If you had absolutely any lingering doubt, despite the calendar indicating it’s well past March 21, that spring had sprung in Fort Worth, then the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival is the annual guarantor of the shedding of winter and the greeting of hoped-for sunny spring.
Set in its habitual April slot (April 10-13), this year’s edition of the Festival will again bring to a newly revitalized Sundance Square the same magical mix of visual and performance art, live concerts, and scrumptious food – all to be enjoyed by thousands and thousands of smiling visitors to, and residents of, Fort Worth and a big swath of North Texas.
And no wonder they’re smiling, given all that Main Street offers. If the weather cooperates, and it often does, then perhaps no other Fort Worth-centric activity than Main Street offers patrons that magical intersection of spring sunshine, mind-boggling displays of all manner of art from local, regional and national artists, a staggering variety of street food, and an even more ear-opening display of musical and performance art entertainment.
Let’s consider the musical possibilities for just a moment. Over a four-day period, a typical Main Street Arts festival visitor can gorge on, among many others, everyone from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, to the Chinese Acrobats of Hebei, New Orleans-own Breggett Rideau, the supple jazz piano of Eddie Palmieri, the Chisolm Trail Cowboys, the blues power of Johnnie Red and the Roosters, Fort Worth’s very own Mexican folkloric masters in Ballet Folklorico Azteca, the area’s most accomplished Beatles tribute band, Me and My Monkey, Cliburn piano gold medalist, Vadym Kholodenko, the caliente rhythms of Latin Express, to such big-name headliners as the Robert Cray Band, Memphis soulsters, Mingo Fishtrap, and the working class singer-songwriter magic of Bob Schneider.
Then there is the heart and soul of the festival, it’s sprawling visual art offerings. Well over 200 regional, local, national, and even international artists will be setting up their mini-galleries under the by-now distinctive white canopies and tents of Main Street – where patrons can inspect and are encouraged to purchase that new bit of art to decorate their home. The range of art is somewhat staggering, from paintings to sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, photography, wood, mixed-media, digital, pastels, glass, to leather and jewelry.
Of course, in order to maintain the required energy level to appreciate both the art and the music, food is a must. And Main Street is all about the widest range of street-food available. Look one way and there’s crawfish, fajitas, jambalaya and gumbo, handmade crepes, German style kettle corn, veggie fried rice, grilled chicken wings, steak sandwiches, beef ribs, sausage on a stick, roasted corn, baked potatoes with chopped brisket, or loaded with cheese, bacon bits, and sour cream, bratwurst, turkey legs, burritos, foot-long hot dogs, Frito pies, nachos and all manner of burgers. Look another way and spy funnel cakes, chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas, frozen custard, cotton candy, Sno Cones, cream puffs, apple crisp, and ice cream are calling your name. Wet your whistle with everything from Coke and Pepsi and Dr. Pepper to freshly-squeezed lemonade, sweet tea, and smoothies of all varieties, Coors Light beer, mojitos, various Texan wines along with your favorite frozen (or unfrozen) margaritas. So much, if not all, of the food is provided by a who’s who of local restaurants including Reata and Schakolad, with McKinney’s and Fletcher’s Corny Dogs providing, yep, you guessed it, all those irresistible corn dogs and funnel cakes, while Riscky’s and Leisure Foods keeps the turkey legs coming.
Details: Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival runs from April 10-13 in downtown Fort Worth. Free admission. No pets allowed though all service animals are welcome. Certain activities along with food and beverage require purchase of coupons. Free water stations. ATM machines located throughout the festival. Coupon prices: 10 coupons for $10. Individual coupons for $1. Bike riders are welcome and they can park their ride for free at the Bike Corral, located at 4th and Commerce in downtown. Also 14 bike-sharing stations located within walking distance of the festival. Much more information is available at www.mainstreetartsfest.org