Here’s a look at this weekend's best culinary happenings:
Houston Italian Fest at the University of St. Thomas
Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The 39th Houston Italian Festival will feature live music and folk dance, film screenings, activities and cooking classes for children, wine and beer tastings, Italian language classes, a classic car show and plenty of Italian eats, from meatballs and eggplant parm to lasagna and sausage-on-a-stick. Festival-goers also have the opportunities to compete in pasta-eating contests, grape stomps and a bocce ball tournament. Admission is $8 for adults and free for children under 12 (it is also free all day on Thursday and on Friday until 4 p.m.). Discounted admission tickets are available online for $6. Proceeds from the Houston Italian Festival support the Italian Cultural & Community Center, the Italian language school, scholarships and many cultural events presented for the public each year.
Taste of Houston Festival at Town Green Park
Saturday and Sunday
2099 Lake Robbins
The 2017 Taste of Houston Festival will host more than 200 eateries, artists, crafters, boutiques and food trucks, alongside live music, a kid zone with rides and activities, and artistic performances, all along the Town Green Park promenade. The event is now a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, with all ticket proceeds donated to the relief fund set up by J.J. Watt. Tickets are $5 at the gate, though you can bring a can of food for Montgomery County Food Bank and take $2 off that ticket price. All proceeds from the carnival rides will go to first responders affected by the hurricane.
Achtoberfest at 8th Wonder Brewery
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The fan-favorite EaDo brewer is throwing its own version of Oktoberfest, and the best part is, it's completely free to attend. Guests can expect Achtoberfest bier, limited-edition steins, German-inspired pub grub from Eatsie Boys, and live music featuring The Quaker City Night Hawks, The Midnight Stroll, Heapin' Helpin', texture: Yellow and DJ Gracie Chavez.
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Fifth Anniversary Celebration at Cottonwood
Saturday, 2 p.m. (doors open at 11 a.m.)
3422 North Shepherd
Celebrating five years, this all-day throwdown kicks off with Texas Tycoons performing at 2 p.m., followed by Randy Weeks with Mike Stinson at 6 p.m., and Bill Kirchen beginning at 8 p.m. Food specials include pterodactyl wings, confit turkey wings fried crispy and covered in one of three house sauces; and Texas cheese steak, made with smoked brisket, peppers, onions and white cheese sauce. The bar will be tapping several rare and cellared beers for the event, with all beers available beginning at 11 a.m.; and it will be offering a special version of its Sour Hour from 4 to 8 p.m., featuring two sour beers for $1 each.
A Night at Market Square
Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m.
Market Square Park and surrounding businesses invite locals to enjoy a night on the town in Downtown. This year’s block party features giant Jenga and cornhole in the Saint Arnold Brewing Company game garden; a DJ set and live country-soul performance; treats from Lush Puff and Steel City Pops; and food trucks such as Casian King Food Truck and Craft Burger Food Truck. Look out for specials around the neighborhood, including an ‘80s-themed party at Bovine & Barley, 416 Main; craft beer tastings at Craft Beer Cellar Houston, 907 Franklin; and special nighttime opening of Treebeards Restaurant, 315 Travis. See the entire list of specials around the ‘hood on Facebook.