Take your Claritin, your Allegra, your Tylenol Allergy, whatever. The time has come again to experience the blooms of nearly 250,000 bulbs. This year marks the most flora ever displayed since Dallas Blooms began 19 years ago. A landscape of thousands of pansies, violas, flowering azaleas and other blooming annuals and perennials await visitors, and all for less than 10 of those green bills.
Bring plenty of color film and plenty of energy as the festival will be replete with activities for the hands-on and for the observer. In line with the theme "Windmills of Color," the Dallas Arboretum and its sponsor Bank One have scheduled a plethora of Dutch-influenced events. The Klompen Dancers, live music and horse-drawn wagon rides are but a few of the activities that will make one yearn for a pair of wooden clogs and a windmill to call his own.
For now, though, we suggest you don some comfy shoes and a mind-set for taking in beauty and culture. The flowers seem limitless and the visual impact is beyond compare. But the braided pigtails and feigned Dutch accent are entirely up to you.
The Dallas Arboretum presents Dallas Blooms from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Saturday through April 20 at 8525 Garland Road. Tickets are $4 to $7, or free for children 2 and under. Parking is $4. Call 214-327-4901.--Merritt Martin
Native Texans are glad to boast that Texas, just like the slogan says, is like a whole other country. (Do other states actually learn their state songs? Do they have songs?) With our largest (screw Alaska) and grandest attitude, we are sometimes suspicious when other states try to foist their customs and foods upon us. The Lee brothers would really like to change that by gently prodding us "furners" into accepting and enjoying foods such as boiled peanuts, pickled ramps and scuppernong jelly.
Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, "Namesake of Antiquated Dances and Chewy Candy," Matt and Ted Lee launched The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalog in 1994 to celebrate their love of Southern home-cooking. Far from being uncredentialed country boys, Matt and Ted also write about cuisine for Travel + Leisure and The New York Times. But if you would be frightened to encounter burgoo in a dark alley, check out the Lee Bros. during Laugh Your Lunch Off, a fund-raiser for the Arts and Letters Live program.
Laugh Your Lunch Off takes place 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Dallas Museum of Art for $25 per person with an optional $11 buffet beginning at 11 a.m. Call 214-922-1220. --Michelle Martinez
A Piece of the Blarney
Call us stereotypical 20-somethings, but we don't think it's a bad thing to enjoy drinking before noon. C'mon, noon is really a subjective term for midday, now isn't it? Would you feel better if it were for charity? On Saturday, join the shamrock-happy masses chugging green beer to benefit the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association and the YWCA for the 24th Annual Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade, beginning at 11 a.m. and traveling from Blackwell to Yale assisted by grand marshal Joe Avezzano. Then, stick around for the pub crawl. Call 214-757-9000.--Merritt Martin
St. Patrick's Day is upon us once again, and that can mean only one thing: drinking. It is the national pastime of the Emerald Isle, right? So, this year, instead of planning on where you'll be watching the parade or deciding which green shirt you'll be wearing, why not brush up on your knowledge of Irish beer? The Whole Foods Market in Highland Park wants to help you do just that with its free Beers of Ireland and Great Britain class. Join their beer specialist for an informal tasting of Irish favorites Harp, Guinness and Wexford beers, as well as Boddington's. Sampled with some Irish cheese from Tipperary, Ireland, this class is sure to get you ready for the big day. The tour is 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Whole Foods Market, 4100 Lomo Alto Drive. Call 214-520-7993.--David Wilson
Take a Stroll
You and the rug rats have been looking at each other all week. You long for adult interaction, and your little ones just long for more things to touch, see and do. You're going to make it. Don't give up. This Saturday, Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park is hosting Garden Walk: Stroller Strut at 10 a.m. Parents and kids (from infants to 3-year-olds) can smell, touch and see an assortment of flowers that covers the spectrum. The pace is stroller- and foot-friendly as the whole point is to relax and explore together. Admission ranges from $1.50 to $3. 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Call 214-428-7476. --Merritt Martin
Who says drinking and driving is a bad thing? Well, actually it is, but hitting the road for a wine tour is OK. In fact, it's great. Just ask Wes Marshall, author of The Wine Roads of Texas: An Essential Guide to Texas Wines and Wineries. Marshall traveled more than 5,000 miles to create this Texas wine guide, in which he appraises more than 400 of the Lone Star State's offerings. The Wine Roads of Texas details three different day trips to 11 wineries in North Texas, including Homestead Winery, Delaney Vineyards and Lone Oak Vineyards. Marshall's book explores the background of each winery and describes the wines it produces. Marshall will be speaking briefly at three book signings in the area. The first stop is at Barnes & Noble in Frisco, 2601 Preston Road, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. Call 972-668-2820. Next up is Barnes & Noble in Arlington, 3909 S. Cooper St., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Call 817-557-1171. And Marshall's final stop will be at the Grapevine Barnes & Noble, 1217 Highway 114 W., 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Call 817-251-1997.--Rhonda Reinhart