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Photo courtesy of The Star

For diehard football fans — and for those who can never get enough Christmas spirit — this is truly the most wonderful time of year. And right now, it’s prime time at The Star District in Frisco.

The corporate headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys has also decked the halls (and the end zones) with some serious holiday star power.

Here’s how to get in the game and experience all the cheer of Christmas at The Star:

Make the holidays lit
The Cowboys Christmas Extravaganza, powered by Reliant, is the touchdown of the festive season. Held on Tostitos Championship Plaza, the electrifying, 20-minute show ignites The Star with game-day-worthy thrills and Christmas dazzle — and it all kicks off with a performance by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

The lighting of the 67-foot LED Christmas tree is a fan favorite; the towering, illuminated stunner is synched with original music and pyrotechnics. Also on the roster are appearances by Cowboys football legends along with a lineup of performers, including the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue, Cowboys Rookie Squad, Rowdy, and a special appearance by Santa Claus.

It all goes down on Fridays and Saturdays from December 2-17.

Go behind the field
After the Christmas Extravaganza, reserve an exclusive guided Christmas Tour of The Star, presented by SeatGeek, and experience the place where the Cowboys train and work 355 days of the year.

In addition to all the behind-the-scenes action, the holiday edition of these tours comes with additional sweet perks like Christmas cookies and limited-edition Cowboys ornaments. Tours will be held on December 2, 9, 16, and 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Pay a visit to Old Saint Nick
Cowboys fans with little ones in tow need look no further than this Santa photo opp at The Star. The jolly chap will be ensconced at his Cowboys-themed cottage, presented by Monument Realty, through Friday, December 24.

Spike your holiday shopping
Seasonal flavors — and lots of amazing shopping — await at the Christmas Sip & Stroll on Thursday, December 15, where many of The Star’s restaurants and shops will fill your glass while you browse.

Plus, look for complimentary gift customization opportunities and exclusive offers, carolers and Christmas music, photo moments, and more.

When you check in, you’ll get a stroll map, tasting glass, and a holiday shopping tote so you’re well-prepared for three hours of shopping and socializing with a twist.

Make your list, check it twice, and book a staycay
Multitask in the best way possible with holiday dining and shopping in The Star District. But first, do yourself a favor and book a room at the Omni Frisco Hotel, where they’re offering holiday specials all season long.

From there, you’ll be mere steps away from all the places to get your holiday shopping handled — especially with the brand-new stores J. Hilburn and Monkee’s along with fan faves like Lucchese, Flea Style, and Luxe Eyewear.

Then, step into The Gents Place, Hiatus Spa, Tangerine Salon, or Cherry Blow Dry to give the gift of self-care to yourself and grab a few gift cards for friends.

Dine and be merry
The Star also has no shortage of places to feast and fest. On Fridays in December, grab a special holiday lunch at Dee Lincoln Prime, complete with a Prime rib bar.

Over at Lombardi Cucina Italiana, don’t miss cheer-laden events like their Tinsels, Tinis, and Toddies Brunch on December 11 and Holiday Truffle Dinner on December 13.

For brand-new scene-stealers, The Glen and its exclusive scotch bar The Monarch Stag were made for that holiday vibe with a mystically unique atmosphere, lush florals, provocative lighting, and incredible food and drink. Snowbird Cocktail Lounge & Kitchen is another sleek newbie that’s not to be missed.

And of course, seasoned faves like Cane Rosso, City Works, Mi Cocina, Wahlburgers, and more are tried-and-true for day and night.

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Explore all the ways to make your holiday merry and bright at The Star here

Photo courtesy of The Star

The lighting of the 67-foot LED Christmas tree is a fan favorite.

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Caroline Garcia defeats Aryna Sabalenka to win 2022 WTA Finals title in Fort Worth

Acing the competition

Caroline Garcia raised the trophy as 2022 WTA Finals champion at Fort Worth's Dickies Arena on Monday, November 7. No. 6-seed Garcia defeated No. 7-seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(4), 6-4 before an excited crowd in the championship match.

"I really went for it and I'm really, really happy to have win my biggest title," Garcia said.

Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens of Belgium defeated defending champs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic in a nailbiter - 6-2, 4-6, 11-9 - to earn the doubles title.

WTA Finals Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens (left) defeated defending double champs\u00a0Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. Getty Images

The championship brought the week-long tournament to a rousing conclusion. The WTA Finals are the prestigious year-end finale for the Women’s Tennis Association, featuring the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world.

