Texas legend Robert Earl Keen once said, “The road goes on forever and the party never ends.” 

Thankfully, there are pit stops along the road, and the American Heart Association is providing one on Nov. 8 with its socially distanced The Heart of Collin County Heart Fest, offering a five-course tasting menu with cocktail pairings, a Dallas Cowboys watch party, and a live outdoor concert featuring Robert Earl Keen, a Texas music legend and American cult hero whose raspy voice country tunes will help make watching the Cowboys losing streak more bearable.

So will the participating chefs who are the finest that North Texas has to offer. They include Lead Chef Aaron Staudenmaier from Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar, Hugh Stewart from The Crest Bistro, Nathan Boothe from Ida Claire, Antonio Zamora, Mexican Sugar and Skyler Gauthier, Haywire.

Sponsored by Toyota and Crest cars, the event starts at 5 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. at the Crest Cadillac/Infiniti/Volvo in Frisco in support of raising awareness to the importance of monitoring and managing blood pressure. Funds raised will benefit cardiovascular research and local heart health programs such as the Plano Veteran Affairs Clinic.   

The only way to attend, though, is through the event’s VIP sprint vans or black car service. The drivers will take you and up to 10 guests to a reserved spot at a socially distanced parking lot where stations will be set up with blankets and chairs, all disinfected, to watch the Cowboys game on a 30 by 40 LED screen. 

“Collin County needs us now more than ever and the community’s support of our mission has never been more important,” says Victoria Brown, interim executive director of the Dallas Division.

When the world stopped in March, Mike Brosin, the chair of The Heart of Collin County Heart Fest, says that they started talking about options after they initially canceled the event. Traditionally, the event was held at the Dallas Star with about 30 stations set up and about four or five hundred people attending. Obviously, this type of event is impossible during a global pandemic. 

But then they thought, “‘Why don’t we take the event to the back of the Crest?’ and it just grew from there,” Brosin recalls. 

Brosin compares the socially distanced event with Robert Earl Keen to his college days when they used to rent a flatbed trailer and host concerts in fields. 

“There is no one better than Robert Earl Keen,” he says.

Thirty years have passed since the release of the Houston native’s debut album “No Kinda Dancer.” Since then, he’s released 18 records, performed thousands of shows, and appeared onstage with George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton and Lyle Lovett, raising more than $55 million for Texas hurricane relief efforts.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott declared Oct. 20 “Three Twenties and a Ten” Day in honor of Keen’s song “Feelin’ Good Again.” 

Keen calls his music: “Country music for people who hate country music.”

At the Nov. 8 Heart Fest, attendees will also be able to bid on a variety of live auction items to help support the American Heart Association’s mission through Open Your Heart. 

“It’s a really cool venue and it is the first one that the American Heart Association has done throughout the country,” Brosin says. 

For ticket information visit collincountyheartball.heart.org.

Update: Heart Fest has been canceled until further notice.  

“The health and safety of our guests, volunteers and staff continues to be our top priority. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the rise in COVID-19 cases in North Texas and in conjunction with event leadership, we have made the decision to postpone this Sunday’s Collin County Heart Fest,” Darcy Wallace, spokesperson for American Heart Association, said in a Nov. 6 press release.

Christian McPhate

Christian McPhate is the managing editor of Local Profile. He has been working as a journalist for more than a decade. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including the Dallas Morning News,...