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Iconic Houston Art Car Parade revs up new day and night 'experience' for 2021

Houston Art Car Parade revs up new day and night 'experience' for 2021

Art Car parade downtown fisheye
Enjoy different Art Car experiences by day and night this year. Photo by Morris Malakoff

In a car-centric town such as this, few local events are more consummately Bayou City than the annual Houston Art Car Parade. Typically, the parade draws tens of thousands downtown who clamor to view the cool, cutting-edge, and kooky car designs.

Sadly, COVID caused things to stall last year and the 34-year tradition was forced to go virtual due to the pandemic. This year, with COVID still looming, the parade is making a three-point turn.

Parade organizer, The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, has announced the 2021 Houston Art Car Experience running May 14-16. The three-day event will take place at the organization’s five-acre campus located at 2334 Gulf Terminal Rd.

Thus, rather than take the show on the road, the Orange Show is inviting locals to stop by and check out the approximately 80s artsy and never-before-seen automobiles.

Art Car by day
Guests who purchase a ticket ($10 adults, $5 for kids and 12 and under) online will have access to the Houston Art Car Parade Experience By Day at a selected ticket time. Visitors can embark on a quarter-mile Art Car Walk, complete with a digital, self-guided tour. Each vehicle will display a unique QR code, which, when scanned, will reveal audio and video clips of the artist speaking about their work.

Expect daily drivers,  lowriders, SLABs, painted cars, contraptions, mobile sculptures, and many more, a press release promises. Additionally, children’s craft  activities, food and drinks, and art car merchandise will be available.

Art Car by night
As the sun sets on the evenings on Friday, May 14th and Saturday, May 15th, the space will transform into the Houston Art Car  Experience By Night. The illuminated event harks to the colorful annual Art Car Ball and features with live music, light  and projection art installations, elaborate costumes, special performances, and more. (Music and art lineups will be announced on April 1, per a press release).

Tickets for the Houston Art Car Experience By Night start at $40 at www.artcarexperience.com, with reserved VIP sections of 4 available for $1,000. Funds raised will directly benefit the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art and its production of the 35th Annual Houston Art Car  Parade Weekend, scheduled for April 7-10, 2022.

To assure visitors of safety procedures, The Orange Show has shared these pandemic protocols:

  • TheArt Car Experience will take place throughout a 5-acre outdoor campus; no guests will be allowed indoors.
  • Only 250 individual tickets per hour will be available for the Houston Art Car Experience By Day, and each Houston Art Car Experience By Night  event will be capped at 500 attendees. 
  • Guests attending the Houston Art Car Experience By Day are encouraged to limit their stay on the property for  60-90 minutes to allow for social distancing.
  • All guests will be required to wear a face covering while on the property.
  • Staff, volunteers, and vendors will have daily temperature checks, must pass a COVID-19 questionnaire prior  to beginning their shift, and will be required to wear face coverings at all times.
  • Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • Hand washing and hand-sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the venue.
  • Signage encouraging social distancing will be prominent throughout the venue.