The First Ever East End Street Fest

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The East End is more than just an area of town, according to Lupe Olivarez. "It's like the beating heart where things get made so the city can conduct business and live," he says.

Olivarez, a longtime East End dweller and founder of Bohemeo's, is one of the masterminds behind the debut East End Street Fest, scheduled to take place on Cinco de Mayo. The shindig is part of a mission of the Greater East End Management District, which has been improving a 16-mile area with beautification projects.

The Saturday, May 5, event will showcase performances by Rebel Crew Hip Hop, Los Pistoleros de Tejas, Ambassadors International Ballet Folklorico, FrenetiCore and multiple Houston Press Music Award winner Norma Zenteno. There will also be competitions for best taco and best-decorated food truck.

Olivarez -- who sold Bohemeo's in January but remains involved with the Telephone Road coffeehouse/restaurant that he started with his wife -- says the street festival corresponds with the Dynamo's new digs (BBVA Compass Stadium) as well as the development of the Metro light rail along Harrisburg Boulevard.

Additionally, Olivarez hopes that events like the East End Street Fest will help debunk the simpleton perspective of the area. "Every time people think of the East End, they think Hispanic," says Olivarez. "Now it's starting to diversify."

"The fact that it was the birthplace of Houston is very special. For over 150 years, different ethnic groups from all over the world have come to live in the East End to build the city we see here today."

The first ever East End Street Fest is scheduled to take place from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at the 4500 block of Harrisburg Boulevard (near Lockwood). Admission is free. For more information, call 713-928-9916 or visit the East End Street Fest Web site.

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