Arts Guide — Spring 2016
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Festivals & Events

We’re digging the intimate, cabaret-style acts in Lott Entertainment’s “Joe’s Pub Series,” which brings multitalented performers like comedian-composer Daniel Koren and storyteller-singer-actor Bridget Barkan to The MATCH. Springtime is also the season for festivals, with local celebrations of all our favorite things: tea, whiskey, food, puppies and weddings, plus outdoor happenings like the 44th Annual Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta. With gas prices at record lows, it’s also a great time to hit the road and get out of town: McDade hosts the annual Sherwood Forest Faire and Beaumont has the Boomtown Film & Music Festival. Closer to home, there’s Repticon and the Strawberry Festival in Pasadena, La Porte has Mardi Gras and its monthly Sunset Sip & Strolls, Tomball holds its annual Memorial Day Weekend Chili Challenge, and the Messina Hof Wine & Roses Festival is in Bryan.

Hot Tickets

“Live the Brand” at 2016 Rodeo

We love rodeo season. It’s our excuse to polish off those oversize belt buckles, put on those pearl-button shirts and celebrate all things Texan. The fun starts with Rodeo Roundup (February 23), followed by the World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest (February 25-27); Go Texan Day, when the trail riders arrive at Memorial Park (February 26); the Downtown Rodeo Parade and ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run (February 27); and on into March, with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ (March 1-20). Enjoy top-flight entertainers, action-packed rodeo events and the Rodeo Uncorked!® International Wine Competition, plus arts and educational offerings.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ is March 1-20 at NRG Center.

Thirty Years of Mudbug Mania

The kids will want to hold baby alligators or watch the roller-skating parrot at the Texas Crawfish and Music Festival, but it’s the music and food that keep us coming back year after year. Each vendor has its own trademarked recipe, with varying degrees of heat, but you can count on a spicy brine of fresh boiled crawfish served up with corn and potatoes. The festival is set in the historic railroad town of Old Town Spring, and it’s fun to shop, visit art galleries and continue snacking on barbecue and ice cream. Since this is the event’s 30th year, expect to see some major headliners on multiple stages. Past lineups had The Suffers, Heartless Bastards and Austin’s Ben Kweller.

The Texas Crawfish and Music Festival is April 29-May 1 and May 6-8 in Old Town Spring.

Final Four is Our Best Bet

Houston has solidly put itself into regular rotation for the NCAA Final Four; we hosted in 2011 and we’re up again this April at NRG Stadium. What’s interesting about 2011 is that it was only one of three match-ups that didn’t include a No. 1 seed since the NCAA tournament became seeded; keep that in mind for the Bracket Challenge. What can we expect, besides maddening crowds at the airport (the NCAA predicts 100,000 visitors), sold-out hotel rooms and lost productivity at the office during March Madness? There’s still a lot to sort out, but keep your eyes on Oregon, Villanova, Iowa, Virginia, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Maryland.

NCAA’s Final Four is April 2 and 4 at NRG Stadium.