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.
For one weekend in July, the Pasadena Convention Center & Fairgrounds fill with smoke as barbecue gurus from all over convene for the Big Tex BBQ Fest. The fest, sanctioned by the International Barbecue Cookers Association, features tents filled with meat in all its myriad forms, from ribeye steaks and filets to pork shoulder and sauce-smothered chicken. Visitors can stroll from tent to tent (some tents may require an additional fee) munching on barbecue-sauce-laden bites, exploring live music and other entertainment, or perusing the artisanal artwork and crafts sprinkled throughout the space. At competition's end, $10,000 in cash prizes will be doled out to the weekend's best chefs, while the grand-prize winner will receive a custom-made barbecue pit. If this wasn't entertainment enough, the festival will also host a carnival area for kids, a livestock area, a car show, and a Miss Big Tex contest.
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.
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.