Fort Worth hosted the tournament for the first time, October 31-November 7, after it was moved from Shenzhen, China. It's the first time the contest had been staged in North Texas, and the first time it was in the United States since 2005.

The top eight singles players who competed in a round robin-style tournament were:

No. 1 Iga Swiatek (Poland)
No. 2 Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
No 3 Jessica Pegula (United States)
No. 4 Coco Gauff (United States)
No. 5 Maria Sakkari (Greece)
No. 6 Caroline Garcia (France)
No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka*
No. 8 Daria Kasatkina*

WTA Finals Runner-up Sabalenka received a glass sculpture created by Sinaca Glass Studios in Fort Worth. Getty Images

The total prize money pool for the tournament is $5 million. The singles winner takes home more than $1.5 million.

In addition to receiving a slightly smaller cash prize, the runners up in both singles and doubles took home beautiful glass sculptures created by Fort Worth's Sinaca Glass Studios. Everyone left Fort Worth with a cowboy hat, also presented on-court.

Championship night brought the largest and most engaged crowd of the tournament - split down the middle, it seemed, for both Garcia and Sabalenka.

"Today's atmosphere was pretty amazing," Garcia said. "I mean the fans really, like, enjoyed a lot the show. In US it's always like this, they love tennis, just love the show they give you. Right from the beginning they were really into it and I think they helped us to bring our best tennis. They were supporting both of us, and it was really nice and really respectful for everyone."

Added Sabalenka, "The atmosphere was unbelievable. I mean, I, to be honest, I didn't expect that my support for me here, and people support me a lot here, and I really enjoyed every second playing. It was, atmosphere was unbelievable. Really."

Sabalenka had stunned the tennis world when she upset top-seed and world No. 1 Swiatek in the semifinals November 6. Swiatek had dominated the tournament - not yet losing a set - as she had dominated women's tennis all year long.

Garcia had defeated Sakkari in the semifinals to make it to the championship.

(*Per WTA style, players native to Russia and Belarus do not have their country listed.)

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Stunning defeat sets up surprising championship matchup at WTA Finals in North Texas

Game, Set, World-class matchups

The championship tennis match is set for the WTA Finals at Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena on Monday, November 7 - and it’s a matchup few might have seen coming.

No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka upset world No. 1 and top seed Iga Swiatek of Poland in an often lopsided three-set semifinal match Sunday night. Sabalenka will play for the title against No. 6 seed Caroline Garcia of France, who had defeated No. 5 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece in their semifinal meeting Sunday afternoon.

Sabalenka and Swiatek battled in a 2-hour-and-7-minute semifinal match in front of one of the largest Fort Worth crowds of the tournament, which began October 31. In front of a largely pro-Swiatek audience (as evidenced by the number of red and white Polish flags, T-shirts, scarves, and signs), Sabalenka prevailed 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

"She deserves the win and congrats to her," Swiatek said after the match.

Swiatek had dominated the WTA Finals as she’d dominated the year in women’s tennis - she had not yet dropped a set in the tournament. She ends the year with a 67-9 win-loss record, and eight singles titles, including two Grand Slams.

Iga Swiatek Iga Swiatek is the No. 1 women's tennis player in the world. Al Bello/Getty Images

"On one hand I'm sad that I lost, but on the other hand I have one more day off. That's something on a bright side," Swiatek said. "This season has been so intense and I'm so proud of myself that I could play so well till the end of it."

Details of the Sabalenka-Swiatek match can be found here.

The WTA Finals are the prestigious year-end finale for the Women’s Tennis Association, featuring the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world.

Fort Worth is hosting the tournament for the first time, after it was moved from Shenzhen, China.

The total prize money pool is $5 million.

"It's the last match of the season and I'm ready to give everything I have," Sabalenka said of the final.

Caroline Garcia, WTA Finals Caroline Garcia defeated Maria Sakkari in the semifinal round. Getty Images

Of the championship, Garcia said, "I would like to put pressure on her obviously, and to be able to use [her] ball as well. But I will try to play my game."

The championship singles match between Garcia and Sabalenka will take place at 8 pm Monday, November 7 at Dickies Arena.

It will follow the championship doubles match featuring defending champs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova against Veronika Kudermetova and Elise Mertens, which begins at 5:30 pm.

More information on the WTA Finals is here and tickets to the championship matches are here.

