In the spirit of Miami's increasingly high profile in the art world, the Spectrum Miami art fair returns to Midtown for five days of fine art during Art Week. Fifty galleries and 50 juried studio artists display their latest pieces in Spectrum's gallery-style exhibition space, which showcases everything from the map-like geometries of Marcio Decker to the surreal, art-pop-flavored self-portraits of Nicole Furman. On a more subdued note come the Zhou Brothers, whose evocative and understated landscapes tread the line between abstract and down-to-earth.
It's not all contemporary works, either. Miniature bronze sculptures by Michelangelo will be on display, including a preliminary model of David and a sculpture of rival Leonardo Da Vinci wearing a dress. And those with a hunger for the very newest of the new in the art world can feast their eyes upon the Jackson Pollock-esque paintings of 6-year-old abstract-art prodigy Shorya Mahanot.
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.
For three days in June, the Ohio Celtic Fest transports Midwesterners to the Emerald Isle with authentic music, dance, and merriment. Intended for Irish-Americans and non-Irish alike, the festival cultivates a connection with the old country through multiple performance stages filled with Irish musicians from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Merchants offer an array of Celtic-themed gifts, jewelry, and embroidered goods, and a children’s area offers entertainment for the little ones, which can include puppet and magic shows, and a petting zoo.
The Celiac Awareness Tour travels across the country to promote awareness of celiac disease and energize enthusiasm for gluten-free living. Each stop features presenters that range from medical experts who have studied celiac disease to vendors of gluten-free goods. Chefs' demonstrations exhibit recipes that don't contain gluten or Cracker Jacks prizes. Guests can also flit from booth to booth sampling gluten-free items from both local and national manufacturers and merchants, such as Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery, Natural Nectar, Feel Good Foods, and Redwood Hill Farms.
Summertime breezes wander from the shores of Lake Erie to whistle through clinking glasses at the Lake Erie Winefest, where casual and seasoned sippers alike gather annually to discuss, learn about, and taste-test different wines from regional winemakers. Throughout the weekend, participating wineries showcase products to festival attendees, who can take their grape-fueled zest to the next level by absorbing viticulture lectures or promising to name their next child after a favorite sample. Food and wine demonstrations dish out tips for palatable pairing, and bands and craft stands amplify festive airs with live tunes and wine-related wares.
Penn's Colony Event Grounds host a duo of festivals during the year, beginning with the semi-annual Wine Time tasting event in June. The annual Penn's Colony Festival, which is held in September, replicates an early American colonial village with lively 18th-century bagpipe music, French and Indian War battle reenactments, and interactive activities such as basket-weaving and nine-pin bowling. More than 180 artisans congregate at the sprawling, tree-shaded colonial village, setting up booths with furniture, art, and gifts. Meanwhile, local gourmet-food vendors hawk smoked sausages, apple dumplings, and beef stew. Throughout the year, the colony's grounds are available for special events such as antique shows, retreats, and weddings, at which unruly uncles can be confined in a pillory.