Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — St. Patrick's Day fun included
On tap this week is a green parade of happy people, a giant kaleidoscope installation at a downtown park, provocative photography, a whiskey fest and a seasonal workshop just in time for the beginning of spring.
55th Annual Houston St. Patrick's Parade
Fifty-five years and counting, the fest of green everything is why it's often said that there's only two kinds of people in the world: Irish and those who wish they were Irish. So indulge in some soda bread, corned beef and cabbage and join the amicable leprechauns as winter transforms into spring with this verdant procession of happy people.
Captain William Dowling, whose name you may remember as one of the crew that fought a devastating fire that saw the Southwest Inn Hotel burn to the ground, is fittingly this year's grand marshal. After the midday promenade, head to Lucky's Pub for the awards ceremony and afterparty, which typically goes on until nobody remembers anything.
The skinny: Saturday, noon to 2 p.m.; starts at Minute Maid Park; free event.
Architects of Air: Miracoco
Experts call Miracoco, an art installation by English production company Architects of Air, a luminarium. I call it a colossal web of blow-up rotundas that forms a vivid sculpture in which guests can immerse themselves in a fantastical psychedelic environment.
Inspired by the Lotus Temple in India, Miracoco is 30 feet in height and 180 feet in length. Needless to say, it's going to be quite the noticeable addition to Discovery Green. I say, go play.
The skinny: Saturday through March 23, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Discovery Green; $10 admission, $5 on March 17 for those who sign up to receive Discovery Green's free newsletter.
FotoFest 2014 Biennial Opening Night Party "Celebrating Arab Art"
Don't resist it because you won't be able to avoid it. That would be the FotoFest 2014 photography exhibition, which will occupy the walls of more than 100 participating spaces all around Houston plus a few galleries in other major Texas cities. The biennial, set for Saturday through April 27, has always been ahead of its time, dealing with provocative issues in a way that only art can — by inspiring thought, conversation and reflection.
Exhibitions, talks, auctions, workshops, discussions, book signings, film screenings and so on lead off with a big bang of a party that includes live music by the Kinan Azmeh Quartet.
The skinny: Saturday, 7 p.m. to midnight; Spring Street Studios; free event.
Houston Whiskey Festival
True story: I am told by my parentals that when I was itty bitty I would often ask for a sip of some blue liquor they would imbibe after dinner. I suppose my father was trying to teach me a lesson when he substituted the sweet spirit with a brawny single malt. Apparently, I asked for seconds. His scheme failed miserably.
Some say that whiskey drinkers have acquired a penchant for the distinct flavor. I say that for those that don't like whiskey, there's one out there that will turn curl your toes as it teases your palate with complex flavors. You just may discovery your favorite at the Houston Whiskey Festival.
Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m.; Julia Ideson Building; $65 general admission; $125 VIP.
Edible Earth Resources Hands-On Garden Bed Workshop
Cold fronts seem to be a thing of the past for now, which means the conditions are ideal for spring vegetable planting. No doubt you've promised yourself year after year that you're going to one day begin a veggie patch. With green thumb savants from Edible Earth Resources, you can get started this weekend.
Learn about site selection, frame materials, soils, construction and planting techniques in a hands-on class that's limited to 10 people at a time.
The skinny: Sunday, March 19 and March 22, 1 p.m.; Houston Makerspace garden; $35 admission, free for guests ages 15 and under.