Hup, 2, 3
Would someone please explain the appeal of a parade? People walk or drive slowly down the street, waving. Others stand on the sidewalk and watch. It's like a traffic jam, only with beads and candy. This is fun? Apparently it is, at least to those who have something to be proud of--being Irish-American, or in the military, or, in the case of 2004 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, gay. On Sunday, hundreds of rainbow-flag-waving marchers will trek down Cedar Springs Road from Wycliff Avenue to Lee Park for the 21st version of the parade celebrating gay pride. (Prediction: The next day angry letter writers will contact local media complaining that they showed only images of the four guys in dresses. It's a tradition.) So what do these folks have to be proud of? Thriving while being gay in Texas, for one, and, for another, having great abs, at least judging from the pictures of shirtless men in past parades on www.dallasprideparade.com. The parade begins at 2 p.m. and is followed by closing ceremonies at Lee Park at 5 p.m., featuring Mayor Laura Miller, police Chief David Kunkle and other politicos, and entertainment from the top three finishers in the local Voice of Pride talent competition. --Patrick Williams
Pre-holiday celebration is so ridiculous these days. Remember when holidays weren't hyped up months in advance? Nowadays, valentines go on sale in November, the Cadbury bunny starts squawking on Christmas and You're a Good Labor Day Participant, Charlie Brown plays eight months out of the year. Is it too much to ask for haunted houses to break this pattern and wait until October to open their scary doors? Apparently, the Dallas Scaregrounds FestEvil, 2001 Irving Blvd., thinks so. It opens Friday, 44 days before Halloween. But with this much scary crap, you might need the extra time. The fest, which is open 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays in September and every Thursday through Sunday in October, is essentially a twisted county fair. Booths carry food, booze and merch, and live bands play nightly, as does a freak show that includes acts such as human pincushions and "breasts of versatility." Here's to hoping those two acts aren't somehow combined. The 23,000-square-foot event features three haunted houses, which means even picky bastards should find at least one scary thing at FestEvil. Entry is $3. When you leave the fest, remember to buy Arbor Day merchandise in advance. Visit www.dallasfestevil.com. --Sam Machkovech
We've found the Hello Kitty brand to be as disturbing as it is ubiquitous. This small feline with a grin that says it's plotting evil has risen to power and glory so forcefully it would make Hitler wet himself. Learn about this mighty kitty's economic journey--as well as its plans for world domination--when the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth presents "Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio & the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon" with author Ken Belson at noon September 20 at CityPlace Conference Center, 2711 N. Haskell Ave. It's $35. Call 214-342-2022. --Mary Monigold
Everyone thinks he sounds pretty good in the shower, and it's time to put that to the test with American Standard's Singing in the Shower Contest, which brings the shower out of the bathroom and onto the stage for a fully clothed karaoke smackdown. On Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., contestants (10 of whom are chosen from the audience) will compete in authentic shower facilities at the Stonebriar Centre parking lot between Nordstrom and Macy's at 2601 Preston Road in Frisco. Visit www.americanstandard-us.com. --Mary Monigold
Drink, Drink Again
There are a few things that need to be covered about Oktoberfest before it can fully be enjoyed. Luckily for you, I learned everything I need to know about the annual German shindig at the tender age of 17 during a high school class trip to Europe. Our two-week jaunt included a stop in Germany, where we did what teenagers do when they're in Europe: We spent about two hours a day on tours of historical importance and the other 22 hours either drinking large mugs of beer or recovering from said drinking. Somehow I remembered some things about the German drinking culture. First, the beer is very, very strong. Second, the beer comes in mugs so large you can barely lift them. Third, the people serving the beer often wear short shorts and funny little hats with feathers in them and sometimes, if you're lucky, suspenders--all of which is hilarious after a few of those enormous, strong beers. Finally, even though I didn't make it to Germany during Oktoberfest, I learned that Oktoberfest is pretty much exactly what I described to you, only there's a lot more of it. More drinking, more people, more funny little people in funny little outfits. The next best thing to the real Oktoberfest is the four-day Addison Oktoberfest at Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive, north of Belt Line Road between Addison Road and Quorum Drive. It includes German food, polka dancing, sing-a-longs, clowns, mimes and, of course, beer from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5. Call 1-800-ADDISON or visit www.addisontexas.net. --John Gonzalez
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