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An Expanded East End Street Fest Brings the Fun This Weekend

The annual music and dance festival on Navigation Boulevard now includes free educational panels for area students.

By Katharine Shilcutt October 13, 2016

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This Saturday, a unique combination of educational workshops and full-on street festival will dance its way down Navigation Boulevard during the annual East End Street Fest. Though the most public portion of the festival takes place on the Navigation esplanade from noon to 10 p.m., as over 10,000 Houstonians flock to the Second Ward for the day-long line-up of musicians and dancers, perhaps the most interesting portion takes place indoors at the nearby Talento Bilingue de Houston.

Here, the East End Street Fest is hosting three free educational panels for high school and college students interested in pursuing careers in music, art or media. Registration for the hour-long panels begins at 10 a.m., with the first session kicking off at 11 a.m. Monetizing Your Art brings together such notable local talents as Shea SerranoNew York Times best-selling author of The Rap Yearbook, and breakdancer BBoy Moy, founder of the Break Free Community Center. Noon will see a panel on careers in music, while 1 p.m. will feature one on careers in media, featuring panelists such as Fox 26 anchor Rita Garcia and the Houston Chronicle's Joey Guerra.

This is the first year the East End Street Fest has held educational panels, explaining that most students in the area—which has an average household income of $47,000 and in which less than 10 percent of adults hold a college degree—cannot afford the money or time to attend similar panels at festivals such as South by Southwest. The festival's afternoon of free panels also aligns perfectly with its mission of raising scholarship funds for local students.

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The East End Street Fest has made its musical line-up similarly accessible: Tickets are $10, while children 12 and under get in for free. The fun starts at high noon with a parade led by the Sam Houston High Marching Band, then launches straight into a day filled with everything from ska and soul to cumbia and norteño.

In the Dance Zone, look for performances from local troupes Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl, ADC Folkloric Dance and the Red Dragon Martial Arts School among others. And on the main stage, look for headliners Chicano Batman, a four-piece psychedelia-Tropicalia band from Los Angeles, local accordionist AJ Castillo, and San Antonio-based Tejano group La Diferenzia.

Throughout the day, you'll be able to sample plenty of local food and beer—including that found in the biergarten—from over 50 different vendors and browse the works of local artists. Take the little ones to the Kiddie Corner for face-painting and games, or lead your partner to the front of the stages where dancing is highly encouraged. Whatever you do, don't miss this day-long fall street festival along beautiful Navigation Boulevard—the city didn't build that fancy esplanade there for nothing.

East End Street Fest, Saturday, Oct. 15 noon to 10 p.m., $10 (free for children 12 and under), 

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