Don't Miss Events

Your weekly guide to Houston: Five (plus) don't-miss events — festivals included

Weekly guide to Houston: 5 (plus) don't-miss events and festivals

Smither Park April 2014
Smither Park is a mosaic that truly speaks to the spirit of Houston. Courtesy of Smither Park/Facebook
National Acrobats of China
This Society for the Performing Arts show could be making history. Courtesy of the artists
Houston Italian Festival 2014
Don your eating trousers to enjoy this year's Italian Festival. Courtesy photo
BCAF_Bayou City Art Festival_downtown_artist booths
Bayou City Art Festival Downtown includes a new component after dark that features cocktails and live music. Courtesy photo
Smither Park April 2014
National Acrobats of China
Houston Italian Festival 2014
BCAF_Bayou City Art Festival_downtown_artist booths

On tap this week is a fabulous anniversary party that celebrates a group of your favorite news personalities, a family-friendly gathering at Houston's newest happy place, an attempt to break a Guinness World Record with gravity-defying feats and two cultural festivals that paint the city with colorful fun.

CultureMap Houston's Fifth Birthday Bash

What on earth is a mapazine? I rolled my eyes and I kept on walking the first time I heard the concept for this new whatever that was supposed to be the it thing on the web. But there were smart peeps behind CultureMap, folks that would eventually offer me an opportunity to put in my two cents about arts and culture. And here we are, five years later, reminiscing about the good times while looking forward to more adventures.

Our party on Friday celebrates all the hard work and sleepless nights. We can't wait to see everyone. Although online ticket sales are now closed due to overwhelming demand, there will be a limited number of tickets sold at the door. Just get there early to be able to join in the revelry that benefits Casa De Esperanza.

The deets: Friday, 7-10 p.m.; J.W. Marriott Houston Downtown Hotel; $25 cash at the door.

Saturday at Smither Park

The transformation from empty parcel to in-progress happy place has been remarkable, a destination to which everyone reacts the same way: Smiles all around. Smither Park, designed by visionary artist Dan Phillips and executed by a coterie of artists, is a mosaic that truly speaks to the spirit of Houston.

This family-friendly gathering includes live entertainment while artists continue to work on the Memory Wall and Lindley Fish Amphitheater. John Daugherty Realtors gets in on the artsy action by facilitating the collection of recycled and repurposed materials that add color and personality to the vibrant environment.

The deets: Saturday, 11 a.m.; Smither Park; free event.

Society for the Performing Arts presents the National Acrobats of China

Locals shouldn't need an introduction to this type of gravity-defying troupe as Houstonians have enjoyed performances by the Peking Acrobats and Golden Dragon Acrobats in recent years. But this Society for the Performing Arts show could be making history.

Before the 7:30 p.m. curtain call, The National Acrobats of China will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people spinning plates at the same time. Organizers suggest that audience members arrive at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. attempt. 

The deets: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Jones Hall; tickets start at $28.

Italian Festival

If you've recovered from the foodgasm that was the Original Greek Festival, then don your eating trousers again to enjoy this year's Italian Festival — meat on a stick, anyone?

You'll sample authentic Italian grub while participating in fun activities such as grape stomping, pasta eating contests, a bocce ball tournament, marionette puppet shows, Italian movies, cooking demonstrations and more.

The deets: Runs through Sunday; University of St. Thomas; $8 for adults, children ages 12 and under attend for free.

2014 Bayou City Art Festival Downtown

Don't let the forecasted precipitation rain on this parade of creative vendors, among them painters, photographers, textile artists, photographers and more than line Hermann Square and surrounding public spaces. As a different committee curates the merchants every year, there's always something fresh and new to discover.

Talking about things that are new: Be sure check out Bayou City After Dark (Saturday, 5-9:30 p.m.), a new festival component that complements what the event is known for with cocktails and live performances by Martha Wash of The Weather Girls and Grady Gaines and the Texas Upsetters.

The deets: Saturday (10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.); Hermann Park Square; $15 adult admission.

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