After two years of festivities canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Art Car Parade returns to Houston April 7-10.
This is the 35th annual event at the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, which features more than 250 decorated art cars to impress the crowds gathered downtown for the parade, among other activities during the four day party.
The weekend, presented by local auto retailer Team Gillman, will include workshops, parties, an awards ceremony and public screenings across town, as well as the actual parade on April 9.
Of course, there will be plenty of food along the way for the parade goers on Saturday.
The start line party – which begins at 11 a.m. at Allen Parkway and Heiner Street before the 2 p.m. parade – will feature live music and a host of food trucks for you to indulge in while you choose a place to watch the art cars go by.
A spokesperson for Art Car Parade said there would be around 20 food trucks on the route and shared some of the confirmed attendees.
Some of the biggest names include Waffle Bus and Burger Joint, Houston favorites for high-carb comfort food. With two locations in Houston, the Burger Joint offers some of the most famous burgers in town. His juicy creations include a Mexican burger with queso fresco, avocado, jalapeños and chipotle mayo; and a Korean barbecue-style burger with kimchi and a fried egg.
Waffle Bus started as a food truck 10 years ago and just opened its second brick and mortar in Montrose late last year. It returns in its original form to the Art Car Parade with its waffle-themed meals such as the signature fryers, which are sliders with waffle fries as a bun.
The fried food doesn’t stop there. The Fry Guys show up with their extensive loaded fries menu, which features Bayou fries with sautéed shrimp, cream sauce and chives; Texas fries topped with minced brisket and barbecue sauce; Nashville Hot Fries Nashville Hot Chicken style; New York Pizza fries with pepperoni, marinara sauce and mozzarella; and more “simple” dishes like truffle-parmesan and chili-cheddar fries.
Other food trucks include Venezuelan-Mexican fusion Mi Patio, Benny’s Dawgs for hot dogs, Best Street Tacos, and catering company Ujima Unique Cuisine. Desserts will be provided by Friohana Shave Ice, Carey’s Frozen Delights and Good Pops.
For those who want to do it all, the VIPit experience is a viewing party in Hermann Square in front of City Hall that includes lunch at local restaurants, cocktails, pre-parade entertainment and reserved parking. It starts at noon on April 9 and is a great vantage point to watch the art cars roll through downtown.
Saint Arnold Brewing will provide both food and beer during the VIPit experience. As Houstonians know, the local brewery is a big fan of the parade: It’s creating an Art Car IPA and displaying a handful of art cars at its facility north of downtown.
Picos, Arnaldo Richards’ Upper Kirby restaurant celebrating Mexico’s seven distinct regions, will also be at the VIPit experience, along with newly opened Heights Kin Dee Thai restaurant at East Downtown BBQ’s J-Bar-M, which specializes in banh mi Roostar Vietnamese Grill, Rice Village Italian Restaurant Roma, beloved sandwich shop Antone’s, and Local Foods cafe and market.
A particularly interesting concept at the VIPit experience will be Sesanoodle, a collaboration between acclaimed East End Thai restaurant, Street to Kitchen, and Urban Harvest Farmers Market.
Winnie’s will be serving drinks – the Midtown hotspot is not only known for its po’ boys but also for its great cocktails. If that’s not your pace, Katz’s Coffee and Raising Cane’s will provide caffeine and lemonade, respectively.