool admission, is free. The park offers playgrounds, hike and bike trails, softball field, basketball courts, and more. Cedar Hill is about 20 minutes southwest of downtown Dallas.

The Lagoon at Virginia Weaver Park is at 631 Somerset Dr., Cedar Hill; find more information on the website.

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Dallas nonprofit Art Conspiracy calls it quits after nearly 20 years

ArtCon is Gone

After nearly 20 years, Dallas nonprofit arts group Art Conspiracy (ArtCon) has ceased operations. In a release, the organization blamed the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, ArtCon was facing mounting pressures in the search for event spaces and navigating growing costs that were hindering our model, which was already challenged by its all-volunteer structure and role as a ‘pass-through’ organization that donates all the funds it raises,” said Geoff Barry, president of the board, in a statement.

“COVID-19 effectively ended our ability to evolve around these limitations, stopping us from not only putting on our signature annual fundraisers, but also from building a steady pipeline of volunteer leadership to execute them. It saddens us to end this important work, and we’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the years - not just the money raised, but also the many connections made and collaborations that have been born from them, which live on. We know we’ve made a positive and lasting difference in North Texas, among our community of artists, our audience, and our beneficiaries.”

The group was known for its annual live auction featuring the work of local artists plus performances by local musicians. The proceeds were donated to beneficiaries such as Children’s Health Fund, Volunteers of America’s Resolana program, W.T. White High School, Girls Rock Dallas, Anita M. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, and Cry Havoc Theater Company.

In closing, ArtCon made a final donation of $6,000 to Foundation 45, which provides mental health and recovery services to the Dallas-Fort Worth creative community. They were supposed to be the beneficiary for ArtCon 15, which was to have taken place in fall 2019 but was postponed due to staffing issues.

Although ArtCon no longer exists, they are encouraging support of Foundation 45's next fundraising event, “Art of the Guitar” on Saturday, October 21, a live auction of over 45 local artist-decorated guitars.

The iOS app Art Con remains available in the Apple Store for anyone wishing to seek out and connect with the artists and musicians who have participated in ArtCon over its history.

These are the 8 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This Week in Gluttony

There are two anniversary parties this week and both feature food and drink specials along with live music – one from '80s cover bands and the other from a powerhouse in Texas country music.

Meanwhile, Oktoberfest season is winding down, but there are two opportunities this week enjoy German-inspired eats and beer before the festival ends.

Tuesday, September 26

Lori’s Day at Newk’s Eatery
Mississippi-based sandwich, salad, and soup will celebrate its third annual ovarian cancer fundraiser in honor of Lori Newcomb, wife of Newk’s founder Chris Newcomb, who lost her battle with the disease in 2019. Through Newk’s Cares, founded by Lori in 2014 after her diagnosis, all locations will donate 20 percent of sales to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. Newk’s has locations in Frisco and Plano.

Wednesday, September 27

Cheers to 10 Years at The Rustic with Pat Green
Dallas bar, restaurant, and live music venue owned in part by Texas country music icon Pat Green will throw a 10th anniversary party featuring the superstar himself in concert. There’ll be drink specials and giveaways from Espolon Tequila and Eight Elite Light Lager, with a special appearance by Eight founder Troy Aikman. Doors open at 5:30 pm and concert opener Dalton Torres will take the stage at 8 pm. Tickets are $27 per person, plus a fee.

Laurent-Perrier Champagne Pop-Up Dinner at Knife Plano
Four-course dinner with Naomi Smith from the Champagne House of Laurent-Perrier features some of their new and exclusive offerings paired with Knife's classic seafood dishes. Courses include Yellowtail Crudo, paired with Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Brut; Arugula Salad and Iberico Ham with Laurent Perrier Brut 2012; Snapper, Asparagus, and Fingerling Potato with Laurent Pierrier Rose; and Banana, Bourbon & Dulce Dessert with Laurent Perrier Harmony Demi Sec. It starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $150, book at Resy.

Thursday, September 28

40th Anniversary Party at Aw Shucks
All five locations of the Aw Shucks and Big Shucks oyster bar chain (Dallas, Richardson, Lewisville, and Frisco) will host a throwback Thursday 80s-themed anniversary party featuring discounted menu items. Specials include a $19.83 platter of crab and shrimp boil, $19.83 dozen oysters on the half shell, $3.83 margaritas, and $2.83 draft beers. Born in 1983? You get a free slice of key lime pie. There’ll also be 80s cover bands at all locations from 5–9 pm. Break out the big hair and leg warmers because there’ll be costume contests for prizes, too.

