Summertime breezes sneak through fork prongs and rustle across napkins at the 17th annual Taste of Allston, where community foodies unite under a banner splattered with international ingredients. More than 20 restaurants introduce taste buds to some of the city's best eats, from the Far East fare of Korean Garden to the smoky brick-oven flavor of Pizzeria Regina's pies. In between bites, live music, beer samples, and raffle prizes plate up entertainment for adults, and kid-friendly attractions, such as face-painting stations, keep young'uns from trying to sneak away between oversize hoagie buns. All profits raised by the festival go straight to the Allston Village Main Streets, a nonprofit revitalization effort working to keep the community safe.
Tomato plants are imperfect, yielding just as many inedible fruits as the healthy, tasty ones. The organizers of The Tomato Bash devised an alternative employment for the unworthy bounty, transforming the leftover tomatoes into ammunition for a massive ketchup making party. Participants are encouraged to sport silly costumes for the big event, as they are inevitably going to get utterly filthy.
To kick off the festivities, revelers are entertained with a cadre of food trucks, beverage vendors, and DJ playing tunes, including rebellious anthems encouraging the tomatoes to throw themselves. At 3 p.m., the tomato foam machine outside of the tomato arena powers up, pumping the stage area full of bubbly, pink fruit foam. Then the hordes of goggle-clad contestants descend upon a large arena and lose themselves in a sea of red goo.
To keep the spirit of its musical roots ever near, House of Blues Houston keeps a metal box of mud from the Delta Mississippi beneath its stage and proudly displays the traditional crazy quilt. As the only venue in the revered chain to be built vertically rather than free floating, House of Blues Houston stands as a pillar of entertainment in the Houston Pavilions complex. The hot spot’s Bronze Peacock Room commemorates Houston's rich history and the blues clubs where Lightnin' Hopkins and Big Mama Thornton held sway, and features an enormous hand-painted mural depicting other local legends such as Albert Collins and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.
Children who are interested in music early on can get their start at From the Top, a non-profit organization designed for kids eight and older to showcase their talents on the radio. Vocalists, composers and ensembles are featured in live national performances of classical music on National Public Radio. Young budding musicians, up to age eighteen, are eligible for a scholarship program and can sign up for workshops to prepare them for a live on-air performance of classical music and future career in the arts. Live shows give kids a chance to display their musical abilities in a variety of performances, broadcasts and concerts. Past productions have also appeared on the PBS series From the Top at Carnegie Hall.
The Great Bull Run brings the thrill of Pamplona's historic event to cities across the United States. Modeled after the Running of the Bulls, this one-day event enables participants to race live bulls, keeping one step ahead of the charging animals to finally prove that toes are better for running than hooves. While the historic Pamplona event has had few serious injuries in its 102 years of existence, The Great Bull Run staff takes even more precautions to ensure runners stay smiling from beginning to end. Additionally, the bulls are given the full respect they deserve, and are not antagonized or harmed before, during, or after the run.
Following the race, runners and newcomers can gather together for a good old-fashioned food fight. Tomato Royale arms entrants with juicy fruit that they can fling at each other. Additional post-run activities include an after-party, live entertainment, and games as well as food and beverages.
First opened in 1968, the Electric Factory has been hosting rock shows for almost as long Puerto Rico has been a state. After dancing their faces off to headliners from Erykah Badu to the Dropkick Murphys, concertgoers can stop by The Chive Caf? to recharge with a cheesesteak or an all-beef hotdog on a potato bun, or refill their draft Yuengling at the bar. In summer, the Electric Factory reveals an outdoor location complete with more refreshment booths, vendors, and upgraded food stands.