In these tough economic times, every little bit counts. That's why getting an 8 percent tax break on your back-to-school purchases can help a family stay safe within the budget. While you are helping yourselves to great buys, think about those kids who need a break as well. Take the VSP pledge and you can help a youngster get a free eye exam. Here's my list of other free events for families in Dallas-Fort Worth this weekend:
1. Tax-Free Weekend: It's your chance to save on your kids school supplies, clothing and backpacks. Don't forget to bring your store coupons for additional savings and wear a comfortable pair of shoes.
Good to know: Not all items are exempt from sales taxes. For a complete list, visit the Texas comptroller's office website at www.window.state.tx.us
When: Friday, August 19; Saturday, August 20; and Sunday, August 21
Where: Texas stores
Info: www.window.state.tx.us; Click here to read more about the sales-tax holiday
2. VSP Eye Pledge Campaign: Seeing is believing. To bring attention to the importance of eye health, VSP Vision Care has launched the VSP Eye Pledge campaign. For every pledge, VSP will donate an eye exam and brand new pair of glasses to a Boys & Girls Club member on your behalf.
Good to know: VSP has pledged to donate up to 50,000 eye exams worth more than $19 million dollars.
Where: Visit www.SeeMuchMore.com and click on the Eye Pledge. Take the pledge to take care of your own eyes, then select the Boys & Girls Club that you wish to receive a free eye exam
3. New Parents Tour: Pack up the baby stroller and join the tour designed to introduce new parents (with babies in tow) to a variety of artworks at the Amon Carter Museum. Refreshments will be provided after the program. Tour begins at the Information Desk.
Good to know: Reservations are not required, but parents can call 817-989-5030 to receive helpful instructions
Recommended ages: 4 and younger
When: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Friday, August 26 and September 30
Where: Amon Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth
Info: 817-989-5030, email@example.com , http://www.cartermuseum.org
4. Friday Fireworks: Every Friday night throughout the summer, you can feast your eyes on a 12-minute fireworks display that can be seen from any Lake Grapevine Park.
Good to know: Best viewing locations are your favorite lake parks or on top of the parking garage at the Gaylord Texan Resort for the Garage Rock Out Party.
Recommended ages: All
When: 9:30 p.m. Fridays through Sept. 2
Where: Lake Grapevine, Grapevine, Texas
PLAN AHEAD: 5. Family KhanDays: Kids can create Mongolian-themed art projects inspired the center's "Genghis Khan: The Exhibition," which you can peruse after your art activitiy.
Good to know: Family KhanDays activities are free, admission to the exhibition requires a seperate ticket ($12, adults; $8, seniors 55 and older and children 18 and younger; Children younger than 2 are free).
Recommended ages: All
When: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, September 10 and September 24
Where: Carpenter Lobby, Irving Arts Center, 3333 North MacArthur Blvd., Irving, TX 75062
Info: 972-252-7558, http://www.irvingartscenter.com/
BONUS: ONGOING EVENTS!
2-for-1 Exhibit Tuesdays: The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is offering a great deal during the summer months. Every Tuesday through August 30 is 2-for-1 admission. Bring the whole family to experience the new aviation exhibit, "Ascent…When Dreams Defy Gravity, and Champions."
Good to know: The second admission must be of equal or lesser value. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Does not apply to Omni Theater or Noble Planetarium tickets.
Recommended ages: All
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through August 30.
Where: Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth, TX 76107
Info: 817-255-9540, www.fortworthmuseum.org
Cost: $14, adults; $10, children (ages 2-12) and seniors (age 60+). Museum members are free.
Dollar Days at the Dallas Arboretum: Every day in August, you and your family can enjoy admission to the garden for just $1 for adults and children! The arboretum features 66-acres of spectacular display gardens that showcase incredible seasonal flowers, ornamental shrubs, trees and plant collections in a serene setting on White Rock Lake.
Good to know: Children 2 and younger are free
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,open daily through August 31
Where: Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road,Dallas, Texas 75218
Cost: $1 per person, adults and children; parking is $7
Check Maricar's Friday Freebies blog every week for a list of free things to do in the Dallas/Fort Worth area! To submit your own Friday Freebie, add a comment to her blog or send your submissions at least one week before the date of the event to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: "Friday Freebies"