Yappy Hour at Ellie’s
The terrace at Ellie’s inside the Hall Arts Hotel will welcome four-legged friends and their humans during this rooftop happy hour. Visit from 5–7 pm for specialty drinks and bites and to meet other Dallas-area dog lovers. Admission is free and valet parking is $5.

Basil Hayden Whiskey Dinner at Bourbon & Banter
Statler Dallas restaurant will host a four-course bourbon-pairing dinner featuring Kentucky-based Basil Hayden whiskey. Menu items include spinach & roasted red pepper-stuffed chicken, steelhead trout en papillote, grilled flat iron steak with truffle potatoes, and Basil Hayden chocolate pot de crème. The dinner is $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and begins at 7 pm.

Friday, September 29

Oktoberfest at Harwood Arms
The party will start early at 11 am for all-day specials including $22 beer steins ($8 refills) and German cuisine including Bavarian sausages, chicken schnitzel sandwiches, and potato pancakes. There’ll be live music starting at 6 pm along with two stein-holding competitions at 5 pm and 8 pm. Admission is free.

Monday, October 2

Oktoberfest Beer Dinner at Urban Crust
Plano wood-fired pizza kitchen will celebrate Oktoberfest with a four-course German-themed beer dinner. Tickets are $65 per person, including tax and gratuity, and the dinner will begin at 6:30 pm.

Aw Shucks restaurant on Lower Greenville in Dallas, circa 1983
Photo courtesy of Aw Shucks
A local oyster bar chain will throw it back to the 80s with an anniversary party.

New Irish pub with very authentic name opens in downtown Dallas

Pub News

Downtown Dallas has a new Irish pub: Called Patrick Kennedy’s Irish Pub, it's on the ground floor of the Downtown Westin Hotel at 1201 Main St. #100, where it replaces NOLA Brasserie, a New Orleans-themed restaurant that was previously at the hotel that closed in May. It opened in mid-September.

Patrick Kennedy's is the latest sibling in a family of Irish pubs from Irish native Alan Kearney that includes Playwright Irish Pub in Dallas Arts District, The Crafty Irishman Public House in downtown Dallas, Trinity College Irish Pub in Fort Worth, and Cannon’s Corner Irish Pub in Oak Cliff. Got all the neighborhoods covered.

This makes the second Irish pub downtown for Kearney, but Crafty Irishman is small and customers are already overflowing. Patrick Kennedy's has 6,500 square feet, with a large high bar, table & booth seating, and a wrap-around outdoor patio.

"This location is a great spot for our concept! We’ve been waiting for something of this size for a while," Kearney says in a statement.

To create a cozy atmosphere, Kearney and his team built out wood walls separating the space into rooms, installed fireplaces, and added Irish paraphernalia for something of interest in every nook.

"Kennedy’s is nestled into a corner that welcomes many tourists into Dallas with hotels and visiting attractions all around," Kearney says. "We aim to be the spot for residents, downtown workers and traveling tourists. A melting pot of customers — giving a wink to the American dream!”

Patrick Kennedy’s Irish Pub is named for JFK’s great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy, whose coming to America was a classic immigrant tale that mirrors Kearney's story, as well.

The menu includes

  • French Onion Soup served in a hollowed-out onion & Pub Chicken and Mushroom Vol Au Vents served in a puff pastry
  • Traditional Irish Breakfast
  • Scotch Eggs

New Ross Sheperd’s Pie and Howth Beer-Battered Fish and Chips are flown in weekly. They also do weekend brunch and Happy Hour with fancy offerings include Irishman Red Ale pints, domestic bottled beers, house wines, well liquor as well as specialty drinks like the Irish Mule, Car Bomb, Green Tea shots and Baby Guinness Shots, Monday-Friday from 2–7 pm. Plus bites including Galway Bay Mussels, Corned Beef & Cabbage Rolls, Irish Nachos, Public House Pretzel, Boneless Wings and Spicy Wisconsin Cheese Curds from 2– 6 pm.