the big 5-0

Houston's biggest art festival returns to Memorial Park for its 50th bash

Houston's biggest art fest returns to Memorial Park for its 50th bash

Bayou City Art Festival
The Bayou City Art Festival is back for its 50th year. Bayou City Art Festival

In 1971, a fledgling arts group dubbed the Westheimer Colony Association launched a festival to showcase the talent in the Lower Westheimer/Montrose/Neartown neighborhoods. Now, 50 years later, that group — now the Art Colony Association — will bring a beloved arts tradition back to Memorial Park for its golden anniversary.

The Bayou City Art Festival returns for its 50th year to Memorial Park — along S. Picnic Loop —  from 10 am–6 pm Friday through Sunday, March 25-27. Visitors are invited to stroll the park and check out some 300 artists from around the country and view original works, including world-class paintings, prints, jewelry, sculptures, and more at prices for every taste.

Tickets run $18 for adults, $5 for children 6-12; children under five are free. Importantly, tickets must be pre-purchased online and will not be sold at the gate. Find tickets here

This year’s featured artist is Daryl Thetford, a mixed media artist from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As for the event, guests can catch the Stella Artois Main Stage, a KPRC 2 Hitch Stage, a food truck park, a craft beer garden, La Crema Experience Wine Tasting, and additional entertainers throughout the festival, per a release.

For some interactive fun, look for the Active Imagination Zone. Here, guests of all ages can play with oversized bubbles, visit with caricature artist Bonnie Blue, and create art. HCA Houston Healthcare will return with an interactive community art project that honors healthcare workers.

Young artists get the spotlight via an exhibition of student artwork crafted by the top 30 finalists from the 9th Annual Middle School Art Competition will also be featured. An award ceremony for the top-winning students, and their families, plus the winner of the 2022 "Dawn Clevenger Honorary People’s Choice Award" will take place at 1 pm on Sunday.

For the ultimate art lover, Bayou City Art Festival is offering a limited availability VIP Hospitality Lounge presented by Frost Bank, which will include complimentary light bites, beer, wine, and other refreshments. The relaxing setting will feature roaming musicians, artistic décor, a phone charging station, and more. VIPs receive access from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to the VIP area, along with VIP parking. VIP tickets are available online for $65 and include a shuttle pass.

For an upscale experience, opt for the limited-availability VIP Hospitality Lounge presented by Frost Bank, boasting complimentary light bites, beer, wine, and other refreshments. The relaxed scene  will feature roaming musicians, artsy décor, a phone charging station, and more. VIPs receive access from 11 am to 5 pm to the VIP area, along with VIP parking. These tickets can be purchased online for $65 and include a shuttle pass.

Speaking of shuttles: No on-site festival parking will be available. Ticket holders will receive free, secured parking at Northwest Mall (555 NW Mall). Guests can also purchase a parking shuttle pass for transportation to and from the festival site. A round-trip shuttle ride is $5 online and children 12 and under ride free. (Note: Masks are required while riding the shuttle bus.)

Always comprising a charitable element, the festival will donate a portion of the proceeds to its  nonprofit partners including ArtReach, A Cause to Give Us Paws, Fresh Arts, Orange Show For Visionary Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and The Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency.

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The Bayou City Arts Festival’s 50th anniversary; Memorial Park at S. Picnic Loop; Tickets range from $18-$65. For more information, visit the festival site, or stay up-to-date on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.