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Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — including the zaniest fest ever

Your weekly guide: 5 (plus) don't-miss events — with zaniest fest ever

The Original Greek Festival 2013
Join the expected 40,000 revelers that will feast on souvlaki, gyros, spanakopita, dolmades and baklava at the Original Greek Festival. Courtesy of The Original Greek Festival/Facebook
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Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens has some of the most charming formal gardens in which to immerse yourself in sylvan beauty. Photo by Rick Gardner
Houston Fringe Festival 2013
The Houston Fringe Festival offers a slice of what's new, exciting and zany in performing and visual arts. Courtesy photo
Opera in the Heights presents La Traviata
Opera in the Heights' intimate venue allows listeners to more easily connect with the singers. Photo by Gwen Turner Juarez
Manhattan Short Film Festival 2013
It's expected that 100,000 film buffs gather to view and vote for their favorite flick curated by the Manhattan Short Film Festival. Courtesy of MSFF
The Original Greek Festival 2013
News_Bayou Bend_Gardens_ 048
Houston Fringe Festival 2013
Opera in the Heights presents La Traviata
Manhattan Short Film Festival 2013

On the agenda this week are a cultural festival, an al fresco social, experimental art, intimate opera and a film phenomenon that has the attention of audiences around the globe.

Be sure to click on the link below each event suggestion. You'll be redirected to a page with helpful intel, like where to eat, drink and shop nearby your final destination, as well as a nifty feature that copies the information to your electronic calendar.

The Original Greek Festival 2013

Go for the food or for the cultural party, you can't go wrong with this big fat Greek fest and join the expected 40,000 revelers that will feast on souvlaki, gyros, spanakopita, dolmades and baklava — among other Hellenic delicacies. Co-chairs Stathy Demeris and Dana Kantalis have reportedly made some improvements to the setup.

Read more about it in CultureMap staff writer Eric Sandler's exclusive.

The skinny: Through Sunday; Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral; tickets are $5 at the door, children attend for free.

Sip & Stroll Evenings at Bayou Bend

Houston's loveliest time of year is best enjoyed outdoors, and Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens has some of the most charming formal gardens in which to immerse yourself in sylvan beauty. Wine and light bites add to the genteel stroll that spotlights the collection of American decorative arts housed in the former residence of Ima Hogg. A visit to this MFAH satellite museum isn't complete without stopping by the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center for some retail therapy. 

The skinny: Thursdays through Oct. 24; Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens; $15 includes two adult beverages.

Houston Fringe Festival

Unlike some cities that are experiencing financial difficulties in funding the arts — the New York City Opera closed its doors, Carnegie Hall is dealing with a union strike and the Minnesota Orchestra almost vanishing into thin air — Houston seems like an oasis for creative endeavors. The Houston Fringe Festival — held at Frenetic Theater, The Barn, The Orange Show and Bohemeo's — offers a slice of what's new, exciting and zany in performing and visual arts.

The skinny: Through Sunday; $10 individual performances, $45 for a five-show pass and $80 for a 10-show pass.

Opera in the Heights presents La Traviata

Too soon? I don't think so. Houston Grand Opera presented this popular Verdi opera in 2012, but Opera in the Heights' more intimate venue allows listeners to more easily connect with the singers. Maestro Enrique Carreón-Robledo has a knack for selecting emerging opera stars that are thrilling to watch.

In future years, I'm certain you'll be able to claim, I knew them when . . . The production closes OH's bicentennial celebration. Even if you aren't familiar with the story of love and heartbreak, you've heard the tunes — many times over.

The skinny: Friday through Oct. 13; Lambert Hall; tickets start at $32.

Manhattan Short Film Festival 2013

Be a part of a movement that takes place in 300 cities around the world. It's expected that 100,000 film buffs gather to view and vote for their favorite flick curated by the Manhattan Short Film Festival. Don't expect to enjoy every selection.

But as with the Houston weather, if you don't like something, just wait a few minutes and it will change.

The skinny: Saturday, 7 p.m., and Sunday, 5 p.m.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; $9 general admission, $7 MFAH members and seniors, $5 Film Buff members.

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