By Paula Nino Kehr
Vroom, vroom! Houston is gearing up for one of its iconic festivities as hundreds of cars and vehicles get ready to show off their funky, artistic outfits during The 31st Annual Art Car Parade Weekend. This fun, family-friendly event brings loads of fun to H-Town on April 12-15, including a parade of colorful vehicles that have been transformed into stunning pieces of art.
The Art Car Parade was born in the late 80s with 40 art cars parading in front of 2,000 people. Today, the parade draws some 250,000 spectators there to witness the creativity of artists of all stripes as they drive their mobile art installations along Houston’s downtown streets.
Want to get in on the action? The weekend kicks off on Friday, April 13 with a Sneak Peek of these masterpieces on wheels at Discovery Green. This is your chance to catch a glimpse of more than 100 of this year’s art cars before they roll onto Houston’s streets. Get your family and head over to this fun event, where you’ll also enjoy a Car Horn Concerto, live music, food and drink. Then finish the night by getting your dance on at The Legendary Art Car Ball, a wild celebration at Hermann Square Park featuring live performances, food and drink.
The main event, the legendary Art Car Parade, follows on Saturday, April 14. Don’t miss the action packed parade where more than 250 cars, bikes and other motorized creatures – including about 129 new entries this year – drive along Allen Parkway and into downtown Houston. At 11 a.m., you can join the artists at the intersection of Allen Parkway and Gilette St., as they line up to prepare for their grand entrance onto Houston’s streets at 2 p.m. Check out the parade map here.
For the best experience, make sure to get there early to grab a good spot to watch the parade. Folding chairs and coolers are allowed but pets are not. Parking is available in garages downtown but check the parade’s Facebook page for parking updates on the day of the event. Don’t want to worry about finding a spot to watch the parade? You can reserve stadium seating along the parade route, in front of Sam Houston Park, for $25 per person so you don’t miss any of the action. More info here.
Art Car Weekend festivities wrap up on Sunday, April 15 at the Awards Ceremony at Smither’s Park, where more than $10,000 will be awarded to the best art on wheels.
If you want to check out more art cars, head to Houston’s Art Car Museum, known as the Garage Mahal. This small museum houses rotating exhibits of past art cars and local art that you may not see in other cultural institutions. Best of all, it’s free!
For more information about Houston’s Art Car Parade and its festivities, visit thehoustonartcarparade.com.