It seems like an eternity waiting for the final season of Game of Thrones but, until that happens, we can all channel our alter egos in this weekend's Winter is Coming Pub Crawl. We've also got a bike ride to see the holiday lights, a sing-along at Discovery Green, and the opportunity to craft with cats. A bunch of Houstonians are chipping in to clean up and maintain Buffalo Bayou and the Edith L. Moore Sanctuary and we've got the 411 on how to join in. Keep reading because most of these events are free.
It's time for the 9th Annual Rusty Riders Christmas Lights Ride, where bicyclists decorate their rides and head out at a social pace to view the amazing lights in and around the downtown area this season. It's a night-time ride, so make sure you've got both head and rear lights, check your tire pressures and don't be late. Organizer EastEndBikeRide has set the meet-up at a new location this year so gather at Houston's City Hall/Hermann Square near the reflection pool and get ready to roll out at 7:30 p.m. sharp.
7-10 p.m. December 14, Hermann Square, 900 Smith, facebook.com/events/750267141982382, free.
If you haven't had a chance to check out Cocolab's amazing interactive art installation, "GUST: Celebrating a Decade of Discovery," then don't miss out (the site-specific artwork is up through March 20 at Discovery Green). Visitors can actually use their breath to make the custom-made pinwheels blow in the wind. This Saturday evening members of the Houston Grand Opera Chorus will be on hand for a holiday sing-along led by HGOco Music Director and Composer-In-Residence Damien Sneed. Their performance, Transforming the Spirit in Song, will be held on the Hess Deck making for a nice accompaniment to the after dusk light show in "GUST." Come back next Wednesday for a free class on motion photography and consider entering your pics in an upcoming art exhibit.
7-8 p.m. December 15, Transforming the Spirit in Song, Discovery Green, Hess Deck, 1500 McKinney, 713-400-7336, discoverygreen.com/gust, free.
6:30-8 p.m. December 19, Be the Artist: Houston Center for Photography Workshop, 1500 McKinney, 713-400-7336, discoverygreen.com/gust, free.
Game of Thrones returns in April and we'll find out how much havoc the Night King can bring now that he's in control of the dragon turned wight Viserion, whether the evil Cersei will marry Euron Greyjoy or be murdered by her brother, and if Jon and Daenerys will get creeped out to discover they've committed incest. Until then, Downtownfest Houston and Nightcrawlers Pub Crawls are teaming up to bring us the Winter is Coming Pub Crawl, complete with a costume competition, drink specials, themed drinks and a walking photographer to capture this moment for posterity. It's a 21 and up event so no dire wolves (pets) or small folk (children) allowed.
3-9 p.m. December 15, Downtown Houston (bars and locations will be announced with ticket purchase), facebook.com/events/1857082877643420, $15 to $20.
Sundays at El Gato Coffee House are made even more purr-fect with plenty of things to do between cat-petting sessions. Start the day early at 11 a.m. for Holiday Craft with Cats, then come back in the afternoon for a Cat Lovers' Book Club (4 p.m.) and Yoga with Cats (5:45 p.m.). At the crafting event guests will make a Christmas tree holiday card, a tree ornament picture frame and garland tassels. Avid crafter Chynna DeHoyos leads the class and — who knows — you might meet your new best feline friend.
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. December 16, El Gato Coffee House, 508 Pecore, Suite A, 832-968-3006, elgatocoffeehouse.com, $18 to $25.
Whether or not you're on board with the Paris climate accord, everybody can agree it's a good idea to keep our waterways free of trash for those extreme weather events (hello, last week). Buffalo Bayou Partnership hosts volunteer workdays on the third Saturday of every month, letting adults and kids as young as nine pitch in to pick up trash, remove weeds, mulch and perform a variety of other tasks. This Saturday's workday is at full capacity, but check the website and get in the queue for next month's workday; this is the Bayou City after all.
8:30-11:30 a.m. December 15 (full), January 19, February 16 and March 16, The Water Works, 105 Sabine, 713-752-0314, extension 206, buffalobayou.org, free.
Any graduate of Memorial or Westchester High School will remember the excitement in exploring the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. Compared to the concrete jungle outside, this 17.5-acre wooded preserve seemed like a whole other world: it had a mysterious lady who lived in a log cabin with her cats and dogs, there was always the danger of running into snakes and armadillos, and it had the chirping sounds of more than 200 species of birds. Edith Moore is no longer there (she died in 1975), but the sanctuary is now home to the Houston Audubon Society and they host 4th Saturday Family Work Days once a month. Folks get together to fill bird feeders, pick up litter, remove invasive species and help maintain trails. Volunteers should pre-register by the Wednesday prior.
9 a.m.-noon December 15 (for those who pre-registered), January 26, February 23 and March 23, Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary, 440 Wilchester, firstname.lastname@example.org, 713-932-1639, houstonaudubon.org, free.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.