Culture / Entertainment

Fort Worth’s Best Spring Events and Festivals — 9 Major Happenings You Need to Have On Your Calendar

Your Guide to a Full Return to Fun

BY // 02.25.22

After winter’s last gasp (hopefully) and yet another freeze to thaw out of, boy are we are ready for spring. Flowers blooming, birds singing, blue skies overhead, you know the drill. And after two years of COVID-related-closures, event postponements and outright cancelations, this spring in Fort Worth is going to be epic. That means major festivals, big events and a warm return to normality.

There is something for everyone to enjoy, from food and drinks to arts and sports. This year there are more reasons than ever to plan your calendar around enjoying one or all of these spring festivals and happenings. We’ll see you there.

This is your guide to Fort Worth’s Best Spring Events:

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

The most dramatic event of the year has to be the famed Van Cliburn’s return. The once-every-four-years piano competition brings preliminary screening auditions March 6 through 12 at TCU’s PepsiCo Recital Hall. They are free and open to the public. The 72 selected pianists will perform 25-minute recitals before the competition whittles them down to just 30.

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition – Semi-final and final rounds held at Bass Performance Hall
Van Cliburn International Piano Competition’s semifinal and final rounds are held at Bass Performance Hall.

This year’s diverse roster of hopefuls are being drawn from 22 countries. The final round runs from June 2 through 18, when Fort Worth, along with the rest of the world, learns the winner.

But there’s more major piano happenings in Fort Worth — including the opening of a brand new venue. TCU will open the Van Cliburn Concert Hall, with a special performance from Russian pianist Olga Kern on April 13. Kern was one of the 2001 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winners and the concert will take place on the 64th anniversary of Van Cliburn’s famous Moscow triumph in 1958.

The concert hall is the newest addition to the $53 million TCU Music Center and another step forward for Fort Worth, which is benefitting from exciting new venues like Dickies Arena.

Flyfest

Tarrant Regional Water District’s trout stocking season culminates with TRWD FlyFest along and in the Trinty River on Saturday March 12. They stock nearly 3,000 native fish annually, including 1,800 pounds of rainbow trout, creating an optimal angling experience. This year will be the seventh Flyfest, which continues to grow in popularity.

So, don’t be alarmed by all the fisher folks donning their waders, and casting their lines in a rhythm ― 10 and 2, 10 and 2. . .

Fest – FlyFest 2022 promises a catch along the Trinity.
FlyFest 2022 promises a catch along the Trinity.

Along with open fishing in the river, there will be kids’ activities and presentations by experts. Orvis and Coffee & Caddis will be on hand with fly tying and casting instruction and gear. There will be plenty of beer, wine and food trucks on hand along with live music. For the kiddies, there will be face painting, a fishing tank to get them hooked early and a rock climbing wall.

Magnolia at the Modern

This special film series runs from March 18 to May 1. The cozy auditorium at the Modern Art Museum has long brought rare art films to Fort Worth. Among the seven films in this year’s Magnolia at the Modern series is Breaking Bread, which follows Arab and Jewish chefs in Haifa, Israel as they collaborate in the kitchen.

Most movies featured in the series will be shown Fridays at 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm; Saturdays at 5 pm; and Sundays at noon (half-price show), 2 pm, and 4 pm (with a few exceptions). Ticket prices are $10 regular admission, $8 for Modern members and $7 for Reel People members. Advance sales begin two hours prior to each show at the admissions desk.

Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival

Fort Worth’s mouthwatering festival and its six exclusive ticketed events are finally returning. The venue will be the Heart of the Ranch, in its shady Clearfork setting, and the Nite Bites event will take full advantage of the skyline views from Whiskey Ranch.

Chefs, restaurateurs and local caterers will join bartenders, brewers and regional and international wine labels at this annual tour-de-force. The Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival takes place between March 31 and April 3. Check out some of the well-known names taking part this year and get your tickets or VIP passes secured before they sell out at Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival’s website.

Main Street Arts Festival returns to a waiting crowd this spring.

Main Street Arts Festival

Running from Thursday April 7 through Sunday April 10, Main Street Arts Festival touts itself as the largest four day arts event in the Southwest. It’s a chance for North Texans to indulge in art, music and food in one bonanza. This is the Main Street Arts Festival’s 35th year and fans can expect new entertainment venues. In all, more than 200 local, regional and national juried artists will descend upon downtown.

Lining the red bricks of Main Street, this free event is a local tradition. There is even a craft brew garden and a wine pavilion, with hundreds of musical acts taking to the stage, providing a soundtrack all weekend long.

Japanese Garden Spring Festival is a cultural and natural wonder.

Japanese Garden Spring Festival

The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens has a hidden gem on its vast campus — The Japanese Garden. The garden, which will celebrate its 50th year in 2023, is a lush seven and a half acres filled with bamboo forests, cherry trees, Japanese maples, magnolias, arched bridges, raked rock gardens and ponds filled with koi fish. If you’ve never experienced it, the Spring Festival is the time to go.

While the fall festival highlights the ruby red Japanese maple leaves turning, the Japanese Garden Spring Festival (April 23 and 24 this year) is full of color and life. It’s also a cultural treasure with judo, sumo and karate exhibitions, traditional tea ceremonies, drummers, dancers and swordsmen. There will be Japanese delicacies to sample, bonsai trees and calligraphy. And that’s just a few of the Japanese art forms that will be showcased.

ArtsGoggle

For one day only — April 23 this year — Magnolia Avenue hosts its annual ArtsGoggle. The Southside is planning for an epic return to the festival this year. This free-to-the-public, family-friendly event brings more than 1,000 visual artists, 50 musical performances and artistic displays of every kind. Plus plenty of food and drink.

Many Magnolia Avenue businesses host open houses during ArtsGoggle, and the event spills into the open streets with more than a mile of exhibits to stroll.

MayFest

Generations of Fort Worthians have fond memories of MayFest. The 2022 edition marks the beloved festival’s 50th Anniversary. It all takes place May 5 through 8 in Trinity Park. Past years have included fireworks reflecting in the Trinity River. Exact details are still forthcoming about the events for this year’s milestone Mayfest.

Filled with food, arts and crafts, entertainment and music, Mayfest has it all, from ferris wheels to confetti eggs. You can expect plenty of activities and kids areas. There will be paddle boats along the river and, as always, an eclectic mix of vendors to explore and entertainment to revel in.

Fest – Mayfest – Here’s hoping the waterskiing squirrel makes an appearance.
You never know what you’ll see at Fort Worth’s Mayfest. Here’s hoping the waterskiing squirrel makes an appearance.

Charles Schwab Challenge

While last year’s Colonial Golf Tournament brought limited spectators under COVID conditions, full crowds will return to the oak lined wonder this May 23 to 29.

The winner receives a coveted Colonial Red Plaid Jacket. The oldest event on the PGA Tour has a lot in store, like its famous water-protected No. 13 hole, along the stretch known as (Ben) Hogan’s Alley. We can hardly wait for a few lazy days at Colonial this spring.

First round action at the 2020 Vivint Houston Open
Jordan Spieth is just one of the big name golfers who love playing in Texas. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)

Hang in there, Fort Worth. Spring is on its way — and it has plenty of fun in store.

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