No-Tsu-Oh Festival

From 1899 to 1915 Houston had its own annual Mardi Gras–like celebration, which paid homage to Texas agriculture and, later, oil and shipping. It was a raucous party with a backward theme, down to the name—Notsuoh—featuring a parade, the crowning of the festival’s King Nottoc and Queen Ailongam (get it?), and a football game between UT and A&M. Why did the revelry abruptly come to an end in 1915? Blame the Great War.

Shamrock Hotel Grand Opening

On March 17, 1949, the iconic (sadly now demolished) Shamrock Hotel opened with a huge shindig. Hollywood celebrities including Ginger Rogers and Errol Flynn came to town for the grand opening, and Houstonians paid $42 a head to go to the dinner. About 3,000 people showed up in total, a thousand more than organizers had expected. Rich and famous attendees, even Houston’s mayor, ended up dining on hallway floors. Although the Houston Chronicle described the night as “bedlam in diamonds,” it is still remembered as one of the biggest social events in Houston history.

An Evening of Celebration

The most expensive gala ticket that had ever been offered in Houston, as of 1982—with tables for 10 going for up to $15,000—was for this Bayou Bend & Gardens fundraiser, celebrating the legacy of iconic Houstonian Ima Hogg, who lived at Bayou Bend before passing away in 1975 and donating the property to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The invitations, done in a luscious green and pink, were a nod to Hogg’s incredible gardens, especially her world-class azaleas, which were in full bloom at the soiree. 

The Biggest Party in Texas

Over an especially brutal Labor Day weekend in 1989 that reached a record 115 degrees, an estimated 120,000 Houstonians showed up to the Astrodome for the biggest party the world had ever seen, with half a million total in attendance—according to Miller Lite, anyway. The beer brand spent 16 months promoting the event with ads featuring native Randy Quaid, and it was actually pretty memorable. Both Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Who played, and, in obligatory ’80s fashion, there was pro wrestling and beach volleyball, too.

Image: Marco Torres

Houston Appreciation Weekend

Does anyone love Houston more than Drake? Okay, maybe a lot of people, but in 2014 the famous rapper launched a party to honor the city he calls his second home, which he hosted for three subsequent years. These star-studded affairs—often held poolside, with barbecue—were an epic way to show appreciation for Bayou City, and rightly so: Rap-a-Lot royalty Jas Prince discovered Drizzy, after all, and Warehouse Live helped make him a star.

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