It’s been nearly two years since Houston has got to celebrate the eclectic, nifty, and rather raucous festivities of Art Car Parade. After a two-year-long hiatus, the eclectic automotive exposition is roaring back into town for their 35th year. Mark your calendar for the weekend of April 7 – 10 when the Houston Art Car Parade will once again motor through the streets of Downtown.
The festival takes place over a full weekend beginning on April 7th. It’s set to feature over 250 craft cars from artists, schools, non-profits, and other creators from across the country.
This year, the parade is sponsored by Team Gillman, who are dedicating the event to the late Ann Harithas – a figurehead in Texas’ art community credited with organizing the first series of Art Car exhibitions in the early 1980s.Over the course of 4 days, visitors will have the chance to see a variety of free and ticketed events to catch these crafty cars and their owners.
Starting on April 7, the organization is holding The Main Street Drag, in which the vibrant vehicles will venture on “mini parades” through town, visiting schools, hospitals, and more in an effort to “bring the parade to the people.” Later that day, visitors can catch a sneak peak at Discovery Green with around 100 cars placed about the promenade. The night will also coincide with Discovery Green’s UHD Thursday Night Concert Series, that which will feature Ren Patrick of American Idol fame.
On Friday, April 8, the weekend really starts to rev up with the Art Car Ball. Here, patrons can go pedal to the metal in full costume at the legendary party of music, art, and excitement; that which “teeters somewhere in between the all-out artistic chaos of Burning Man and the debaucherous revelry of Mardi Gras.” This year’s ball, located at Orange Show World Headquarters, is set to feature a variety of live performances including space jazz outfit, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Bayou City Comeback Chorus – the latest project of Kam Franklin of The Suffers, an immersive projection art from INPUT/OUTPUT and more.
Don’t miss the main parade on the 9th. While scheduled to begin at 2 pm, the day is otherwise packed with a variety of activities for the whole family to enjoy including a starting line party and kids zone. Line up anywhere along the route and be one of hundreds of thousands gathered in Downtown Houston to see the spectacle. Food trucks, beverage stations, merch, and entertainment booths will all be available along the route. (Map and specific route information TBA).
If you’ve still got some gas in the tank, come back to witness the award ceremony and see which wacky wagon will take home the grand prize!
Art Car is organized by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art – the same organization behind the eponymous Orange Show an eclectic monument honoring the self-same fruit, Houston’s Beer Can House, and The Art Car Museum.
The museum, otherwise known as the “Garage Mahal” was conceptualized in 1984 and later founded in 1998. Now, the motorcar museum exists as a contemporary art exposition that champions personal expression and creativity.
This will come as no surprise if you’ve ever seen any of the folky, avant-garde automobiles roll out onto the red carpet. Past creations include the likes of a minivan-turned spaceship, a baroque wheely armadillo, a dragon, a fruitmobile, and a giant heavy-metal skull.
Any Houstonian thinking of missing this legendary cultural event would do right to pump the breaks. The Art Car Parade is a must see for any person of any age!