Houston International Festival
Insider's Guide to iFest this weekend: NBA stars, acrobats, a really big horse,and, oh yes, music
This weekend, the Houston International Festival will celebrate "The Silk Road: Journey Across Asia." Whether you’re a music lover, a sports buff, a foodie or just hooked on the cultural arts, the festival, spread over 16 acres in downtown Houston, offers something for everyone. Here are five can’t-miss stops if you’re headed downtown for iFest this Saturday or Sunday.
1. Be A Part of the NBA Nation
The NBA Nation will be on site during the first weekend of iFest in a really big way, with “the league’s largest mobile basketball playground” taking up almost an entire city block on Bagby between Dallas and Lamar.
There’ll be hoop drills, a slam-dunk competition, and more chances to show off your basketball skills, plus special guest appearances. On Saturday, Houston Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry will be there from 1-2 p.m., and Rockets forward Luis Scola will stop by from 3-4 p.m.
On Sunday, NBA Legend and local hero Clyde Drexler will be there from 4-5 PM. The one-and-only Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins is the official NBA Nation Ambassador – he’ll be there from 4-7 PM Saturday and from 14 PM Sunday.
2. Have a Round of Blues
The Bud Light World Music Stage in Sam Houston Park offers a killer line-up for blues lovers on the first festival weekend.
Sunday, the line-up includes one of America’s premier acoustic bluesmen, Keb’ Mo’, known for blending Delta blues with pop, folk, rock and jazz, followed by five-time Grammy-award-winner and R&B/soul/blues icon Robert Cray.
3. See the Acrobats
Celebrate 25 centuries of glorious tradition with the amazing performers of the Golden Dragon Acrobats. The troupe hails from the Chinese province of Hebei and is recognized as the premiere Chinese acrobatic touring company around.
They’re appearing this Saturday (at 2, 4 and 6 p.m.) and Sunday (at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m.)on the Asia Society Texas Center Stage.
4. Check Out the Trojan Horse
As part of the Chevron Silk Road Living Museum, the iFest team has assembled tons of cultural exhibits, including a brand-new giant Trojan Horse!
The horse weighs in at around 3,000 pounds, and measures 16 feet long, 8 feet wide and 23 feet tall. It’s a reproduction of the famous Trojan Horse from the ancient city of Troy, which was located in Turkey, an important stop along the Silk Road.
Cool green fact: The Trojan Horse was built from mostly recycled lumber from the City of Houston’s ReUse Warehouse.
5. Have an International Dining Experience
You’re likely to work up an appetite after a day at the festival, and you’ll find plenty of dining options on site. If you’re looking to sample the cuisines of the Silk Road, you can choose among Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill, YAO Restaurant & Bar and Café Chino; as well as Princess Indian Cuisine, Mayuri Indian Restaurant, and Nisha’s Quick N Ezee Indian Food. There are more than 60 restaurants on site, including popular favorites like Cool Runnings Jamaican Grill.
Need more information? Go to iFest.org to plan your weekend adventure.
The Houston International Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, and May 7-8 in downtown Houston. Tickets are available online www.ifest.org, at Houston-area H-E-B locations, and at the gate.
Darrow works with the Houston International Festival staff and freely admits she is not exactly impartial. However, she points out she was a fan and dedicated festival-goer long before joining the iFest team.