There is a cornucopia of fall festivals coming our way - many involving beer, wine and polka dancing. So grab your lederhosen and let's go!
1 Fall Gallery Night (Saturday): Few things make us feel more grown up than sipping wine, nibbling cheese cubes and strolling through the art galleries of Fort Worth. Good thing Gallery Night only comes twice a year, because we hate to act too grown-up! Find a full roster of galleries participating and a map at www.fwada.com/gallerynight.html. Free.
2 GrapeFest (Sept. 13-16): Ah, more vino. The 26th annual "wine experience" known as GrapeFest is a great excuse to rediscover the charm of historic downtown Grapevine, and, "sip, savor and stomp" -- as in stomp grapes like Lucy Ricardo. (Don't knock it till you've tried it!) There's also music and carnival rides all weekend. Admission is free Thursday and Friday till 5 p.m. After that it's $8 or a weekend pass is $18. www.grapevinetexasusa.com/grapefest/
3 Oktoberfest in Addison (Sept. 20-23): As you might be gathering from this list, fall festivals in North Texas are mostly about eating and drinking. And Oktoberfest in Addison is no exception. The 25th anniversary of this terrific Oktoberfest celebration will feature authentic German food and beer, sing-alongs and, of course, public displays of polka. The fun all happens at Addison Circle Park. General admission is $5-$10, or you can buy the 25th anniversary package, $25, and get a ceramic commemorative stein, $10 in food and beverage coupons and general admission for one. www.addisontexas.net/events/oktoberfest/
4 Plano Balloon Festival (Sept. 21-23): You don't have to go all the way to Albuquerque to see a sky full of hot air balloons. The annual Plano gathering will also will feature entertainment, fireworks, skydivers, children's activities, food and vendors. $5, $4 seniors 65 and older, free for children 36 inches tall and under. www.planoballoonfest.org
5 State Fair of Texas, Fair Park, Dallas. (Sept 28-Oct. 21): Often thought of simply as a deep-fried food orgy, or a reason to get your picture made with Big Tex, the State Fair of Texas is so much more than that ... we just can't really think of what right now, because we're obsessing about trying the deep-fried jambalaya, which won "best taste" at the annual competition. The fried bacon cinnamon roll sounds tasty, too. Tickets to the fair are $12-$16 at the door, or $39.95 for a season pass.
6 Rahr & Sons Oktoberfest 5K (Sept. 29): We can get behind an early morning run, as long as there's beer at the finish line. That will be the case at this annual Rahr run, which begins and ends at the Southside brewery, 701 Galveston Ave. Runners often get decked out in lederhosen and dirndls, all the better for post-race polka-ing. (9 a.m.-2 p.m.) Registration $35, includes a Rahr mug for filling. www.rahroktoberfest.com
7 Southlake Oktoberfest (Oct. 5-7): Three words: Weiner Dog Races. Southlake's 11th annual Oktoberfest at Southlake Town Square also features food, and great music. Josh Weathers Band and Le Freak play Saturday evening. And best of all, it's free, even the parking! www.oktoberfestsouthlake.com
8 MusicArte (Oct. 6) One of our favorites, Ozomatli, headlines this annual celebration of Latino culture. There will be food, vendors and kids activities, and this year it moves to Panther Island Pavilion, so there will be lovely views of the city. Noon-11 p.m. $5. www.musicartefw.com
9 Fall Arts Goggle Night (Oct. 13): Fort Worth's Near Southside will showcase its coolness during Fall Arts Goggle. There will be a great mix of affordable art, local bands and eclectic food all up and down Magnolia Avenue and Park Place. 4-10 p.m. Free.
10 Flying Saucer's BeerFeast (Oct. 13): We always look forward to this annual beer festival in Sundance Square, which features more than 40 breweries and 60 craft beers. 1-7 p.m. $25 until Sept. 14; $30 after that; $40 at the door; $65 for VIP. Tickets include admission and a tasting card for 12 beer samples, and a BeerFeast tasting glass. There will also be $15 designated driver tickets. www.beerfeast2012.com