Obviously, when talking about Memorial Day, we want to remember the real reason for it (check back here on Monday for more of that), but it’s also fair to talk about the fun that can be had, as we all enjoy the freedom that so many brave men and women have sacrficed for over the decades and even centuries our country has been in existence. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, give the below options a look and hit one up…

Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie: On Monday, the beautiful racing park will be turned into an all-purpose fun-time center. Not only will the horses be running, but Harleys will be given away, a chili cook-off will take place and the stakes will be as high as they will be all year for those who are lucky enough.

Fiesta Texas – San Antonio: All kinds of new shows are getting started, including a laser light show. Not to mention the usual family-fun and thrill seeking that’s typically available.

The National Polka Festival – Ennis, TX: For 45 years, this has been the preemminent Polka festival in Texas, if not the entire US. There isnt any way a family could make their way to this party and not find something for everyone.

99.5′s Wolfdance 2011 – Ft. Worth Stockyards: Each year, this Sunday-before Memorial Day party is one of the better showcases for Texas Country music. While we’re scratching our heads on how acts like Casey Donahew and Josh Abbott have somehow earned top-billing over the likes of Wade Bowen, it’s still an all-day affair that gives many of the up-and-coming names (that deserve such a title) a fantastic showcase. In fact, take our advice and get there around 1pm for John David Kent and then catch Rob Baird, John D Hale and Brison Bursey, the leave before you have to hear Johnny Cooper make another lame attempt at working his lame beat-boxing into his set.

Each year when the frosty bite of winter begins to soften, I start looking out for the festivals that I either try to get to annually, or pick a few that I have been hoping to hit, but haven’t quite made it just yet. Below are a few festivals, both old and new, that are coming soon and are worth you checking out…

Dallas International Guitar Festival - April 16-18: The Dallas Guitar Show has become an annual tradition for thousands of musicians, collectors and fans for over 30 years. With performances by Ted Nugent, Rick Derringer, Kings X and more, slingers from all over will have something to enjoy.

Old Settler’s Music Festival - April 15 - 18: Another venerable member of the Texas music festival circuit, this roots-oriented festival will take over the Salt Lick Pavilion near Austin again. Every year the line-up gets stronger, mixing beloved acts from our great state such as Band of Heathens and The Gourds with rootsy folks from other areas. As always, top talent from the world of bluegrass will be on display. Be sure to not miss The Infamous Stringdusters or even Alaska’s own, Bearfoot.

Ed Burleson playing the main stage at Larry Joe Taylor's Texas Music Festival, 2007.











Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival - April 20-24: The 22nd annual edition boasts the same powerhouse line-up that has become a staple of this most Texas of shin-digs. Reckless Kelly, Joe Ely, Randy Rogers Band, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Chris Knight and Wade Bowen are a small but powerful sample of who will rock over 40,000 people near Stephenville.

So, there are a few picks for you to occupy your sunny weekends with. By the way, in case you didn’t notice, I didn’t even make it into May. Don’t worry. I’ll be get you caught up on festivals around the state for May and June soon enough.

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob