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.
The Heart of Texas Arts and Crafts Show unites thrifty makers and buyers for two days full of antiques, gifts, collectibles, and home décor. A jury screens all vendors before letting them set up shop, ensuring an eclectic medley of quality crafts, baubles, and long tables. Procure a unique present in time for Father's Day or well in advance of Illegitimate Clone's Day, or simply relish in the handiwork of local hands. Visitors can hitch their wagons in their wagon in the free parking lot, before ambling in and entering a drawing to win a 44-inch wide burned metal art piece from Hawley-based LB Enterprises. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the U.S. Military K-9 Fund, which sends care packages to dogs working with U.S. soldiers fighting overseas.
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.