With tented performance areas throughout downtown Houston, this year's fest features a lineup of hundreds of performances from around the globe. Music acts include big names (Ozomatli, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic) alongside other talented musicians. Check out the entire schedule of events here. An abundant bounty of global cuisine with everything from Japanese to Jamaican fare, highlighted by vast offerings from this year's spotlighted Caribbean nations, will nourish the hungry crowds. The festival and the performances will proceed rain or shine, so bring an umbrella if it rains, and ride in on an umbrella if it doesn't.
For eight weekends in the fall, a troupe of performing fairies, knights, royal personas, and jugging fools set up camp on the 55-acre grounds of the Texas Renaissance Faire. For 38 years, the Festival has re-created the 16th century’s appealing combination of simplicity and grandeur with more than 200 daily performances of live music, acrobatic comedies, and jousting. Actors portraying different levels of society—such as the English court and the pirates—roam the lolling landscape in character while performing comedic and informative bits including “Sound and Fury,” a Shakespearean vaudeville. At noon the Grande Marche parade catapults performers from the Globe Stage for a stroll throughout the park as they advertise their acts in a high-toned procession.
On a less precise schedule, craftsmen concoct tangible marvels with skills of glassblowing and blacksmithing, while food purveyors wander the beaten paths or call from their booths, selling fare that ranges from sugar-coated nuts to roasted turkey legs. At close of day, fireworks light the sky to celebrate the festival's victory over time.
On Memorial Day weekend, the Friendswood Crawfish Festival will sprawl through downtown Friendswood, filling the streets with the aromas of boiled seafood, the sounds of live music, and the sights of local artisans displaying their wares. Everything is organized by the Friendswood Lions Club, a civic volunteer organization that benefits the community through fundraising and restoration projects. They also receive some help from Justin Tolliver, owner of Justin’s Seafood Restaurant. Propelled by his culinary know-how and a generations-old vendetta against the local crawfish population, Tolliver will supply the steaming cauldrons of the festival's namesake food. Pizza, beer, and soft drinks will also be served. However, food won't be the festival's only draw: a crawfish-eating contest will test competitors' stomachs as performances from local musicians provide a rousing soundtrack.
Though King's Biergarten describes itself as the place "where it's Oktoberfest all year round," once a year the brew haven really goes all out recreating the traditional German beer and food festival. The restaurant transforms its parking lot into a colorful 400-person bier tent decked out with bells, ribbons, and servers dressed in lederhosen who shoulder drinks throughout the rows of beer hall-style benches and tables. Aside from sipping golden suds, crowds can also help themselves to an all-you-can-eat spread of sausage, beer pretzels, and Bavarian smoked pork loin. Bands will play live sets throughout the fest as attendees try their hand at climbing Jacobs ladders or nailing the target at the dunking booth. VIP ticket-holders will be able to camp out inside the restaurant, where they can take advantage of three-hour table reservations.
The three-day event will kick off on Friday, September 27, when local politicians including Pearland Mayor Tom Reed and Senator Larry Taylor will lead the ceremonial keg tapping. From there on out, the German brews will flow for the remainder of the weekend, with attendees trading in beer tickets for half-liters of Hofbrau Dunkel, Stiegl Lager, Franziskaner Hefeweizen, and Spaten Oktoberfest.
The Pearland International Festival was conceived as a celebration of world cuisines, music, and culture. For its second annual fete, its focus is Mexico: mariachi bands will play and visitors can compete in a Grito Mexicano—or Mexican screaming—contest. There's also a jalapeño-eating contest, whose competitors are strictly forbidden from hiding ice packs in their cheeks beforehand, and noncompetitive eaters can enjoy food from Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and African restaurants in abundance. Throughout the fest, performers representing every bubble in the United States' melting pot take the stage to provide a lively soundtrack. Musical guests, for instance, include the Tex-Mex sounds of headliner "Grupo La Calma," as well as Bollywood and Panamanian Folklorico artists.
Three generations of the Hamilton family own and operate The Artist Within.org, a boutique studio that encourages artists of all ability levels to try their hands at painting in a communal environment. The studio provides all the necessary materials for recreating specific projects that include Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Monet’s Bridge and over a Pond of Water Lilies, and it only requires that students bring their own wine, goodies, and Bob Ross wigs. In addition to public painting classes, the Hamiltons also host private events such as bachelorette and birthday parties and can create custom paintings for groups to reimagine.