Houston celebrated its 29th annual Art Car Parade on April 9, 2016 on a lovely Saturday afternoon. Although the festivities started early in the day, the actual parade featuring unique vehicles, bikers as well as skaters, progressed along Smith Street in downtown Houston between 2-4 PM. Lively music, colorful and creatively decorated art vehicles and participants charmed the enthusiastic crowd. The food trucks and beverage stands offered a selection of food and drinks to the participants as well as spectators.
One of the biggest annual events in Houston, the Art Car Parade is a production of The Orange Show for Visionary Arts. According to the official website the history of the parade ranges back to 1984 when Kit and Carl Detering, of The Detering Company, donated a 1967 Ford station wagon to The Orange Show Foundation for auction. A local artist Jackie Harris “transformed the car into a mobile work of art with a budget of $800 for paint and plastic fruit,” and converted it into a “Fruitmobile. The idea of art cars led to art car parades. The first official art car parade happened in April 1988 boasting a crowd of nearly 2,000 viewers and 40 participating cars. Currently it attracts around 250 vehicles from all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
The parade continues to thrive today and is a highly popular weekend event. Although open and free to public, the art parade offers VIPit experience, a ticketed event, with shaded, reserved seating, gourmet food and drinks from Houston’s best restaurants, live commentary, kids activities and VIP parking. Various pre and post events such as Happy Hour Thursday, Main Street Drag, The Legendary Art Car Ball and Houston Art Car Parade Award Ceremony and Brunch scheduled around the main event made this an exciting weekend indeed for the Bayou City residents and visitors.