If you didn't notice, there was a period there when Deep Ellum had a bit of a hard time. Bars closed. Concert venues closed. The tattoo parlors, well, the tattoo parlors seemed oddly unaffected. But you get the idea. General downtrodeness.
But now, with places like Pecan Lodge moving in and cool kid bars re-opening, Deep Ellum seems like it's back. And we're all lucky to have it. But there's one part of Deep Ellum that never went anywhere. The Deep Ellum Arts Festival is celebrating 20 straight years of outdoor music and art, taking over the streets this year April 4- 6.
What started in 1995 as a one block street party now spans six blocks and has turned itself into one of the largest visual and performing Arts Festivals in North Texas. At this year's festival, you can watch over 100 live musical acts on 5 different stages. And you can eat yourself stupid at food booths from over 30 local restaurants. But one of the main attractions of the Deep Ellum Arts Festival is still the art.
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Over 200 artists will have booths this year showing and selling everything from crafts and jewelry to fine art. So wander around. Discover some art. Some of it's a little weird and some of it really is art with a capital A. But if you spend the day looking at over 200 artists and don't find at least one treasure you just can't live without, you may be doing it wrong.
And hey, if art isn't your thing, maybe checking out the mystery and magic that is your fellow human beings floats your boat. Because, besides the art, music and food, The Deep Ellum Arts Festival is also a great place to people watch. We're talking State Fair levels of people watching here. It takes all kinds, folks. And you'll see their plumage on full display. Soak it in. Oh, and did I mention there's a Sunday pet parade down Main Street? Because there is. If that's what you're into.
So, we've covered a lot of ground. Mostly because there's a lot to see and do. But you may have one more question. Can I bring the little ones? Should I bring the little ones? The festival's website describes Deep Ellum as "an edgy adult oriented area with bars, nightclubs, restaurants and galleries." So sure, leash 'em up and bring 'em. Just don't expect a bounce house. And if you do happen to find a bounce house in Deep Ellum, well, just keep them out unless they've had all their shots.
More information, including a full roster of artists and musical acts, at deepellumartsfestival.com. The Deep Ellum Arts Festival is April 4-5, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and April 6, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Deep Ellum between Good Latimer and Hall St. Admission is free.