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.
At the Texas Yacht Show and Jazz Fest, attendees rove the decks of luxury motor and sailing yachts and soak up the sounds of Latin jazz, funk fusion, and Texas swing. When patrons are ready to exchange sea legs for dancing shoes, jazz bands invigorate listeners with toe-tapping tunes. Joining the sounds of the Ezra Charles Band and Kelly Dean, expert sailors, including the headline-making young Abby Sunderland, tell their tales in a climate-controlled tent. Saturday evening culminates in the Havana Nights celebration, as salsa and merengue dancers tap and kick in pairs and patrons light authentic Cuban cigars.
On the breezy shores of Galveston Bay in the Lighthouse District, the first Kemah Ragin Cajun Festival will take place on May 16, 17, and 18. The parking-lot party entices festival-goers with live music, cold beers, and its main attraction—Cajun-spiced crawfish, alligator, and gumbo. While revelers soak up the sun and chow down, local and national bands play upbeat tunes and live crawfish sing hauntingly beautiful Gregorian chants before being boiled.
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.
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.