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The top 10 list: Hats off to spring, hats on for Derby Day in Grand Prairie

The original Mayfest: When the river was drab and the fun was simple

The first Trinity River Festival in 1973 included sack races, hayrides and a congressman kissing a clown.
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The first Trinity River Festival in 1973 included sack races, hayrides and a congressman kissing a clown.

1. Mayfest 2018

This will be the 46th annual incarnation of the event that sort of seals the deal on spring in Fort Worth, weather permitting. It starts on a Thursday and runs till 7 p.m. Sunday on the banks of the Trinity River between the Seventh Street bridge and Interstate 30, west of downtown. Music, games, performances, dancing, art, vendors and — it can't be said often enough — festival food are all represented. Admission is $8 adults, $5 seniors and ages 3-12 and free for 2 and younger; there's a $25 five-ticket family deal. Friday, seniors get in free; and military members (plus up to five family members) are free every day. You can get tickets at the fest or by visiting tickets.mayfest.org. For more details including daily hours, visit www.mayfest.org.

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Grab festival food at Mayfest 2018. Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner

2. Kiefer Sutherland

When the phrase "raucous outlaw country" involves Kiefer Sutherland, you're probably thinking it's the plotline of an episode of "24," but you'd be wrong. The TV actor better known as Jack Bauer has a fledgling country music career, a new single "This Is How It's Done" and a North American and European concert tour that includes a stop at the Grand Ole Opry. He'll take the Billy Bob's stage at 9:45 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $16 general admission, $28 reserved. Billy Bob's Texas is at 2520 Rodeo Plaza in the Fort Worth Stockyards. 817-624-7117; billybobstexas.com

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Kiefer Sutherland will play Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth. Courtesy Billy Bob's Texas

3. 9th annual Festival of the Kid

Imagine a world without playwrights. Now imagine an annual event devoted to combating that rather grim alternate reality. Stage West hosts the fest of plays written and performed by kids, Tarrant County kids, to be specific. They will be assisted by professional stage designers and directors. The works are the winners of the Neighborhood Play Contest, which receives hundreds of entries each year. Performances will be at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, through Wednesday, May 9. Tickets are $10, $5 age 12 and younger. For reservations, call 817-784-9378 or visit www.stagewest.org. Stage West Theatre is at 821 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth.

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The cast from the 2017 Festival of the Kid Stage West

4. Cinco de Mayo weekend at Panther Island Pavilion

The play place alongside the Trinity River downtown gives you two choices this weekend. From noon-6 p.m. Saturday, it's the third annual El Fuerte Taco Fest, a mix of tacos, live music, cooking demos, theater and a kids zone. Tickets are $15-$50 at https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1662904. Sunday, 1-9 p.m., it's the Punk in Drublic festival featuring more than 100 craft beers and a live music lineup that includes NOFX, Bad Religion, the Interrupters, Mad Caddies and more. Admission is $39.50-$99.50. For more information, visit http://punkindrublicfest.com/ft-worth/. Panther Island is at 395 Purcey St., Fort Worth.

5. Fort Worth Opera Festival

The second weekend of the annual fest leads off with Donizetti's opera buffa, i.e. funny, "Don Pasquale" at 7:30 p.m. Friday night with soprano Audrey Luna and bass-baritone Burak Bilgili; sees the return of the tango-inspired "Maria de Buenos Aires," starring mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian, baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco and Fort Worth's own "SuperLatina" Gaby Natale at 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and ends with an encore of "Don Pasquale" at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $17; all performances will be at Bass Hall. 817-731-0726 or 817-212-4280; fwopera.org

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The Holocron Toy Store's inventory includes vintage posters. Joyce Marshall Star-Telegram archives

6. May the Fourth

Celebrating Star Wars Day is easier this year because there's a new rebel base in town: the Holocron Toy Store. From 4-10 p.m. Friday, the store will throw a party that includes giveaways, a costume contest, live music from Fort Worth band Dead Words and complimentary beer from Wild Acres Brewery. Admission is two cans of food for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. From noon-5 p.m. Saturday, it's Padawan Day, with activities such as light saber battles, a bounce house, art activities, face painting and free water and cookies. Admission: four cans of food per family. The first 50 kids get a gold "Galactic Passport." Holocron is at 3613 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-489-5600

7. 'Funny Girl'

Ah, Fanny Brice. Reacquaint yourself with this old friend or introduce a member of the younger generation to her along with songs such as "People" and "My Man." A young Barbra Streisand plays the young vaudeville actress who is determined to shine as a star on Broadway. Also in the cast: Omar Sharif, as her husband, Nicky Arnstein; Key Medford; Walter Pidgeon; and Anne Francis. Tickets are $10. The movie screens at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St., in downtown Fort Worth. You can order tickets at www.eventbrite.com or pay at the door.

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Hat contests, like those at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, are traditional on Derby Day. Clif Bosler/DFW.com

8. Kentucky Derby Day

It's called the greatest two minutes in sports, but you don't have to drive hours to Churchill Downs to celebrate it. Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie will host a watch party and lots of activities Saturday. The gates open at 10:30 a.m. and the first live race will be at 1:35 p.m. The Kentucky Derby will be simulcast; post time is 5:34 p.m. Central. And the hats will get as much attention as the horses. Two hat wearers — one judged "most creative" and one "most stylish" — will each win $500. Three honorable mention hats get race day packages. Contestants must be in line by 3 p.m. to enter. Get more details at the website. Lone Star Park is at 1000 Lone Star Parkway, Grand Prairie. 972-263-7223; www.lonestarpark.com

9. East Main Arts Festival

This one-day festival with more than 90 vendors and 26 bands will sprout on three blocks of downtown Arlington. Along with art, street performers and food, there will be an outdoor reading room, bounce houses and a pop-up chess park and dog park. Bring along gently used books for the Little Free Library Initiative. The fest is anchored by Division Brewing Co., which will be serving craft beer, and Mavericks Grill, for brisket tacos. It's noon to 8 p.m. Saturday. Punch 601 E. Main St., Arlington into your GPS to get you there. Get an entertainment schedule and an event map online at downtownarlington.org.

10. Cinco de Mayo drive-in fest

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at the Coyote Drive-in Theater. Come early, 6-8 p.m. Saturday, for performances by Mariachi Panteras and dancing by SIMA Ballet Folklorico. There also will be food trucks, drinks specials, yard games and face painting. Then, the evening's double feature, screened in Spanish, begins: "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Coco." Chris Pratt speaking in Spanish? We're so there. Admission is $8 adults, $6 children and 5 and younger free. Gates open at 5:30 pm. Coyote Drive-In is at 223 N.E. Fourth St., Fort Worth. 817-717-7767; www.coyotedrive-in.com

Sandy Guerra-Cline, 817-390-7545, @GuerraCline
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