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Facebook/Megan Kay Photography

Bachelor-billionaire wedding tops this week's 5 most popular Dallas stories

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Bachelor favorite marries billionaire's son in lavish Dallas wedding. A Bachelor runner-up in 2020 won her happily ever after two years later in Dallas: Madison Prewett married Dallas native Grant Troutt in a glamorous, reality TV star-studded celebration at his folks' house on Saturday, October 29.

2. Dallas-based art store chain is calling it quits after 71 years. After 71 years, a revered Dallas-based art store chain is calling it quits. Asel Art Supply, first founded in downtown Dallas in 1951, is closing all its stores as of December 31. That includes locations in Richardson, Arlington, Fort Worth, two in San Antonio, and one in Lubbock.

3. Chef driven restaurant off Oak Lawn Dallas closes despite a year of acclaim. After just a year, an acclaimed restaurant in Dallas' Oak Lawn neighborhood is closing: Modest Rogers, the ambitious mom-and-pop from chef Modesto Rodriguez has decided to close.

4. World's top women tennis players start final showdown of 2022 in North Texas. It's not as famous as Wimbledon or the US Open, but the WTA Finals will crown a new queen of the women's pro tennis tour in North Texas - and all are invited to court. For the first time, Fort Worth hosts the prestigious year-end finale for the WTA, featuring the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world, through Monday, November 7.

5. Apartment rents finally start to decline in Dallas and across the U.S. In good news for renters, rates finally appear to be dropping in Dallas and across the U.S. — and it's a trend predicted to prevail through the end of 2022. After more than a year of record-setting rent hikes, rent prices decreased in October for the second month in a row, according to a report by Apartment List.

Photo courtesy of WTA

World's top women tennis players start final showdown of 2022 in North Texas

Game, set, world-class match-ups

UPDATE 11-5-2022: The semifinalists are set. All semifinal matches take place Sunday, November 6 at Dickies Arena. The schedule is:

Day Session - 1:30 pm start:
(1) Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) & Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) vs (5) Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukraine) & Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Not before 3:30 pm:
(5) Maria Sakkari (Greece) vs (6) Caroline Garcia (France)

Night Session - 7 pm start:
(1) Iga Swiatek (Poland) vs (7) Aryna Sabalenka
Followed by:
(4) Veronika Kudermetova & Elise Mertens (Belgium) vs (8) Desirae Krawczyk (USA) & Demi Schuurs (Netherlands)

More information is here and tickets are here.

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It's not as famous as Wimbledon or the US Open, but the WTA Finals will crown a new queen of the women's pro tennis tour in North Texas this week - and all are invited to court.

For the first time, Fort Worth hosts the prestigious year-end finale for the WTA, featuring the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world. Singles players vying for title, and their rankings, are:

No. 1 Iga Swiatek (Poland)
No. 2 Ons Jabeur (Tunisia)
No 3 Jessica Pegula (United States)
No. 4 Coco Gauff (United States)
No. 5 Maria Sakkari (Greece)
No. 6 Caroline Garcia (France)
No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka*
No. 8 Daria Kasatkina*

U.S. superstars Gauff and Pegula are also competing in doubles.

The "round robin"-style competition will take place October 31-November 7 at Dickies Arena, and tickets start at $20.

The prestigious year-end finale has been moved to Fort Worth from Shenzhen, China, for one year only, WTA officials say. It's the first time the contest has been staged in North Texas, and the first time it's in the United States in 17 years. The total prize money pool is $5 million.

Players assembled at Fort Worth's Hotel Drover for a celebration and "draw party" on Friday, October 28. (More on the groupings, draws, and prize money each player picks up throughout each round here.)

Each day in the first rounds, play starts at 3 pm, and both singles and doubles matches will be played. Friday through Sunday, play begins at 1:30 pm. The finals in both doubles and singles will take place at 5:30 pm and 8 pm respectively, Monday, November 7.

