A groovy party for Dallas? Far out!

DALLAS -- Summerfest 2013 -- Dallas' annual four-day party extravaganza -- is unleashing the hippies."Flower Power" is the theme for this year's festival that runs Thursday though Sunday, so Dallas should be awash in peace signs, tied-dyed shirts, daisies and vintage Volkswagens (hint: come to the parade Saturday to see several lovingly restored VW buses).This year's event has many Summerfest favorites on the schedule -- the duck race, waterball, all the Sunday in the Park events, the kids' triathlon and much more -- plus some new or returning activities organizers hope will become traditions.New events include something for those who love beer and wine.Chelsea Pope, executive director of the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce, hosts and coordinators of the annual Summerfest event, said she received requests to include the region's blossoming beer and wine scene into the celebration."We thought about `How do we pull from all the sources in the community?'" she said. "We asked ourselves `are we covering everything?'"Those considerations have translated into two events geared toward the 21-and-older crowd slated for Saturday and Sunday: "Bike Night at Tony's" and wine tasting and bottle sales during a special Sunday Polk County Bounty Market.Bike Night is the last event on the schedule for Saturday and serves as a "close out" party for Summerfest's downtown activities before it moves to Dallas City Park on Sunday.This adults-only (21 and older) block party on Southwest Court Street will kick off at 6 p.m. with a beer garden, barbecue, hard alcohol tastings and a lineup of shiny motorcycles for people to check out. Live music featuring Diamond Back Band will rock the block starting at 7 p.m.Pope asked Tony's owner Ray Stratton if the bar would like to participate in Summerfest after hosting a successful "Monday Bike Night" kickoff block party in May. Tony's began inviting local motorcycle enthusiasts to the bar on Monday nights to show off their bikes. The weekly event became so popular Stratton decided to hold block parties for the first and last events of the season this year.Most Summerfest events are family-oriented, so Pope thought Bike Night, with its emphasis on motorcycles, would attract a different crowd, plus it would bring people to a Dallas landmark. "Working with Travel Salem for the last few years on the Good Vibrations motorcycle rally, I know there are a lot of motorcycle people in this area," she said. "Pulling in that crowd -- and with Tony's being the oldest bar in town -- it's pretty cool."If wine and the relaxed environment of Summerfest's Sunday activities in the park are more your speed, Polk County Bounty has got you covered.Dallas' farmers market has paired up with Art in the Park this year to host a Sunday market that has attracted a number of additional vendors, including Orchard Heights Winery wine tasting and bottle sales. Photo by Pete Strong Orchard Mountain String Band will once again play on the Polk County Courthouse lawn following the parade. Bonnie Dreier, the market's manager and a board member of the Dallas Arts Association, the host of Art in the Park, said this is the first time the events will take place at the same place and time, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday in Dallas City Park.She said putting the events together seemed like a great combination."We felt it was the perfect pairing, with the artsy stuff at Art in the Park and the fresh food sold at the market," Dreier said.Returning to the Summerfest activity lineup are helicopter tours of Dallas by Pioneer Helicopters. Fearing a low turnout, the tours were left off the schedule last year, Pope said. But as it turns out, those fears were unfounded; the rides are back by popular demand."It was an easy phone call (to Pioneer Helicopters) to see if they had the date available," Pope said.One event not on the schedule this year is the three-on-three basketball tournament, due to Salem's Hoopla happening on the same weekend. Pope said it happens every few years."It's a bummer," she said.But all the other anticipated events are set -- including one of the best, most-attended small-town parades around on Saturday morning.And what should people expect if they turn out on Saturday, or any other day, for that matter? "A lot of fun and a lot of smiles," Pope said."It's a good opportunity to take a deep breath and enjoy our community. It's a great way to find out about the community and to get involved."And then we add a whole lot of fun on top of it," she added. "A whole lot of flower power." Flower Power What: Summerfest 2013. When: Thursday through Sunday. Where: Thursday through Saturday, most events take place on the Polk County Courthouse lawn in downtown Dallas. Vendors open and main stage entertainment begins at 11 a.m.On Sunday, all events take place in Dallas City Park.See the Summerfest 2013 special section inside this week's Itemizer-Observer for more information.

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