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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — including a sacred tour and zombie sandwiches

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12th Annual Houston Dance Festival
A cornucopia of dance troupes will take over the Wortham Theater Center for the 12th Annual Dance Houston Festival. Photo by James Wiseman
Galveston Historical Foundation2014 Sacred Places Tour
The Galveston Historical Foundation's 17th Annual Sacred Places Tour benefits the ongoing restoration of St. Joseph's Church. Courtesy of Galveston Historical Foundation
Third annual Zombie Sandwich Challenge
The Third Annual Zombie Sandwich Challenge dares gutsy eaters to down a 22-inch, nearly 5-pound bahn mi. Courtesy photo
Shepherd School of Music Orchestra Larry Rachleff Jon Kimura Parker
Prior to traveling to New York for a concert tour, the Shepherd School of Music Symphony Orchestra presents the program for Houstonians. Shepherd School of Music/Facebook
News_Young at Heart_Jody Palmer_Jeff Ball
People watching at the Young at Heart's American Heart Association afterparty is always in fashion. Jody Palmer, Jeff Ball Photo by Gary Maltz/Alexander's Fine Portrait Design
12th Annual Houston Dance Festival
Galveston Historical Foundation2014 Sacred Places Tour
Third annual Zombie Sandwich Challenge
Shepherd School of Music Orchestra Larry Rachleff Jon Kimura Parker
News_Young at Heart_Jody Palmer_Jeff Ball
Joel Luks, head shot, column mug, April 2013

On the itinerary this week is a pious tour, a food competition for the bold and the brave, a dance fest that reveals one of Houston's most important assets, a classical feast and a young professionals social that warms the heart.

Galveston Historical Foundation's 17th annual Sacred Places Tour

Houston is teeming with spectacular buildings of worship of just about every faith, a hallmark of a diverse megalopolis that always has something to discover, no matter if you are a newbie transplant or an adventurous longtime native. Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out this piece about an Architecture Center Houston photography exhibition.

Galveston is also peppered with stunning architecture that tells its own story of multiplicity and immigration. You can discover nine of these jewels, which dates back to the 19th century, during the Galveston Historical Foundation's 17th annual Sacred Places Tour. Proceeds from the event benefit the ongoing restoration of St. Joseph's Church on Avenue K. It's the oldest wooden church on the island and the oldest German Catholic church in the Lone Star State.

The skinny: Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Tour Headquarters at St. Joseph's Church; $15 per person.

Third Annual Zombie Sandwich Challenge

Do you like it hot? Among the many gutsy events organized by the Houston Zombie Walk is this mouth-scorching feud in which the bold and the brave have 30 minutes to ingest a 22-inch monster, nearly five-pound banh mi. Ouch. Open wide, baby.

Spicy jalapeno peppers, cilantro, eggs, pork meatballs, pate, steamed pork, bacon, char-grilled chicken, char-grilled pork and more accouterments smothered in a signature zombie sauce will surely burn any eater's taste buds to the ground. In three years, no foodie gladiator has managed to wipe the plate clean — not even former National Wrestling Alliance fighters. Although the contestants already have been chosen, watching the spicy binge is a blast.

The skinny: Saturday, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Cafe TH; free admission.

12th Annual Dance Houston Festival

A cornucopia of dance troupes from all walks of life will take over the Wortham Theater Center for the 12th Annual Dance Houston Festival. In one groovy soiree, guests will sample Houston's mixed bag of cultural prowess with local groups that specialize in Bollywood, African, Chinese, swing, ballet, tap, tango and more styles, including 11 brand new works.

Rather than scouring every nook and cranny of the city to get your multicultural dance fix, Dance Houston makes it easy to relish in Houston's diversity in a one-stop-shop performance.

The skinny: Saturday, 8 p.m.; Wortham Theater Center; tickets start at $16.

Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra's Debut Tour Preview Concert

Prior to traveling to New York for a concert tour to show those darn Yankees that the South knows classical music, the Shepherd School of Music Symphony Orchestra presents the program for Houstonians to enjoy. Think of this fine Rice University ensemble as if it were a football team dressed in formal attire. The students exude an energy that's often unmatched by professionals. These emerging players have the balls to risk it all for the sake of artistry.

On the virtuosic program is Hector Berlioz's Le corsaire, Op. 21, Christopher Rouse's Violin Concerto with soloist Cho-Liang Lin and Bela Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra. From the repertoire chosen, maestro Larry Rachleff is offering an opportunity for everyone, faculty and pupils, to shine.

The skinny: Saturday, 8 p.m.; Shepherd School of Music; admission is free.

2014 American Heart Association's Young at Heart's Heart Ball After Party

With so many galas happening this weekend — including the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion's "Prom Night," St. Anne School Foundation's tango party, Junior League of Houston's "Imperial Dragon" ball, Friends of West University's Place Park's "Lovers Ball," Houston Eye Associates Foundation's "Eye Ball" and Inprint's "Poets and Writers" ball — choosing where to see and be seen is a conundrum.

Some fundraisers are wicked fun, others are more of the decorous type. But I say no matter what, young professionals should hit the Young at Heart's American Heart Association afterparty chaired by Lauren Baughman, Ali Gray and Elizabeth Suffield. The Jimmie Vaughan Band will play while the restless dance the night away. Cocktails and late bites courtesy of Artista are part of the merriment.

The skinny: Saturday, 9:30 p.m.; Hobby Center for the Performing Arts; $65 general public, $55 Young at Heart members.

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