The initial order of play, on October 31 and November 1 is:

Monday, October 31
3 pm:
(1) Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) & Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) vs (8) Desirae Krawczyk (USA) & Demi Schuurs (Netherlands)
Not before 5 pm:
(3) Jessica Pegula (USA) vs (5) Maria Sakkari (Greece)
Not before 7 pm:
(2) Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) vs (7) Aryna Sabalenka
Followed by:
(3) Coco Gauff (USA) & Jessica Pegula (USA) vs (6) Yifan Xu (China) & Zhaoxuan Yang (China)

Tuesday, November 1
3 pm:
(4) Veronika Kudermetova & Elise Mertens (Belgium) vs (5) Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukraine) & Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Not Before 5 pm:
(1) Iga Swiatek (Poland) vs (8) Daria Kasatkina
Not before 7 pm:
(4) Coco Gauff (USA) vs (6) Caroline Garcia (France)
Followed by:
(2) Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) & Giuliana Olmos (Mexico) vs (7) Anna Danilina (Kazakhstan) & Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)

"I’m super excited to be in the finals," says top-ranked Swiatek. "I feel like it’s a celebration of what we’ve done in the past year. I’m just proud to be here."

The eyes of the tennis world will be on DFW, too. According to NBC5, the matches will be broadcast in 160 countries to a projected viewing audience of 900 million people. Find coverage at tennischannel.com.

To keep up with the tournament, follow WTA on Facebook or visit the website.

(*Per WTA style, players native to Russia and Belarus do not have their country listed.)

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UPDATES per WTA:

Order of play for Wednesday, November 2 is:

Singles Nancy Richey Group • Doubles Rosie Casals Group
3 pm start:
(1) Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) & Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) vs (6) Yifan Xu (China) & Zhaoxuan Yang (China)
Not before 5 pm:
(2) Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) vs (3) Jessica Pegula (USA)
Not before 7 pm:
(5) Maria Sakkari (Greece) vs (7) Aryna Sabalenka
Followed by:
(3) Coco Gauff (USA) & Jessica Pegula (USA) vs (8) Desirae Krawczyk (USA) & Demi Schuurs (Netherlands)

What happens now in singles:

Sakkari advances if she wins in straight sets Wednesday (Position in group tbd)

If Sakkari and Pegula win Wednesday, Sakkari advances as group winner and Jabeur is eliminated. (Pegula and Sabalenka would play for second spot Friday)

If Sabalenka and Jabeur win Wednesday, Sabalenka advances as group winner and Pegula is eliminated. (Sakkari and Jabeur would play for second spot Friday)

Pegula is eliminated if she loses in straight sets Wednesday

Any other combination of results will mean advancement comes down to the final matches.

What happens now in doubles:

Krejcikova & Siniakova advance if they win in straight sets Wednesday (Position in group tbd)

If Krejcikova & Siniakova and Krawczyk & Schuurs win Wednesday, Krejcikova & Siniakova advance as group winner and Gauff & Pegula is eliminated. (Krawczyk & Schuurs and Xu & Yang would play for second spot Friday)

If Xu & Yang and Gauff & Pegula win Wednesday, Xu & Yang advance as group winner and Krawczyk & Schuurs are eliminated. (Krejcikova & Siniakova and Gauff & Pegula would play for second spot Friday)

Krawczyk & Schuurs is eliminated if they lose in straight sets Wednesday

Any other combination of results will mean advancement comes down to the final matches.

Order of play for Thursday, November 3 is:

3 pm start:
(2) Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) & Giuliana Olmos (Mexico) vs (5) Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukraine) & Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)
Not Before 5 pm:
(1) Iga Swiatek (Poland) vs vs (6) Caroline Garcia (France)
Not before 7 pm:
(4) Coco Gauff (USA) vs (8) Daria Kasatkina
Followed by: (4) Veronika Kudermetova & Elise Mertens (Belgium) vs (7) Anna Danilina (Kazakhstan) & Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)

Round robin advancement scenarios in singles for Thursday:

If Swiatek and Kasatkina win, Swiatek advances as group winner, Gauff is eliminated (Kasatkina and Garcia would play for the No.2 spot on Saturday)

If Swiatek wins in straight sets and Gauff wins in three sets, Swiatek advances (position tbd)

If Garcia and Gauff win, Garcia advances as group winner, Kasatkina is eliminated (Gauff and Swiatek play for the No.2 spot on Saturday)

If Garcia wins in straight sets and Kasatkina wins in three sets, Garcia advances (position tbd)

Any other combination of results will mean qualification comes down to final matches.

Round robin scenarios in doubles for Thursday:

Danilina & Haddad Maia advance if they win in straight sets Thursday (Position in group tbd)

If Danilina & Haddad Maia and Dabrowski & Olmos win Thursday, Danilina & Haddad Maia advance as group winner and Kichenok & Ostapenko are eliminated. (Dabrowski & Olmos and Kudermetova & Mertens would play for second spot Saturday)

If Kudermetova & Mertens and Kichenok & Ostapenko win Thursday, Kudermetova & Mertens advance as group winner and Dabrowski & Olmos is eliminated. (Danilina & Haddad Maia and Kichenok & Ostapenko would play for second spot Saturday)

Dabrowski & Olmos is eliminated if they lose in straight sets Thursday.

