Five stories that have North Texas talking: A grand finale for a country star; Big Tex is considered one of the country’s quirkiest landmarks; North Texas remains in severe drought; and more.
- The “King of Country” is ending his reign in North Texas. George Strait plays his final show at 6 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Ticket prices have skyrocketed.Forbes reports: “According to TiqIQ, the average price … is currently $688.93, 229.64% above the $208.99 tour average.” In fact, it’s pricier than the average Cowboys ticket for the upcoming season. The Dallas Morning News reports: “It should be a performance for the ages, one that underscores his unerring artistic legacy just as it cements his independence and integrity. Strait is exiting the stage on his own terms.” Think of all of his songs: “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “Amarillo by Morning,” “I Cross My Heart” – the list goes on and on. Gates to stadium plazas open at 3 p.m., while stadium doors open at 4 p.m. The Cowboy Rides Away will be a star-studded show featuring Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride. The Dallas Observer runs down each of the performers, saying Strait’s final show is “the biggest event in North Texas this summer.”
- The Texas Republican Convention continues Friday in Fort Worth. Gov. Rick Perry spoke Thursday and made it clear he’s strongly considering a 2016 presidential run. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports: “A glitzy video took the delegates down memory lane, recounting the highlights of Perry’s three decades in state politics. Then first lady Anita Perry introduced him, hinting there’s more to come. ‘I’m happy to say we’ve both got some tread left on our tires,’ the first lady told 11,000 pumped-up Republicans.” Perry listed achievements during his three terms as governor, including a strong Texas economy, job creation and low taxes. But he said the greatest legacy of his administration is education reform. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, two other potential presidential candidates, will also address the delegates.
- Much of Dallas-Fort Worth remains stuck in drought. Most of Tarrant County remains in “extreme drought.” That’s according to the latest report released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Drought is also classified as “extreme” in Denton and Collin Counties. Northwestern Dallas County is also in “extreme drought” while the rest of the county is in “severe drought.” Counties to the east and south of Dallas are a little better off, with counties either in severe or moderate drought. Counties to the west of Fort Worth are worst off, where the drought is considered “exceptional.” Parts of Palo Pinto, Jack, Young and Stephens counties are labeled as “exceptional.” But the National Weather Service says there’s rain in the forecast for Sunday and Monday.
- Big Tex has been nominated as one of the 10 best quirky landmarks in the country. You can vote here – you have until June 23 to vote. USA Today’s 10Best is organizing this contest: “Occasionally you drive past something so surprising you just HAVE to turn the car around and go get a selfie with it. … From Foamhenge to an office building shaped like a picnic basket to a luxury storefront in the middle of nowhere, these quirky landmarks are part of what makes America great!” Other Texas landmarks on the list include the Beer Can House in Houston and Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. In case you’ve been on Mars for the past several years, Big Tex is the 55-foot-tall cowboy who greets the crowds each fall at the State Fair of Texas. He burned down during the 2012 fair but returned in time for the 2013 fair.
- A new movie has a North Texas connection. KERA’s Stephen Becker reports: “In Words and Pictures, which opens Friday, Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen play teachers who engage their students in a debate over which is more important: visual art or the written word. Former WFAA-TV movie critic Gary Cogill is a producer of the film.” This week, the KERA Big Screen team talked with him about making movies rather than talking about them.