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.
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.
Though King's Biergarten describes itself as the place "where it's Oktoberfest all year round," once a year the brew haven really goes all out recreating the traditional German beer and food festival. The restaurant transforms its parking lot into a colorful 400-person bier tent decked out with bells, ribbons, and servers dressed in lederhosen who shoulder drinks throughout the rows of beer hall-style benches and tables. Aside from sipping golden suds, crowds can also help themselves to a variety of traditional Oktoberfest foods. Bands will play live sets throughout the fest as attendees try their hand at challenging each other with the Bavarian strongman competition, festival jousting, and much more. VIP ticket-holders will be able to camp out inside the restaurant, where they can take advantage of three-hour table reservations.
The three-day event will kick off on Friday, September 26, when local politicians including Pearland Mayor Tom Reed and Friendswood Mayor Keving Holland will lead the ceremonial 100-year-old wooden keg tapping. From there on out, the German brews will flow for the remainder of the weekend, with attendees trading in beer tickets for half-liters of Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Hofbrau Dunkel, Hofbrau Hefeweizen, Stiegl Radler, and Staropramen Lager.
The Pearland International Festival was conceived as a celebration of world cuisines, music, and culture. For its second annual fete, its focus is Mexico: mariachi bands will play and visitors can compete in a Grito Mexicano?or Mexican screaming?contest. There's also a jalape?o-eating contest, whose competitors are strictly forbidden from hiding ice packs in their cheeks beforehand, and noncompetitive eaters can enjoy food from Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and African restaurants in abundance. Throughout the fest, performers representing every bubble in the United States' melting pot take the stage to provide a lively soundtrack. Musical guests, for instance, include the Tex-Mex sounds of headliner "Grupo La Calma," as well as Bollywood and Panamanian Folklorico artists.
There's always a pot boiling somewhere at the Pearland Crawfish Festival. During the event, vendors bring in farm-raised crawfish from the Gulf Coast, cook it, and then serve it by the pound or turn it into sport through eating competitions. The celebration of cajun cuisine extends well beyond crawfish, too. Cooks here also fry alligator, ladle out gumbo, and stuff pistolettes?deep-fried french rolls?with a mix of spicy seafood, beef, cheese and other ingredients.
Yet the festival would still exist even without these edible elements. The grounds also encompass a carnival, complete with rides and more food, as well as two stages where musicians strum and blow the blues on one and zydeco, country, and rock on the other. There's even fun to be had for nonhumans in Splash Dogs, an activity where pups get to run off a ramp into a pool of water to cool down and try to out-cannonball one another.