It’s Art Car week in Houston. Here’s how to be an ‘Art Car Insider’.
If you’ve always meant to get involved in the Art Car scene in Houston, now is your chance. Here are our top tips to get involved, make new friends and create some fun memories to boot!
Happening Now: Sign up to be a Houston Art Car Parade Volunteer
What could be a better way to be an insider than to volunteer for Houston Art Car Parade events? This year, the people at the Orange Show, the organization that sponsors the art car parade, is using an online system called Switchboard to manage volunteers. And volunteers are still needed. So check out the schedule and sign up!
Thursday AM: Join the Main Street Drag
Maybe you thought the our cars only paraded down Allen Parkway on Saturday… not true! On Thursday morning from 9 AM to 1 PM there will be three different caravans of Art Cars traveling across the city, stopping at Houston area schools, hospitals and community centers. Get more information.
Thursday PM: Take a Sneak Peak at Discovery Green
After the morning’s Main Street Drag caravans, many of the Art Cars will assemble once again at Discovery Green Park from 6 to 10 PM. This event is free and family-friendly. It’s a great opportunity to see the cars up close and talk with the owners and drivers. Grammy award-winning musician Aaron Neville will perform as well. Get more information.
Friday PM: Have a Ball at the Legendary Art Car Ball
Friday night is your chance to party like a rock star at the Legendary Art Car Ball. This year the event is going to be held at the Allen Center (1200 Smith Street) and tickets are $25 in advance. If past parties are any indication, there will be lots of wild costumes, dancing and flame throwing art car pyrotechnics. Doors open at 6 PM and close at 11 PM. Leave your children at home! Get more information.
Saturday: Day of the Big Art Car Parade
You’ve got lots of options for viewing the parade on Saturday. The Art Cars start lining up at 10 AM on the inbound lanes of Allen Parkway at Taft. So if you get there early you can check out all the vehicles before the parade begins at 2 PM.
Viewing the cars and the parade is free, but you may be interested in some paid seating options.
For example, if you’ve got kids in tow, you might want to reserve seats in front of Sam Houston Park (just to the east of the Gulf Freeway). Bleacher seats are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. The advantage is that there will be dappled shade and a special Kids Zone nearby, with live music and children’s entertainment.
For a more adult-oriented experience, and by that we mean one with close proximity to a beer vendor, you might consider the VIPit section; tickets are $150 for each adult. The VIPit section includes complementary food and a reserved seat with shade and a good sight lines to the parade.
Of course, you might want to pick out your own spot along Allen Parkway. Be sure to pack a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water to drink. Many parade-goers bring along beach towels and/or portable chairs. You can’t bring your dog to the event however, per City of Houston rules. The parade goes on rain or shine, so if the weather is inclement bring sure to bring along rain gear or an umbrella.
Where’s the best place to watch the parade go by? You have a lot of choices. As we mentioned before the cars lineup on the inbound lanes of Allen Parkway at Taft. At 2 PM the cars start driving toward downtown, crossing under the Gulf Freeway and then making a left at Bagby Street. The parade makes another left on Lamar at Heritage Park and continues west on Allen Parkway outbound to Waugh.
The whole event lasts about two hours so things will wrap up around 4 p.m. on the parade route.
Sunday: Wait! There’s more! The Art Car Awards Ceremony Brunch
Sunday is a day of recognition and thanks for all the Art Car artists and their friends. Around $20,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to recognize the efforts of the artists who created Art Cars this year. The celebration happens at the Orange Show headquarters (2402 Munger Street — not far from the University of Houston) from 11 AM to 2 PM.
Wait I missed it!
Oh no, you missed out on the Houston Art Car Parade for 2015? Well, there’s always next year. But in the meantime, you can check out the Art Car Museum on 140 Height Blvd (it’s closed the Saturday of Art Car Parade).
You can also check out the parent organization of the Art Car parade, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.