Any other combination of results will mean qualification comes down to the final matches.

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UPDATES 11-4-2022:

Order of Play:

Friday, November 4
Singles Nancy Richey Group • Doubles Rosie Casals Group
Day Session - 1:30 pm Start
(6) Yifan Xu (China) & Zhaoxuan Yang (China) vs (8) Desirae Krawczyk (USA) & Demi Schuurs (Netherlands)
Not before 3:30 pm:
(3) Jessica Pegula (USA) vs (7) Aryna Sabalenka
Night Session - 7 pm Start
(2) Ons Jabeur (Tunisia) vs (5) Maria Sakkari (Greece)
Followed by:
(1) Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) & Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) vs (3) Coco Gauff (USA) & Jessica Pegula (USA)

Rosie Casals Doubles Group Standings & Advancement Scenarios: Krejcikova & Siniakova have won the group. The winner Friday between Krawczyk & Schuurs and Xu & Yang will claim the second position. Gauff & Pegula cannot advance.

Saturday, November 5
Singles Tracy Austin Group • Doubles Pam Shriver Group
Day Session - 1:30 pm start
(5) Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukraine) & Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) vs (7) Anna Danilina (Kazakhstan) & Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)
Not before 3:30 pm:
(6) Caroline Garcia (France) vs (8) Daria Kasatkina
Night Session - 7 pm start
(1) Iga Swiatek (Poland) vs (4) Coco Gauff (USA)
Followed by:
(2) Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) & Giuliana Olmos (Mexico) vs (4) Veronika Kudermetova & Elise Mertens (Belgium)

Tracy Austin Singles Group Advancement Scenarios:
Swiatek has won the group. The winner Friday between Garcia and Kasatkina will claim the second position. Gauff cannot advance.

To keep up with the tournament, follow WTA on Facebook or visit the website.

EarthX Film and Dickies Skateboarding presents The 4DWN Experience

EarthX Film and Dickies Skateboarding are partnering with the 4DWN Project, a South Dallas nonprofit, to celebrate the power of sport, art, and mindful community collaboration to drive progress towards a healthy, sustainable future for the planet. Pro skaters Rob Cahill (4DWN's founder) and Mike Crum will host professional skaters from around the world as they show off their skills in a Pro Vert Ramp Best Trick Contest.

Cahill and Crum will also mentor young and aspiring skaters from the greater Dallas area. Skaters will have the opportunity to show off their skills on 4DWN's pro vert ramp, concrete bowl, street skate course, mini-ramp, and 5,000-square-foot indoor skate park.

Funds raised by the event will support 4DWN's "community of communities" in providing an all-inclusive space to celebrate self-expression through skateboarding with hands-on outreach, education, and empowerment.

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Texas hot spot hooks No. 1 ranking as best college city in America

Studies Show, Study Here

It might be a bit reductive to call Austin a college town, but that's what makes it so good. It certainly benefits from the creativity and industry of college living, but there's a lot more to do than go to gentrified lunches and cool, underground shows.

Recognizing this special balance, financial website WalletHub has declared Austin the No. 1 college city in the United States for 2023, beating out some obvious contenders like Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being the best city overall, Austin also tops the large cities list, and is one of only two Texas locales represented in the top 10 of any category; the other is College Station, No. 6 on the small list.

The most represented state, perhaps not surprisingly, is Florida, with four cities in the overall top 10. The top 10 college cities for 2023, according to WalletHub, are:

1. Austin
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Gainesville, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Rexburg, Idaho
7. Provo, Utah
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Miami
10. Raleigh, North Carolina

And how did Austin make the grade? WalletHub looked at key metrics across three categories to determine the rankings.

Austin scored best, No. 12, in the “social environment” category, determined by metrics like students per capita; breweries, cafés, and food trucks per capita; and safety issues like vaccination and crime statistics.

Its ranking at No. 21 in the “academic & economic opportunities" category puts it in the 95th percentile, even above Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, famous for their Ivy League prevalence.

And perhaps unsurprising to those who currently reside in Austin, the Capital City ranked worst in "wallet friendliness,” at No. 204 out of 415.

