The Rumfolo family's blood seems to have mixed with oil somewhere in the past. It probably happened in the 1950s, when Walter Rumfolo founded the first incarnation of The Showboat Drive-in—a restaurant where his children worked throughout their teenage years. His children must have carried it with them, because today his grandchildren, Johnny and Chris, operate a drive-in movie theater by the same name. They've preserved the original venue's neighborly vibe and kept the family’s blood intertwined with car engines by employing Johnny's sons to sell tickets and run the projector. Today, the small-town ambiance has a much larger area to cover, and each of the theater's two jumbo screens steps up to the task by accommodating 400 cars full of spectators.
Guests park at dusk for a night at the movies—a full night, with double features painting the sky silver for hours. Audiences access the films' sound through their FM radios so that they don’t have to swipe a copy of the script and have their children read the parts. Together, families and dates can sit on lawn chairs, blankets, or inside the car as they lose themselves in the plot and munch concessions that range from burgers to candy and popcorn. The staff caters to viewers at any point during the films or intermission, providing a playground for restless youngsters and jumping cars if their batteries fizzle.
Star Cinema Grill entertains screen-gazers with first-run films while simultaneously serving grill-style food and drinks to sate senses that can’t enjoy movies. Visitors can click on the now showing page to find a film before settling into a comfortable seat with a large popcorn and prepare to be wowed by jaw-dropping action, tear-evoking romance, or nightmare-inducing preshow cell-phone warnings. Although not included in this Groupon, Star Cinema Grill's wait staff will bring food and beverages to your table, so you can order dinner, sip a glass of foreign wine, or enjoy a domestic brew without having to leave the theater to brew your own.
Greek immigrant Louis Santikos founded his first movie theater in San Antonio in 1911, when silent moving pictures of train robberies and slapstick comedy were an exciting novelty. Today, the thriving regional theater empire continues the family tradition of dazzling audiences with attractions such as IMAX sensory journeys.
Santikos's expansive theaters house up to 19 screens of first-run cinematic entertainment at some locations. Equipped with popcorn and sodas, moviegoers can nervously munch and sip their way through every pulse-pounding car chase, tragic missed connection, or gripping montage of drying paint. Screenings in 3-D of select films are brought to life by the gloriously immersive illuminations of Xpand 3-D projectors.
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.
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.