Houston Calendar of Events
JANUARY
Houston Marathon
A 26.2-mile city-wide run. More than 15,000 participants and over 200,000 spectators take to the streets every year. Two other events – the Aramco Services Half Marathon and the Houston Press/Metro 5K – take place simultaneously. As Houston’s largest single-day event, it is ranked the fastest winter course by Ultimate Guide to Marathons. 713-957-3453, www.hphoustonmarathon.com

The Sounds of Texas Music Series
A concert series running from January to June, performed at The Historic Crighton Theatre in Conroe, attracts music lovers from all over the United States. 936-539-4167, www.thesoundsoftexas.com
FEBRUARY
Mardi Gras! Galveston
A12-day celebration with more than 75 events, including parades, balls, parties, exhibits and sporting events. 888-425-4753, www.mardigrasgalveston.com

The Chinese Lunar New Year Festival
Begins anytime between late January and mid-February. The 2010 Chinese Lunar New Year started on February 14th as the “Year of the Tiger”. Festivities are held in Houston at the Chinese Community Center and include a variety of Asian food specialties, special exhibitions, music, dance and martial arts. 713-271-6100, www.ccchouston.org

Houston Auto Show
Displays more than 600 new, domestic and imported vehicles of every variety at Reliant Center. www.houstonautoshow.com

MARCH
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
A three-week event at Reliant Park composed of the Houston Livestock Show and RodeoHouston, the world’s richest regular-season rodeo. Numerous livestock events and daily rodeo competition are punctuated with entertainment by music superstars. More than a million people attend annually. 832-677-1000, www.hlsr.com

The River Oaks Garden Club’s Azalea Trail
Features spectacular azalea gardens at Bayou Bend and River Oaks’ exquisite private homes. 713-523-2483, www.riveroaksgardenclub.org

APRIL
Grand Prix of Houston
Returning to Reliant Park, this unique festival allows families to see the finest open wheel and sports car racing in America, while enjoying live music and other entertainment. 713-659-7223, www.grandprixofhouston.com

Japan Festival
Showcases folk and traditional Japanese dance and music; includes demonstrations of martial arts, Ikebana flower design and origami; and draws more than 20,000 people annually. 713-963-0121, www.jashouston.org

Houston International Festival
An event spread over two weekends spotlighting a different country each year; includes ethnic food booths, arts and crafts, kiosks and other exhibits. The 2007 International Festival spotlighted China. 713-654-8808, www.ifest.org

March of Dimes WalkAmerica
A fundraising walk to reduce infant mortality and combat birth defects. Walks take place in various locations around Houston.
713-623-2020, www.marchofdimes.com/texas/

WorldFest: Houston International Film Festival
Brings a blend of feature films, shorts, screenplays, television commercials, music videos and documentaries to viewers. Past winners include Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, George Lucas and David Lynch, all early in their careers. 713-965-9955, www.worldfest.org

MAY
Art Car Weekend
Showcases Houston’s most outlandish folk art creations on wheels. The largest art car parade in the nation, more than 250,000 spectators attend annually. 713-926-6368, www.orangeshow.org

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Festival
Features a parade, food, exhibits and performers.  713-784-1112, www.capaonline.org/festival.htm
Cinco De Mayo Celebration – includes a downtown parade, mariachi bands, dancers and food at Miller Outdoor Theatre. 713-284-8350, www.houstonparks.org

Galveston Historic Homes Tour
Offers tours of privately owned, beautifully restored homes from the 19th century. 409-763-5326, www.galvestonhistory.org

Pasadena Strawberry Festival
Live entertainment; a mud volleyball tournament; barbecue cook-off; strawberry cooking, eating and growing contests; pageants and more at the Pasadena Fairgrounds. 281-991-9500, www.strawberryfest.org

Westheimer Street Festival in Exile
Features live music, a kidzone, campus coral, contests, arts and crafts, vendors and food. 713-522-6548, www.westheimerfestival.com

JUNE
Funfest
Located in Texas City, this weekend event features musical entertainment, arts and crafts, car cruise, amusement rides, barbecue cook-off, catfish fry, sports activities, children’s events and more. Free admission. 888-860-1408, www.texascitychamber.com

Galveston Caribbean Carnival Festival
Features live entertainment, food, music, arts and crafts, limbo competition, a costume competition and a parade. 409-763-5326, www.galvestonchamber.com/annualevents.asp

Juneteenth Celebration
Located at Miller Outdoor Theatre, includes blues, gospel and jazz performers and a variety of smaller events aimed at raising awareness of African-American heritage. 713-284-8350, www.houstonparks.org
JULY
ArtHouston
An evening art walk with the participation of about 37 art galleries. 713-522-9116, www.arthouston.com

BP Power of Freedom Festival
An annual July 4 downtown celebration featuring live entertainment, exhibits, food booths and a world-famous fireworks display. 713-522-9723, www.festivalsofhouston.com

