Houston Art Car Parade revs up for a return to in-person weekend fun

One of the city’s most enduring cultural events will once again roll through the streets of downtown. The Orange Show for Visionary Art announced a full weekend of art car festivities, including the first in-person Art Car Parade since 2019.

Scheduled for Saturday, April 9, the 35th annual Houston Art Car Parade will feature over 100 new and never-before-seen art cars, according to a press release. In addition, the parade will feature many of Houston’s signature slabs — slow, loud, and bangin’ — along with bike and skater groups, creatively adorned wheeled contraptions, and “fur-covered, metal-modified, fire-breathing varieties.” A full lineup of participating vehicles will be displayed on the event’s website.

The two-hour parade will start at 2 pm and follow a familiar route past city hall along Dallas, Smith, and Lamar streets. Free to attend, it’s expected to draw thousands of attendees. Reserved seating in the grandstands is available for $40.

Those who want a more luxurious parade experience may purchase tickets for the VIPit. Priced at $175, the VIP area comes with a gourmet lunch, cocktails, a kids creative area, and — most importantly — nearby reserved parking.

Of course, the Art Car Parade is only one component of Art Car Weekend. The four-day affair kicks off April 7 with a sneak peek at Discovery Green (6-10 pm). The free event will feature almost 100 art cars and a performance by American Idol contestant Ren Patrick. 

The Legendary Art Car Ball takes place Friday, April 8 at the The Orange Show World Headquarters (2401 Munger St.). Always one of the most anticipated parties of the year, it will feature art installations, elaborate costumes, and, of course, hundreds of art cars. Austin jazz ensemble Golden Dawn Arkestra will headline the event, which will also feature the debut performance of The Suffers’ Kam Franklin’s newest project Bayou City Comeback Chorus.

General admission tickets are available for $35 with VIP tickets priced at $100. They’re on sale now.

The weekend concludes on April 10 with the Houston Art Car Parade Awards Ceremony. Held at the Orange Show, it will award over $15,000 in prizes including the first-ever Ann Harithas Legacy Award, named for an artist, collector, and curator, who is credited with organizing one of the first public exhibitions of art cars in Houston in the early 1980s. 

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