It was the weekend my friends met the ever-soulful Erykah Badu in all of her effortless elegance. I couldn't be there with them because of work, but, of course, the one day I didn't go, something extra-special happened. That was a couple of years ago, and now I try not to miss a day of the Deep Ellum Arts Festival. But it isn't just with whom you may bump elbows that makes the festival a worthwhile event. It just seems like all is right with the world along Main Street as passers-by with cold ones in hand peruse the hodgepodge of art and music of the three-day celebration. On one end of the street, you can get your hair braided with multicolored thread and exotic beads and, on the other end, buy original art straight from budding and seasoned artists. Not to mention all of the intricate handmade jewelry you can spend way too much dough coordinating into your wardrobe. The festival turns 10 this year and begins at 5 p.m. April 2 and runs through April 4. Catch Slobberbone and Mandarin along with many other local performers. And if you are a major clotheshorse, check out the fashion shows, which are sure to put a smile on your face (whether it's because of the models or the trends). Where else can you purchase an edgy handcrafted wedding ring set just in time for your July nuptials, personalize your incense stash, sample completely candid slam poetry, listen to eclectic tunes and laugh at ridiculous runway fashions all in one place? It's a free event, of course, because by Sunday you're bound to spend all of Friday's paycheck. Check out www.meifestivals.com. --Jenice Johnson
Four Poets Who Know It
Texas Poet Laureate 2004 Cleatus Rattan and his good buddy, Jack Myers, a former TPL, write without rhyming about Texas skies, stars, light, living, loneliness and love. Myers uses lofty-poet-speak; Rattan rings Texas-true. "Aside from my wife, my kids and a couple of good horses," he recently told us, "nothing has stirred my passion like poetry." Hear a quadruple threat of TPLs at the next Writer's Garret reading at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave., on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Rattan, Myers, Jim Hoggard and Pat Stodghill will spotlight the Lone Star State for National Poetry Month. Tickets are $5 for MAC members and $8 for everyone else. Call 214-828-1715 or see www.writersgarret.org. --Annabelle Massey Helber
Hop on Over
Basenjis in bonnets. Fox terriers in fedoras. Pugs in pajamas. Dachshunds in derbies. Bedeck your dog for the pooch parade sponsored by the SPCA of Texas. Two canines will be crowned king and queen to help the Easter bunny lead the procession through the spring landscape. Stick around for an Easter bone hunt, and don't forget your Easter basket. The $15 entry fee includes a photo with the Easter bunny. Prizes will be given for the most creative costumes, owner-dog look-a-likes and best bone-hunters. One dog per person; all dogs must be on leashes and have proof of current vaccinations. It's Saturday at the SPCA Perry Campus, 8411 FM 720, McKinney. Registration begins at 10 a.m. followed by activities at 10:30 a.m. Call 972-562-7297. --Glenna Whitley
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No Sour Grapes
Grapevine gives itself props with four wine events
Texans aren't just good at drinking. They're good at making the drinks, too. With a three-century winemaking history, Texas is ranked the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the country. Hop on board the Grapevine Vintage Railroad's New Vintage Jazz Wine Train on Friday or Saturday and celebrate that lone range in grandeur. The $50 wine and dinner pairing includes a commemorative glass and jazz performance by Jeff Taylor Brass. Boarding begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Grapevine Cotton Belt Railroad Depot, 705 S. Main. Visit www.gvrr.com. The weekend's celebrations kick off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 S. Main St., with notions from 24 area restaurants during The Great Taste of Grapevine. Tickets are $20. Saturday's activities begin at 11 a.m. with the Blessing of the Vines and Wines ceremony by Father Ken Robinson at Delaney Vineyards, 2000 Champagne Blvd., followed by activities from noon until 6 p.m. at the six winery tasting rooms along the "wine trail." Tickets are $35 or $7 per winery. Call 817-410-3185 or visit www.grapevinetexasusa.com. --Danna Berger
A festival that's sailing on a string and a prayer
The Peanuts comic strip has done much to warn its readers of several of society's hidden dangers. Don't seek psychiatric help from a lemonade stand; don't trust that same psychiatrist when she wants you to kick a football. But possibly the greatest truth learned from Charlie Brown and his gang is that the kite-eating tree will always devour your kite. If you don't believe this great Schulzian wisdom, then try your luck out when the Cedar Hill Parks and Recreation Department presents the Great North Texas Kite Festival. The town of Cedar Hill derives its name more from its evergreen trees than its altitude. Cedar trees are notoriously sticky, making them the hungriest and most snaggletoothed of the kite-eating family. It takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at Valley Ridge Park, 2850 Park Ridge Drive, Cedar Hill. Admission is free. Call 972-291-5130. --Jay Webb