Elsewhere in Texas, El Paso did well on the overall list at No. 36, followed by Houston (No. 64), Dallas (99), Fort Worth (153), and San Antonio (169).

Dallas landed well down the list in every category: wallet friendliness (226), academic & economic opportunities (168), and social environment (147).

Fort Worth fell even farther down the list in the same categories: wallet friendliness (242), academic & economic opportunities (201), and social environment (149).

Notably, cities that tend to fall lower in similar studies ranked relatively well among college towns.

These are the 9 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Christmas spirit is in full swing, with all but one of this week’s events being holiday-themed. Check off pics with Santa for both the family and fur babies; take a Christmas cocktail-making class; sample holiday spirits from around the world; and stroll acres of candlelit walkways while indulging in holiday hors d’oeuvres and drinks – just to name a few. ‘Tis the season.

Tuesday, December 6

Caymus Wine Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Decadent four-course meal features pairings with wines from award-winning Caymus. Courses include Stuffed Mushrooms with Shrimp, Rigatoni Al Forno with Chicken, Filet & Scallop Spiedino with Mashed Potatoes, and Crème Brulée, paired with Caymus wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Conundrum Red Blend. The dinner is $75 starts at 6:30 pm. For the Dallas location, reserve here, and for Plano, reserve here.

Fontodi Wine Dinner at La Stella Cucina Verace
The Dallas Arts District Italian restaurant will host a five-course dinner paired with wines from Fontodi, a producer located in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. Courses will include beef carpaccio, butternut squash cappellacci with brown butter and sage, porchetta di Pienza with marble potatoes, Wagyu New York strip tagliata with porcini mushroom and butternut squash, and apple crostata. Dinner begins at 7 pm and is $175 plus tax and gratuity.

Thursday, December 8

Santa Paws at Texican Court Hotel
The Irving hotel invites furry friends and their humans to pop by for photos with Santa and complimentary hot apple cider and s’mores by the fire. Santa will be available for pet photos from 5-7 pm. Also enter to win a “Pups Night Away” overnight stay. Don’t miss the hotel’s pocket tequila bar, Salt, for new holiday cocktails in jolly keepsake glassware.

Reindeer Games Bar Crawl
Here’s a holiday bar crawl that spans beyond just drink specials. Participants get their money’s worth with a night of mini golf, axe throwing, unlimited video games, a chartered “sleigh bus,” and a pizza buffet. Start at Another Round and make stops at Flashback Retro Pub, LoneStar Axe Dallas, and Sylvan Avenue Tavern. Participants will also get a beer or seltzer at each stop. Tickets are $150 per duo, and the crawl will run from 6:15-10:30 pm.

Holiday Spirits Around the World at Hotel Vin
Sample an array of global spirits during this tasting experience at Grapevine’s Hotel Vin. Spirits to be served include Montenegro Italian liqueur, The Dalmore Scottish whiskey, Komo tequila, and Horse Soldier bourbon. Each spirit will be paired with globally-inspired bites. The tasting is $50 and will begin at 7 pm.

Friday, December 9

Cocktails by Candlelight at Old City Park
Candlelight will feature more than 13 acres of holiday cheer with decorated buildings, carolers, craft vendors, and candlelit walkways in Old City Park. Its 50th edition is set to begin on December 10, but adults only can get a sneak peek the night before during Cocktails by Candlelight, which comes with heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple, and the event begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, December 10

Shaken, Not Stirred, Holiday Cocktail Class at Elm & Good
The modern American restaurant inside the Kimpton Pittman Hotel will host a holiday cocktail class great for groups looking to make spirits bright. Elm & Good’s lead mixologist Indy Acevedo-Fowler will guide guests through creating three cocktails: a cranberry margarita, peppermint espresso martini, and sangria rosa. Guests will also receive a branded take-away gift. The class is $35 and will begin at 2 pm.

Sunday, December 11

Brunch with Santa at the AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria
Meet the big guy himself while indulging in brunch dishes during this family-friendly Sunday Funday. Tickets are $25 for adults (includes one mimosa) and $15 for kids 3-12. Children will get to meet Santa and take family photos. Brunch will run from 11:30 am-1:30 pm.

