Pride Houston® is serving up a triple scoop of rainbow fun this Saturday, making for a daylong celebration of nonconformity with a festival, a parade and some oh-so-naughty after parties. But look beyond the flashy glitter and try to make room for a few other awesome events, as well, including what's being billed as "the biggest street race in the world" at NRG Park, the let's-drink-beer-while-we-run-in-our-skivvies Hot Undies Run, and a celebration of all things Zydeco at Jones Plaza. Let's not forget man's best friend: There's a creative yoga/music/painting/auction fund-raiser for down-on-their-luck Reggie's Friends, one of the victims of a theft at this spring's Puppies for Breakfast dog festival.
When you see smoke coming off the hard top at NRG, don’t call 911. EMS will already be on site, plus the cops. But nobody’s heading to Riesner because street racing is now legal, or at least the fast-paced no-prep version found at Dig Night Street Racing. “There are a group of people who prefer to race on the street, as opposed to the track,” says owner and organizer Jerrod Thompson. Prepping (the sticky chemical reaction brought about by dragging rubber over VHT or Pimp Juice) causes traction, which means the fastest car wins. “[With no-prep,] the right combination of tune on the car and driver ability makes it more about the ability and not so much of a money game,” says Thompson. Small tire racing is hot now, aided by shows like the Discovery Channel’s Street Outlaws. The course is one-eighth of a mile, with cars reaching 180 to 200 miles per hour. Racers compete for cash, trophies and bragging rights, while spectators chill with live music, mini races between rounds and an up-close look at the cars in the pit. Come out to see the action this Friday night at what’s being billed as “the biggest street race in the world.”
6 to 11 p.m. Friday; 3 to 11 p.m. June 25. NRG Park parking lot, 1 NRG Park. For information, visit ticketmaster.com. $35 to $300.
What could be more thrilling than a band of people, clad only in their underwear, running in your direction? Nothing! The Hot Undies Run, easily the best-named event of the year, is returning to Houston once more to deliver fun, sun and tons of bum. Thongs, er, we mean throngs of people will unite to take a “brief” two-mile jog and pub run around the Rice Village area wearing nothing but a pair of skivvies and some running shoes. We recommend drinking plenty of water and using lots of sun screen; certain parts of the body just don’t handle a sun burn very well. Organizer Kara Doelling says the spirited crowd dives in feet first with the costume choices. “People get really dressed up. They come as superheroes, with their underwear and capes. People also make group costumes that are very creative. The theme of underwear has stuck, so people play it up.” Playing it up while dressing it down seems like a fun way to squeeze a few miles in and throw back a few brewskis this Saturday, while also benefiting nonprofit Girls On The Run.
11 a.m. Saturday. The Gorgeous Gael, 5555 Morningside. For information, visit thedriven.net/hot-undies-run. $35 to $125.
The Houston LGBT Pride Parade® is sashaying through downtown Houston, and it’s bringing all its rainbow-flavored fun with it, making this one of our best bets for Saturday. The annual event is nothing short of show-stopping, with daylong festivities beginning with the Houston Pride Festival® at noon, with its LGBT history exhibit, a family fun zone, the Health and Wellness Pavilion and other free services such as HIV testing. (Knowledge is power, people.) Groove with multiple entertainment stages, plus RuPaul’s Drag Race season seven finalist Pearl will be serving face, beauty and high-fashion drama. In a show of support for the victims of the Orlando shooting, and their families, prior to the start of the parade, Pride Houston® will honor those who lost their lives. The parade kicks off at 8:30 p.m., attracting more than 700,000 attendees and making it the second-largest parade in Houston as well as a pretty wild spectacle for onlookers, with drag queens, muscle men and everything in between. But that’s not all, folks. Leave it to the gays to make this an all-night celebration. The after party continues at South Beach The Nightclub with free shuttle buses before and after the parade running between Montrose and downtown.
The festival runs from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at McKinney and Smith. The parade begins at 8:30 p.m. at Smith and Lamar, ending up at Milam and Jefferson at 11 p.m. The official after party is 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. at South Beach, 810 Pacific; and an unofficial after party with a pageant (judged by Gaystonian Dutch Small) and a unicorn costume contest is at El Big Bad, 419 Travis. For information, visit PrideHouston.org. Free.
Imagine a combination of country, rock, Tejano and soul music all mixed perfectly together like a savory bowl of gumbo to create a Louisiana-inspired style of music with a funky twist called Zydeco. “There’s a large demographic of people from Louisiana that live in Houston, and their culture is a big influence in this part of Texas,” says Mona Wilson, event coordinator for the 2016 Houston Zydeco Festival, a long-anticipated event rescheduled from April 30 because of heavy rains this spring. This one’s going on, rain or shine, making this another of our picks for Saturday entertainment. “Each band will be onstage for approximately 75 minutes and, between acts, DJ KO will be spinning old and new hits to keep the crowd dancing,” says Wilson. The music lineup includes some heavy hitters: Platinum Players Zydeco Band at 2 p.m., Keyun & the Zydeco Masters at 3:45 p.m., Lil Nate and the Zydeco Big Timers at 5:15 p.m., Marcus Ardoin the Zydeco Legend at 6:45 p.m. and Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws at 8:45 p.m. Vendors will be dishing out the grub, which includes traditional Cajun and Creole dishes, plus popular food trucks like Casian King. Wash it all down with Lone Star Beer, Barefoot Wine and soft drinks.
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 25. Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana. For information, visit houstonzydecofest.com. $25.
Things are on the up again for local rescue group Reggie's Friends, the designated beneficiary of this spring's Puppies for Breakfast dog festival. After a thief made off with an estimated $3,400 in cash, boarding/day-care/grooming facility Polka Dot Dogs stepped up and wrote a generous check to Reggie's Friends, and a GoFundMe endeavor has reimbursed the festival organizers for almost 60 percent of its lost expenses to date. Now Houston art maker Michael Colyer has arranged a fundraiser for Reggie's Friends, Street Life To Sweet Life: A Dog's Tale, beginning with a 45-minute Vinyasa powerflow yoga session at 11 a.m. "Music and food trucks go on around noon," says spokesperson Darci McFerran. "Live painting is at 1 p.m., going on for the rest of the afternoon, and then we'll start the live auction." Local street artist Scott Tarbox is one of the artists creating work for the auction. Bring your pup or introduce yourself to one of the adoptable pets at the dog-friendly event, consider making a donation, and have a great time this Sunday afternoon for a good cause.
Sam Byrd and Bill Simpson contributed to this post.