Fourth of July at Miller Outdoor Theatre
Includes fireworks and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture accompanied by a dramatic 16-cannon salute. 713-284-8350, www.houstonparks.org

Red, Hot and Blue Festival
A Fourth of July funfest in The Woodlands that includes live entertainment, a food fair and play area, and culminates with a fireworks extravaganza. Admission is free of charge. 281-363-2447, www.towncenter.com

Reliant World Series of Dog Shows
More than 12,000 dogs representing 153 breeds are shown at this annual event that attracts participants from around the country. Shows are held at Reliant Center. 800-884-2443, www.reliantdogshows.com
AUGUST
Ballunar Liftoff Festival
A ballooning event that involves a weekend of hot-air-ballooning, arts and crafts, live entertainment, skydiving exhibitions and food. 281-488-7676, www.ballunarfestival.com

Houston International Jazz Festival
The only jazz festival in the nation highlighting international jazz includes some big names in jazz for some of the hottest music in summer. 713-839-7000, www.jazzeducation.org

Houston Shakespeare Festival
Free performances throughout the month at Miller Outdoor Theatre. 713-284-8352, www.hfac.uh.edu/theatre

SEPTEMBER
Festa Italiana
A downtown weekend of music, wine and food from Houston’s Italian community. 713-524-4222, www.houstonitalianfestival.com

Fiestas Patrias
Mexican Independence Day celebration features colorfully clad dancers who spin down the streets performing to Mexican music. One of the largest community-sponsored parades in the Southwest. 713-926-2636

Fort Bend County Fair
A 10-day extravaganza with a parade, food, rides, auctions, competitions, exhibits, bands, and folk and country dancing. One of the largest county fairs in Texas, it draws nearly 200,000 visitors annually. 281-342-6171, www.fbcfa.org

OCTOBER
Asian American Festival
Provides Asian music, dancing and demonstrations of other Asian arts as well as cultural exhibits and children’s activities at Miller Outdoor Theatre. 713-861-8270, www.houstonparks.org

Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival
A three-day music extravaganza that covers five stages with Cajun, zydeco and blues music and includes food, arts and crafts, a children’s area, carnival and great entertainers. 713-863-9994, www.conroecajuncatfishfestival.com

The Komen-Houston Race for the Cure

A fundraising walk sponsored by The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to support breast cancer awareness and research. More than $1.3 million was raised in 2004. 713-792-3363, www.komen-houston.org

The Original Greek Festival
Brings together the traditions of Greece the first weekend of October. 713-526-5377, www.greekfestival.org

Texas Renaissance Festival
Recreates an English village of the 16th century. Features food, magicians, jugglers, minstrels, troubadours, comedians and more.
800-458-3435, www.texrenfest.com

Texian Market Days
Brings Texas to life with more than 1,000 costumed interpreters, scenes of Texas and numerous entertainers. 281-342-6478, www.george-ranch.org

The Wings Over Houston Airshow
Features the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels who wow the audience with aerial acrobatics, while aircraft from current Air Force and Navy inventories sits on display. 713-266-4492, www.wingsoverhouston.com

NOVEMBER
Home for the Holidays
Exhibits brightly decorated streets and shops in a collection of wonderful old houses at Old Town Spring and includes carolers, street performers and beautiful holiday artistry. 800-653-8696, www.oldtownspringtx.com

International Quilt Festival
Displays more than 1,000 antique and contemporary quilts, original cloth dolls, wearable and related textile arts. Expert demonstrations and mini-classes also are part of the festivities. 713-781-6864, www.quilts.com

Lighting of the Doves
Special music and dance presentations that kick off the opening of The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center (Nov. 21 to Jan. 20). 281-419-5630, www.towncenter.com

Uptown Holiday Lighting
Shows Houston’s upscale Galleria area lit up with more than half a million tiny, twinkling white lights along Post Oak Blvd. Fireworks and an illuminated Christmas tree on the side of Williams Tower highlight the scene.  713-621-2011, www.uptownhouston.com

Washington Mutual Thanksgiving Day Parade
Features sensational floats, marching bands and Santa Claus in this nationally televised downtown parade. 713-543-7000

DECEMBER
Candlelight Tour
Features candles and decorations reminiscent of the 19th century on seven historical homes. 713-655-1912, www.heritagesociety.org

Christmas Boat Parade on Clear Lake
Includes a lighted boat parade with more than 100 extravagantly decorated boats at Clear Lake. 281-488-7676, www.clearlakearea.com

Dickens on the Strand
Celebrates the British Empire in the 19th century and features hundreds of costumed characters, unique vendors, glittering parades and continuous entertainment on Galveston Island. 409-765-7834, www.dickensonthestrand.org

The Mayor’s Official Downtown Houston Holiday Celebration
Features fireworks, entertainment and choirs, and culminates with the lighting of the tree outside Houston City Hall. 713-845-1000, www.houstonparks.org

 
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