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Your weekly guide to Houston: 5 (plus) don't-miss events — including Screamworld's return

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 Houston Ballet’s The Merry Widow
The Houston Ballet revival of English choreographer Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow is as charming as the couple who rekindles their affection for one another. Photo by Amitava Sarkar
Houston Fine Arts Fair, opening night social, September 2012, crowd, venue
More than 84 galleries from 12 countries and 34 cities will pop up shop for the Third Annual Houston Fine Art Fair. Photo by © Dave Rossman 2012
ScreamWorld
Screamworld is home to three haunted houses, an outdoor labyrinth and a spooky necropolis. Courtesy photo
Quartus Chamber Players
Quartus Chamber Players joins with WindSync for "Gone with the Woodwinds." Photo by Mariam Khalili
 Houston Ballet’s The Merry Widow
Houston Fine Arts Fair, opening night social, September 2012, crowd, venue
ScreamWorld
Quartus Chamber Players
Joel Luks, head shot, column mug, April 2013

On tap this week are artsy gatherings, an evening-length ballet of love and money, the opening of a spooky annual attraction, a foodie challenge a la Chopped and sassy chamber music with two local, energetic chamber ensembles.

If you click on the links below each event suggestion, you'll find a page with helpful information, including where to eat, drink and shop nearby your journey's end, plus a nifty feature that copies the details to your electronic calendar.

Third Annual Houston Fine Art Fair

More than 84 galleries from 12 countries and 34 cities will pop up shop for this third annual fine art extravaganza. For avid and emerging collectors, the fair offers an opportunity to feel the pulse of what's trending in the international art scene, particularly during the panel discussions that present influential curators, critics and art scholars.

The fair kicks off with a preview party on Thursday ($125 to $250) that honors FotoFest founders Wendy Watriss and Frederick Baldwin and Houston artist Robert Pruitt. Proceeds will benefit the Houston Arts Alliance. The festivities continue through the weekend.

The skinny: Thursday through Sunday; George R. Brown Convention Center; entry starts at $25.

Houston Ballet presents The Merry Widow by Ronald Hynd

Scenery and costumes by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno bring to life a story long beloved by opera buffs. Set in fin-de-siècle Paris, Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár's tale of a rich widow who's faced with having to forgo her fortune to marry for love — so it seems — is pure lilting elegance. With secret messages and a myriad of love triangles, the story unfurls as gaily waltzes, opulent parties and garden scenes offer a milieu for the characters to play matchmakers, many of whom don't have the best of intentions.

The Houston Ballet revival of English choreographer Ronald Hynd's ballet is as charming as the couple who rekindles their affection for one another to render this narrative a happily-ever-after program.

The skinny: Thursday through Sept. 29; Wortham Theater Center; tickets start at $19.

Screamworld Haunted House Opens

Are you a pussycat or do you have cojones? Prove that you indeed have a valiant spirit by meandering through the 4.5-acree freak show that's home to three haunted houses, an outdoor labyrinth and a spooky necropolis. More than 120 actors get in the mood to scare the bejesus out of you while (hopefully) offering harmless entertainment that includes sword swallowing, knife juggling, fire-breathing tricks and walking on nails.

The skinny: Open selected days starting Friday; entry starts at $25, discounts available online.

Ready Houston Preparedness Kit Chef's Challenge

In case of emergency, would you fare well or would you feel helpless? Ready Houston is hoping to inspire locals to get their act together and be prepared for crisis with this foodie event during which chefs will be challenged to create delectable dishes using canned and shelf-stable ingredients.

Then, the dishes will be revealed at the event — Chopped style.

The skinny: Saturday, 11 a.m.; Discovery Green; free event.

Quartus Chamber Players presents "Gone with the Woodwinds"

It was about time that these two effervescent classical music chamber ensembles marry their artistic prowess for a joint performance. Quartus Chamber Players, which is making a name for itself for passionate and sassy music-making, couples with WindSync, a local favorite that dares go beyond where other wind quintets haven't gone before, to offer Mozart's Flute Quartet in D Major, Spohr's Nonet in F Major and Beethoven's Septet in E-flat Major.

Given the groups' reputations, there possibly could be some unscripted moments — and that's a good thing.

The skinny: Saturday, 2 p.m.; Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church; $20 adults, $10 students.

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