Monday, December 12

12 Days of Thompson
The Thompson Hotel Dallas will spread Christmas cheer with 12 days of daily holiday activations. The festivities start Monday with Home Alone, S’mores & Sips, a movie night with cocktails themed after the Christmas classic, a s’mores bar, and movie screening amid downtown views. The price is a $15 charitable donation. Doors opens at 5 pm with the movie to start at 6 pm. Other 12 Days of Thompson events range from a pie-baking class and cookie decorating to brunch with Santa and Holiday High Tea. See the complete calendar of events here.

Dedicated volunteers extract Spaghetti Warehouse trolley from Dallas' West End

Trolley News

Thanks to a dedicated team of conservation-minded folks, the vintage trolley from the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas' West End has been moved to a temporary new home: in a warehouse at Orr-Reed Architectural Co., the salvage store just south of downtown Dallas, which will provide a safe space for the vehicle while it undergoes a restoration.

A permanent home is still TBD, but Orr-Reed will be housing the trolley for at least the next 12 months.

The trolley was one of the original streetcars that ran through East Dallas nearly a century ago. It surged to fame in 2019 when Spaghetti Warehouse closed after 47 years, and the company held a giant auction of its extensive collection of memorabilia.

The streetcar got a bid from an anonymous buyer, but that buyer bailed once they encountered the difficulties of removing the trolley from the location.

The trolley was donated to the Junius Heights Historic District, a neighborhood association in Old East Dallas who wanted to save the trolley because of its role in the original streetcar program that was key to the establishment of Junius Heights.

Orr-Reed is providing the space and backup manpower for free.

"The first time it went on the auction block, I wanted to buy it because I'm obsessed with keeping the city’s history," says Orr-Reed owner Hannah Hargrove. "Dallas is known for tearing things down and replacing it with bigger and better things, but 'bigger and better' only lasts 50 years. Since we have the space, we wanted to be helpful in providing the trolley's next chapter of life."


spaghetti warehouse trolley A team unloads the Spaghetti Warehouse trolley into a warehouse at Orr-Reed.Johann Huebschmann

The move
JD Middleton, who builds out restaurants and bars for his "day job," oversaw a team of volunteers who broke the trolley down into pieces and transported it to the new location.

"My buddy JJ Velez and I saw it in the news, we both had a personal connection," Middleton says. "My grandfather drove the trolley, it's possible he drove that one, while JJ had seen it when he was a little kid, after the Christmas parade in downtown Dallas."

With another friend, Randy Lasiter, assisting, they volunteered to do it on a 100 percent volunteer basis. For the past six months, they've been going there in the early morning, before heading to their regular job sites.

"We do a lot of crazy things for customer requests, and this was right up our alley," Middleton says.

This entailed cutting the exterior into parts: removing the front and back "nose pieces," breaking down the body of the trolley into panels, then splitting up the chassis foundation — like a vertebrae that they cut up, to be reassembled by a welder.

Middleton says that Uncle Dan’s Pawn Shop donated saw blades and trailers and other equipment, as did Frida's Social Club on McKinney Avenue, who provided a big trailer and truck to haul it over to Orr-Reed.

Middleton assembled a group of friends who spent four hours on December 3, loading the trolley piece-by-piece onto trailers, then unloading it at Orr-Reed. He's also volunteered to help restore it.

"There's some rusting on the inside, it's like an old Ford Model-T that's been sitting in a garage," he says. "We'll get it sand-blasted and primed and painted, then put it back together again."

Their work is saving the Junius Heights Historic District hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It's like an art project for us, and we're getting the opportunity to help take care of history," Middleton says. "JJ ate there when he was a little kid, and he'd like to take his kid to see it when it's finished. That’s why we're doing it."


Spaghetti Warehouse trolley Spaghetti Warehouse trolley, in pieces.Johann Huebschmann

The new home
The Junius Heights group does not yet have a permanent home for the trolley, nor a plan for how it will be managed or maintained. Details details.

For now, it resides in Orr-Reed's "dry house" — a warehouse they've used for overflow and for items that need to be kept out of the elements such as big furniture items, casement windows, and things that cannot get wet.

Hargrove and her staff built shelving and redesigned the warehouse to make it work.

"It'll definitely affect our day-to-day routine — there's a giant cumbersome trolley that's taking up space — but it’s worth it," Hargrove says. "If we hadn't done it, they would have had to spend a lot of money on storing it rather than restoring it. I'm a keeper of history, it’s my duty, although I've never done anything on this scale."

"We're not doing it for the money, we're doing it because someone has to," she says. "I feel like I'm doing the right thing."