Houston Italian Festival
, now in its 39th year, knows not to mess with a good thing. The four-day celebration of all things Italian still boasts meatballs, Italian classes and wine tasting, but 2017 sees the addition of a new Spaghetti Western Night, featuring a Sergio Leone double feature and live country music (plus $2 off admission if you don a cowboy hat). There’s always a lot to do, but festival spokesperson Margaret Bannon encourages everyone to check out the grape stomp and pasta-eating contest, and to “do your homework so you know what you would like to do, what you would like to see and which food you would like to try!”
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and October 14; 5 to 10 p.m. October 12; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. October 15. Campus Life Mall, University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose. For information, call 713-524-4222 or visit houstonitalianfestival.com
. Free to $25.
Festa Italiana is an annual festival founded with the mission of celebrating Italian culture and heritage in the city of Houston. Recognized as a significant cultural event in the city, Festa Italiana has numerous activities to offer its guests. This year’s festival features live performances from DJ Italia, the Fab 5 (Beatle’s Tribute Band), the Houston International Folk Dancing group, the Tarantellas Italian Folk dance group, and the nation’s top Italian tenor Aaron Caruso. The festival will also showcase film screenings, activities and cooking classes for children, wine and beer tastings, Italian language classes, Carranza puppet shows, interactive sidewalk art produced live by featured artist Carol Wells, and a classic car show on Sunday. Festival goers also have the opportunities to compete in pasta eating contests, grape stomps, and a Bocce ball tournament as well as viewing submissions and winners of the amateur photography contest and I Madonnari Sidewalk Art Contest. Friday night at the festival will take a western turn with Spaghetti Western night, featuring film screenings of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West with live music from Last Chance, Houston’s favorite country dance band. Visitors can wear a cowboy hat on Friday and receive a $2 discount for on-site gate admission. Proceeds from the Houston Italian Festival support the ICCC, the Italian language school, scholarships and many cultural events presented for the public each year.