What if there was a place where artists, craftsmen, singers and partygoers of all ages could come together? What if there was some huge party where people could taste food and drink wine while their kids dripped snow cone juice down their shirts as they watched the butterflies flutter by? Oh wait, there is.
It was time for Dallas natives to get their art freak on (and quite possibly with the heat, their reek on) this past weekend at Fair Park's CityArts Festival.
Despite the heat index being almost 100 degrees (you'd think after living in Texas for over a decade we'd get used to dripping in sweat between the months of May and September. Welcome to summer!) and all bottled liquids costing $3 a pop, the festival was just one long weekend of fun and artistic adventure. And well, if you went to see the butterflies at Texas Discovery Garden, you found the 85 cent vending machine. Thank you, butterflies!
Once participants paid $10 to park, entry into Fair Park's exhibits and buildings, including the IMAX Theater and Texas Discovery, were free of charge.
The vendor section of the park was a sea of creative trinkets: drawings, paintings, wine stoppers, watches made out of bamboo and even wooden kitchen utensils.
Performers pranced and sang on stages throughout the park. You could see children playing with wooden swords shouting, "I'm Captain Hook" while little girls in colorful clothing, golden earrings and bright flowers waited for their cue to appear on stage. A woman used her animated voice to tell folktales as people walked by, laughing and enjoying every moment while a shirtless man weaved in and out of sight, displaying his artwork.
But by far the most interesting aspect of this fest was talking to all the creative people behind the works being sold:
Dallas artist John Irizarry, pharmacist by day and painter by night, taught himself how to paint beautiful and bright images of the city after his friends gawked over the first painting he did four years ago.
Oh, and the artists behind the Art Cars? (Bonnie Blue, Randy Blair and Paulette Perlman) They drive the cars around on a daily basis and often change and rearrange the artwork. Each car represented a distinct personality. Paulette, originally a Florida native, painted her car to represent hope and peace in response to the effects of last year's oil spill in the Gulf.
Though the heat was oppressive, the artists and performers freed attendees from their summer doldrums with exciting visuals and good old-fashioned conversation. And by way of attendance, Dallas proved for one more year that it loves its CityArts.