First and Ten (Months to Go)

Block party kicks off Super Bowl countdown

(Sat 4/12)
Super Bowl XXXVIII will land in Houston in January 2004, and the fanfare begins in earnest this weekend with the city's official Super Bowl Kickoff Party. Lots of folks are already marking the days until the real thing -- after all, it's been 30 years since the Lombardi Trophy last made its way to Houston (in January 1974, Miami beat Minnesota at Rice Stadium). At the party, the official Super Bowl game ball from San Diego will be presented to Houston organizers, much like the passing of the Olympic torch. Revelers can take in appearances by Texans players and cheerleaders, four high school marching bands and musical acts Bob Schneider and the Reverend Horton Heat. And for a grand finale, fireworks will light the downtown sky. (After the party, all a good fan can do is wait.) The event will occupy the 300 to 500 blocks of Main Street downtown. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 12. For more information, visit www.superbowlxxxviii.org. Free. -- Eric Norvell

High Hopes
(Sat 4/12)
Getting a kite in the air requires a combination of skill, persistence and dumb luck. However, there does exist a small group of folks who possess the secret to flying kites high in the sky; this has something to do with glancing up nonchalantly and making almost imperceptible hand movements. If you're a member of this order, hit the Clear Lake Kite Festival. If not, go anyway. When you get sick of watching your kite take nosedives, you can enjoy the crawfish boil. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 12. Cameron Festival Park, Highway 146 at Red Bluff Road, Seabrook. For information, call 281-339-2727. $3; free for children 12 and under and people with kites. -- Cathy Matusow

A Long, Safe Trip
(Sat 4/12)
If you're traveling between Houston and Austin this weekend, don't be alarmed if you pass about 10,000 bike riders. In fact, go ahead and honk or wave. Hard-core biking enthusiasts will be raising money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the BP MS 150 Bike Tour, the two-day, 183-mile ride considered to be one of the safest, most comfortable and well-coordinated biking events in North America. Riders of all ages and abilities will give it a shot; some participants are stricken with MS, the neurological disease for which there's currently no cure. The tour has two starting points, Tully Stadium (1050 Dairy Ashford) and Rhodes Stadium (1733 Katy Fort Bend Road, Katy). The bikers then head west through beautiful wildflower country. Riders will kick back in La Grange on Saturday night before heading into Austin on Sunday. Start time: 7 a.m. Saturday, April 12. For information or to register, visit www.ms150.org. $50 registration. -- Troy Schulze

 
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