When you combine two fantastically Houstonian interests—cars and art—into a free parade, it’s destined to become a perennial event, which is why the Art Car Parade is now entering its 29th year.
“It’s something unique to Houston,” says Jonathan Beitler, PR representative for the annual Art Car Parade. “And it’s our form of public art.”
After almost three decades, the parade will experience a significant change this year, as construction on Allen Parkway means this year’s route will move to its former downtown destination. The parade will run along Smith Street from Pease to Walker, making a left turn at Walker, then a second left onto Bagby, and ending at Lamar. Scattered in the mix, you'll find beverage stations, food truck and gift shops.
The parade, known for its wacky and unique cars, will feature over 215 vehicles this year. Look for old favorites like the hulking Rhino Redemption—which originally premiered at Burning Man in 2014—and 88 new creations coming from Houston as well as states across the U.S. and even as far afield as Canada and Mexico. “Whether it’s monsters or animals…we think the public will enjoy them,” says Beitler with a laugh.
Since its inception, the Art Car Parade has always included an educational component, encouraging student participation from elementary, middle and high schools throughout the city. “It’s rare that you get to create something to show to such a broad audience,” says Beitler. “And at such a young age.”
The parade is a unique opportunity for students to create, collaborate and celebrate their work, though Houstonians of all ages can apply to be a part of the Art Car Parade each year—and of course, all Houstonians are invited out to watch, says Beitler. “It’s an exciting experience that celebrates the joy of art and the joy of being creative."
29th Annual Art Cart Parade, Saturday, April 9. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (parade begins at 2 p.m.) Free. thehoustonartcarparade.com