Damn, Is It Swimsuit Season Already?

Houston Is Hosting the First-Ever Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Festival

Expect food, music and models, not to mention Simone Biles upside-down in a bikini.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen January 10, 2017

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Gold-medalist (and Houstonian) Simone Biles makes her SI Swimsuit Issue debut in 2017.

Just in case you thought Houston was going to be boring once the Super Bowl festivities leave town, think again. Things are going to get steamy around Feb. 17 and 18, when Sports Illustrated throws its first-ever "VIBES" by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit festival, featuring an all-star line-up of chefs and musical performers, not to mention appearances by the models in Sports Illustrated Class of 2017. 

One of those models is Houstonian Simone Biles, who joined her fellow gold-medal-winning teammate Aly Raisman for a swimsuit shoot with photographer James Macari around Houston at the World Champions Center (where Biles trains, in Spring), the North Houston Skate Park and the MFAH's Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden. 

"We couldn’t be more excited to bring the SI Swimsuit experience to America’s fourth-largest city less than two weeks after the Super Bowl, the biggest event in sports, takes place in Houston,” said MJ Day, SI Swimsuit editor and holder of one of America's top dream jobs, in a press release. “This year’s ‘VIBES’ event will be an all-new and expanded experience, offering fans a cultural festival that spotlights not only the amazing stars of the iconic Swimsuit issue, but the best in food, music and more.”

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Gold-medal-winning gymnast Aly Raisman makes her SI Swimsuit Issue debut in 2017.

The event will open on Friday, Feb. 17 at the Post HTX building downtown with a public meet-and-greet with the models, followed by a ticketed food festival on Friday night featuring Houston's own James Beard award-winning chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly and Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of The Pass & Provisions, in addition to celeb chefs from across the South, including Tyson Cole (Uchi), Hugh Acheson, (Empire State South, among others; you may know him from Top Chef) and Graham Elliot (Graham Elliot Bistro; you may know him from MasterChef), plus a headlining performance from Miguel for VIPs.

Saturday moves the focus from food to music—while there will still be bites available from Shepherd (among others), the draw is a line-up of top international DJs, including Wrestlers, DJ Gracie Chavez and headliner Diplo.

Tickets went on sale today, and start at $35 for general admission, with VIP passes going for $150 each day (or both for $250).

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