Everything-but-boats show The AstroArena will host a show smorgasbord -- the Texas Home & Garden Show, Holiday Edition; the Fall Vacation & Leisure Show; and the Fall Texas Home Computer Show. The shows, shows the promoters eagerly tout as "a series of shows in their 11th year," will be spread throughout the hall with booths, and if one should become peckish tramping from booth to booth, the usual Astro concessions will be available, along with "epicurean delights" prepared by local chefs during cooking demonstrations. And, hey, don't miss the Holiday Market Village. 2-9 p.m. today; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. AstroArena, Astrodomain, 529-1616. $7; free, children under 14.
Heavy petting Special Pals (a no-kill shelter) and the Pet Patrol (which cares for the pets of AIDS patients) will benefit if you buy art. The Circa Now Gallery is hosting the Pet Fete, "a celebration of animal magnetism." On sale will be a variety of pet-themed works by a variety of artists. Dominique Sachse (who has a special pal from Special Pals) is the honorary chairman and will be present at the preview party and silent auction opening. During the opening, 6-9 p.m. tonight, and through the weekend, 10 percent of all sales will be donated to the pet charities. Circa Now, 1983 West Gray, 529-8234.
Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival It's not every dang day that we get a chance to drive northward and hear a five-year-old play accordion -- so why not hit the highway and listen to wee lad Hunter Hayes hugging his squeezebox, dance in the streets, savor boudin, barbecue chicken and Cajun catfish and see the Catfish Parade. Fun, food and music start tonight, at 6 p.m.; the parade is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday; and there's more festival fest-ing from noon6 p.m. Sunday. Musical guests include L'il Brian Terry & the Zydeco Travelers (today), Billy Joe Shaver (Saturday) and the Grateful Geezers (Sunday). Montgomery County Square, Conroe. Take I-45 north, exit at 105, go right and drive right on to the square. For more information, call (800) 324-2604. $6; $2, children under 12; $1 off any admission with a canned food donation for the Montgomery County food bank.
Threadgill's -- The Cookbook If you thought the Houston music scene could not possibly spend more time hooting about how great Austin is, well, then, you were wrong. Here's a new twist: a musical event celebrating Austin-based music and Austin food. Eddie Wilson, former frontman for Armadillo World Headquarters and now Threadgill's proprietor, will sign copies of his new cookbook and serve Threadgill's specialties. Meanwhile, on the stage, Champ Hood and the Threadgill's Troubadours will play songs from a new CD, Threadgill's, Supper Session, Second Helpings. 7, signing and serving; 9 p.m., music. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 528-5999. $8.
E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial The quirky folks at the Rice Media Center have programmed a solid season of sci-fi classics for the fall, and just for grins, they stuck this barely-old-enough-to-provoke-nostalgia flick in the bunch. Worth seeing on the big screen both for the charm you remember and the skillful filmmaking you may not. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. The Rice Media Center: Rice University (entrance no. 8 off University), 527-4853. $4.50.
Pam Stone The towering Coach star is back on the road, bringing her goofy, friendly brand of female standup comedy to audiences throughout this great nation of ours. And hey, before you figure she's on the road only as a has-been in need of money, remember that her five-year stint on Coach has put the statuesque blond on the residuals gravy train. "Syndication," she says, "is really cool. Definitely worth going to the mailbox for." As those checks keep rolling in, she hits the road because she wants to. Stone headlines tonight and tomorrow. 8 and 10:30 p.m. The Laff Stop, 1952 West Gray, 524-2333. $13.50.
The Banded Geckos The Geckos, out and about promoting their new CD Gecoupage, appear in concert not one but two nights at folkie haven Anderson Fair (a smoke-free club). They perform folk, jazz and swing. Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant, 528-8576. $6.
Wood Carvers 26th Annual Show and Competition Learn about wood carving as a hobby or pick up some decorative art for the den. One of the few Houston events with a focus on whittling, the show also includes carving demonstrations and a plethora of whittled wood on display and up for judging. Categories include duck decoy, chip carving, human caricature and relief. 9 a.m.5 p.m. today and Sunday. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, 4501 Woodway Drive, 681-8433. Free.