Hosted across the city from NASA’s Mission Control Center, Space City Con invites fans from Houston and beyond to meet their idols from sci-fi and fantasy movies, films, and print media. Celebrities from beloved franchises drop by to dole out autographs and photo opportunities, in addition to with comic-, anime-, and literature-industry artists and writers. The convention halls rattle with sound of polyhedral dice during ongoing tabletop gaming events, along with the bellows of LARPing elves as they fall from a perfectly executed lightning-bolt spell. Visitors can pay homage to their heroes at fan-film screenings and the yearly Masquerade costume, in which they can show off fandom-inspired cosplay get-ups or purely coincidental Stormtrooper armor.
It's common knowledge that Italy is the source of some of the world's finest food, wine, fashion, and boot-shaped peninsulas. And when you consider its thriving technology industry, propensity for elegant contemporary design, and unparalleled history of fine arts, it becomes clear that familiarity with Italy is familiarity with peerless excellence. ExhibITALIA brings the best of Italy to the heart of Texas in a two-day festival that spotlights everything from designer shoes to high-performance sports cars. When the eyes and ears have had their fill, the stomach gets in on the action with fine imported food and wine while the mind delights in dreams of a Roman holiday.
In Houston, September beats out July and August for the hottest month of the year—it has nothing to do with the weather, however. The culprit behind the elevated heat level is the Houston Hot Sauce Festival. This annual event brings together exhibitors from across the country to sell and hand out samples of their signature hot sauces, salsas, jams, dips, and other spicy foods. Luckily, vendors also supply plenty of cool beverages, thus eliminating the need for bite-size fire extinguishers.
Live entertainment complements the spicy goods. Blues artists, jazz bands, and other musician play throughout the festival, and each day brings special events, such as salsa eating competitions or fire eating performances.
When The Tasting Room's founders Jerry and Laura Lasco organized the first Houston Cellar Classic in 2003, they imagined a handful of local chefs and vintners showcasing their finest creations. Their humble gathering grew quickly, expanding from a one-day affair to a multiple-week series of events. In recent years, individual events have hosted nearly 1,000 people, all eager to sip and sample the finest libations and culinary treats the city has to offer.
Oenophiles from all over the state descend upon Houston ready to sample up to 100 wines from the restaurant's ample bottle collection and extend long-dormant pinkies. Guests also have ample opportunity to satisfy their palates with delectable creations whipped up by chefs representing restaurants throughout the city.
Also known as June Festival, Festa Junina celebrates the end of Northern Brazil’s rainy season by offering up thanks to Saint Anthony, Saint John, and Saint Peter. Though it sets up shop in Houston, the festival pays homage to the South American motherland with traditional Brazilian food, dances, and live music from Bacanas Brazilian Band, a dynamic quintet that sets the soundtrack to the daylong merriment and helps wake nearby birds from their springtime hibernation. As attendees stroll throughout the outdoor and indoor spaces, they can immerse themselves in quadrilha, or Brazilian square dancing, and play traditional games such as Pescaria, a fishing game where prizes are hidden inside wooden fish. Youngsters at the fest can enjoy the moon walk, carnival games, and face painting.
Spread across five acres, Funplex Entertainment Center houses indoor facilities for bowling, roller-skating, go-karts, and carnival rides. Guests can try to top their high score on 40 bowling lanes, ride go-karts that reach speeds of up to 22 MPH, or enjoy thrilling rides. The arcade features 150 classic and modern video games, and the Playport allows kids to clambor around a pirate ship and jungle gym. The massive facility also houses a concession area, as well as party rooms for special events.