Are you attending PCMA’s 54th Annual Meeting: Convening Leaders, January 10-13, 2010 in Dallas, TX?
If yes, welcome to my hometown. Here are 20 things you should know before arriving in the “Big D.” (If you’re not attending, you still need to know these things for your next Dallas adventure.)
1. Longhorns and steer don’t roam the downtown streets of Dallas…most of the time.
Only during the Texas’ Stampede, a Texas rodeo or Texas State Fair do you see a real cattle drive through downtown Dallas’ streets. Visit Pioneer Plaza, outside of Dallas Convention Center, to see a bronze re-creation of a Texas cattle drive. If you want to see a real Longhorn, visit Fuel City, where you can get some of Dallas’ best tacos, fill your SUV Limousine and take pictures of real Texas Longhorns.
2. Bring your winter coat, wind breaker and a short sleeve shirt or two.
One of Dallas’ favorite sayings is, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” In January, you can expect anything from freezing temperatures in the 30s to nice balmy weather in the 70s.
3. Everything is big in Texas and divine in Dallas.
Yes, it’s true. Big money. Big hair. Big homes. Big trucks. Big boots. Big opinions. Big voices. Big meetings. Big moments. Texas is the biggest state by area in the continental US with 267,000 square miles, more than 18.5 million square feet of meeting space and 330,000 hotel rooms statewide. And don’t forget Dallas’ new 1,000 room Omni Hotel opening in 2012! So bring your big expectations and big attitudes for a “Living Large, Think Big” Dallas event! It will be Dallas-Divine. Don’t forget to visit Dallas CVB’s PCMA site for more insights and info about your trip to the Big D.
4. Do I need Big Hair to visit Dallas?
While it’s not required to visit, you might find your hair enlarging and turning blond during your stay. We’re not sure if it’s in the water, wind or part of the native pollens in the atmosphere. Some scientist call it the Big Bang Theory. From Farrah Fawcett to Governor Ann Richards to the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Texas Big Hair arrives on the scene before the rest of the woman’s body does.
5. Can I wear a cowboy hat and boots in Dallas?
Well bless your heart. Of course you can. If you’re going to do it Texas’ style, go for a ten gallon cowboy hat. Round toed Ropers (as compared to those designer pointy toed boots) are preferred, especially if you want to do some Texas Two Steppin’. Add starched, creased Wranglers that are one size too small instead of Levi’s if you want to be an authentic Dallas Cowchick or Cowboy.
6. What is a Texas Tuxedo?
Consider starched, creased Wranglers, a Western shirt with pearl snaps, a bolo tie, a large belt buckle, polished cowboy boots, a Stetson hat and a dark tuxedo jacket. All eyes will be on Gary Schirmacher, Dave Dubois and Brad Kent at PCMA’s blacktie CIC Hall of Leaders Gala to see if they will be wearing Texas Tuxedos.
7. Do all Texans carry guns?
Who knows. They’re concealed.
8. Isn’t Dallas very conservative?
Well, yes and no. While it is home to former President George W. Bush and Ross Perot, it is also home to Dallas County Latina lesbian Sheriff Lupe Valdez and the nation’s largest LGBT-inclusive church. That’s two-sides of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank’s freshly minted coin. Bottom line, Dallasites are friendly, welcoming, and hospitable, and you can’t help but fall in love with their Texas charm.
9. Which is better Dallas Barbeque or Tex-Mex?
That’s like asking a parent which child they love more. They are all equally important and loved. Whether Sonny Bryan’s or Smoke’s Barbecue, Casa Blanca Sabor or Monica’s Aca Y Alla Mexican Tex-Mex, you must try both before you leave. You’ll understand why most Texans either bleed queso (burnt orange-UT), barbecue sauce (maroon-Tx A&M) or jalapeño red (Tx Tech).
10. Does Dallas have any cultural affairs or is everything honky-tonk western?
Well, bless your heart. There you go again. From Gilley’s country western to Downtown Dallas Arts District Neighborhood’s 68 acres and 19 blocks of museums, restaurants and performance centers, Dallas offers many unusual venues.
11. Do Dallasites really eat a lot of fried foods like I saw on Oprah’s visit to the Texas State Fair?
It’s hard to get much more Texan than Chicken Fried Steak which is a tenderized cube steak coated with seasoned flour, pan fried and covered in white cream gravy. Although the Texas State Fair does provide a map to all the fried food booths. And, let’s not forget the Dallas dyed-and-fried Big Helmet Hairdos!
12. Does Dallas have tumbleweeds on their freeways?
Well, aren’t you the most precocious little varmint. No. We deal with the same thing all other highway departments deal with, litter. That’s why our number one motto is “Don’t Mess With Texas.” You will find tumbleweeds in West Texas and the Panhandle though. And some visitors often mistake Dallas Big Hair for tumbleweeds too.
13. Where can I get a lesson in the Texas Two-Step?
Made famous by Urban Cowboy, the Texas Two-Step is alive and well. Visit Cowboy’s Red River or the Roundup Saloon for lessons. Or watch this short Texas Two-Step video.
14. Do I have to like the Dallas Cowboys to have a conversation with locals?
No, but you’re more likely to have a successful conversation if you like the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars or FC Dallas Soccer. If you’re not a sports fan, just start talking about cooking tips for tailgating and you’ll do fine. For some insiders info: Dallas Cowboys play Philadelphia Eagles on January 9, 7pm CT. Prediction: Cowboys will hand Eagles their third beating of the year.
15. Is there anything that isn’t made in the shape of Texas?
Nope! All products can be improved by making it in the shape of Texas. Seriously, have you ever seen a tortilla chip made in the shape of New York? Just sayin…
16. Is Dallas’ favorite past time really shopping?
Well precious, that’s like asking if cowboys wear boots. You’d better believe it. It’s as prestigious as the hours spent setting, perming, and waving big hair. It’s better than Dallas’ least favorite past time sitting in traffic. Need more shopping info, contact our local experts Casandra Matej and Patti Towell. And take advantage of the Exclusive PCMA event to shop at Neiman Marcus Flagship Store on Sunday, January 10, 1-5 pm.
17. Attend PCMA’s Webinar, January 6, 1-2 pm ET
Learn how to use Social Media and Get Connected for PCMA’s 2010 Annual Meeting. #Eventprofs experts Jessica Levin, Michael McCurry and Tony Stubblevine will share how to stay connected before, during and after the event.
18. Finally, connect with me in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, PCMA’s Crowdvine, Foursquare and Gowalla before you arrive.
If you see me around, please walk up and introduce yourself. Of send me a tweet that you’d like to connect face-to-face.
20. While you’re here in Dallas, do get your “howdy-on.”
Don’t be afraid of everyone’s “Howdy, howdy,” or “How yall doin’?” There’s no ulterior motive…with the exception of wondering how you might look with Big Hair.
What questions do you have about Dallas, Texas? Share them and any tips you may have here.