Events: Houston Ifest spotlighting The Silk Road

Of all the great festivals and events our city has to offer, one of the most popular is the Ifest (previously known as the International Festival).  No where else is cultural diversity and cultural education more celebrated than the Ifest.  Originally established as the non-profit Houston Festival Foundation, Inc. in 1971, Ifest provides art and education programs that reach nearly a million students in the Houston area.  

Each year the festival focuses on a particular culture or region, this year being the cultures of The Silk Road.  As part of providing cultural education to Houston students, a curriculum is established for area teachers that help our children explore the spotlighted country or region during the school year leading up to the festival.  The Ifest has it all rolled into one great time:  art, live music, awesome food and more ensure that everyone has a fab time.

The festival takes place at City Hall, Tranquility Park, and Sam Houston Park in downtown.  Dates for this year’s festival are:  April 30-May 1 and May 7-8 from 12 to 10 Saturday and 12 to 8 Sunday.  Go to their site to learn more and find out the skinny on parking, tickets, etc.


Dragon Boats race downtown!

Want a good reason to check out Buffalo Bayou?  How about coming to the 10th Annual Dragon Boat Festival, scheduled for May 7 from 8:30 to 4:30.  Plus, if you really want to get in on the action you may be able to get a spot on one of the 30+ competing boats!  A great celebration of Asian culture, the festival will include great food and activities for everyone.  Click here for sponsorship and participation opportunities.

Spring is here! Join us, Thirsty Thursdays at Market Square Park!

Come join the fun at Market Square Park’s Thirsty Thursdays outdoor concert series, kicking off March 25!  Bring the blankets and lawn chairs, kick back, enjoy great food and drinks from Niko Niko’s, and listen to the sounds!  “Austin Rock” RULES with native Patrice Pike (Patrice Pike Trio) kicking off one of Houstonians’ favorite spring traditions.

Check out the full calendar of events for Market Square Park here.

Here’s the 411 on parking:

There is an abundance of on-street parking in downtown.  Metered on-street parking is available Monday-Saturday and is free after 6 pm and all day Sunday.  Make sure you feed the meter when applicable and always pay close attention to City signage.  Never park at a red meter or if the street  has red markings.  Milam and Travis streets along the park are also considered mobility lanes so you cannot park there from 7-9 am or 4-6 pm.

$5 parking is available daily at Market Square Garage at 300 Milam which is conveniently located across the street from the park.

This is a dog-friendly, family friendly, get-out-and-enjoy-Houston place to be!   Come catch the buzz….

Houston Events: 1st Annual Meatball Invitational benefitting the Houston Food Bank

1st Annual Meatball Invitational

Sponsored by Damian’s Cucina Italiana, My Table Magazine

and Spec’s Wines Spirits & Finer Foods

What: Who has the best meatballs in Houston?  Local chefs, restaurants and caterers will serve their signature spheres – from Italian to Swedish and everything in between – in the hopes of being crowned at the 1st Annual Meatball Invitational on Sunday, May 1, host by Damian’s Cucina Italiana.  A panel of celebrity judges will select winners for Best Italian Meatball and Best Non-Italian Meatball, and attendees will select People’s Choice.

Attendees will enjoy meatballs from the contestants, other delicious nibbles provided by Damian’s, and wine provided by Spec’s Wines Spirits & Finer Foods.

The event is sponsored by Damian’s Cucina Italiana, My Table magazine and Spec’s Wines Spirits & Fine Foods.  Event proceeds benefit Houston Food Bank and the Texas Italian American Sports Foundation.

Date: Sunday, May 1, 2011 ~ 2 to 5 p.m.

Where: Damian’s Cucina Italiana, 3011 Smith Street (77006); 713-522-0439

Complimentary Valet Parking

Tickets: $35 – includes meatballs & other nibbles, wine and one (1) voting ballot.

Cocktails available via cash bar

To purchase tickets, contact Taylor at 713-529-5500,or email

Beneficiaries: Houston Food Bank and Texas Italian American Sports Foundation

Must See Exhibit! The Hermitage: The Winter Palace

What an incredible honor for Houston and major kudos to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for securing the only venue, stateside or otherwise, to exhibit an incredible collection from Russia’s Hermitage Museum.  The exhibit will run from May 20, 2011 until November 27, 2011 and will feature objects from the Imperial Russian Court including items from the private collection of Peter the Great.  I was able to attend the Cartier exhibit a few years back at MFAH which was breathtaking…I am pretty confident this exhibit may trump the Cartier.  The collection will also feature “The Regalia,” Carl Faberge’s miniature replica of the Russian Crown Jewels.  If you are a history and museum lover, this should top your list!  Check out the HMNS Website for all of the details.

Where the Chefs Are Eating: Culinary Tours of Houston

Want to know where Houston’s best chefs eat their food?  Sign up for a “Where the Chefs Eat” culinary tour.  This is a great way to learn about spots not everyone knows about, rub elbows with some of Houston’s top chefs and other fellow food lovers, all in the comfort (read: designated driver) of a cozy bus that will take you and the rest of the crew on a true Houston adventure.  You’ll also get to enjoy the fare at each stop, and beverages are provided by our local St. Arnold’s Brewery (note:  another great place to see/do while in Houston).

Plus, the proceeds of these events benefit the Houston Food Bank so you can feel good twice!

Tours fill up quickly, as each is limited to 16 participants.  Check out the schedule of upcoming tours for 2011 and sign up to get alerts on more upcoming events and ticket sales information.