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Compete in a Pasta Eating Contest at the Houston Italian Festival.
Compete in a Pasta Eating Contest at the Houston Italian Festival.
Photo by Mark Herman Reyes

Houston's 5 Best Weekend Food Bets: Mangia at the Houston Italian Festival

Here’s a look at this weekend's best culinary happenings:

Houston Italian Festival at the University of St. Thomas


Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


3800 Montrose

Head to the 41st Annual Festa Italiana to mangia on everything from baked artichoke hearts, chicken marsala and lasagna to meatball sandwiches, pizza and cannoli, then top it all off with wines and beers, espressos and cappuccinos. This year will see the return of vendors including Piatto Ristorante, Maggiano’s, Fellini Caffe, Michael’s Cookie Jar and Orion Water Ice, mixed in with newcomers like Satellite of Pizza and an authentic bruschetta booth by Trips 2 Italy. Admission is $8 (free on Friday until 4 p.m. and for children 12 and under all weekend long). Reservations for festival activities, advance online tickets, and food and beverage packages can be bought on Eventbrite.

Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival in Downtown Conroe


Friday, 6 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.


101 South Main

Now in its 30th year, the family-friendly Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival features non-stop live music with local, regional and national performers on three stages, food vendors offering festival and Cajun favorites, arts and crafts vendors, a professional carnival, community and educational exhibits, an annual Catfish Pageant and a KidZone area with activities for children. General admission is $12 in advance ($15 at the gate), with three-day passes available for $20. Admission is free for children under 12.

OktoBrew Festival in the historic Fifth Ward


Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.


3200 Clinton

Held at the corner of Clinton and Grove in the historic Fifth Ward, this free-admission festival will feature live music from local acts, raffles, local brews from spots like Saint Arnold and Spindletap, and eats from turkey legs to kabobs. One hundred percent of the event proceeds will benefit after-school programming in six northeast Houston elementary schools.

Achtoberfest at 8th Wonder Brewery


Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.


2202 Dallas

The fourth annual Achtoberfest features live local music, eats from the Eatsie Boys and flowing beer, including the seasonal Achtoberfest bier and specialty releases. Tickets are $20 online (or $25 at the door) and gets you glassware, three beverage tokens and access to the event.

2019 Oktoberfest at City Acre Brewing


Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.


3418 Topping

City Acre Brewing will host its 2019 Oktoberfest from noon to 5 p.m., featuring an Acre-wide autumn celebration with exclusive beer releases (including the crowd-pleasing Stadtplatz Oktoberfest), an Oktoberfest costume contest, plenty of games and fun, and an all-you-can-eat German buffet crafted by chef Rick Kelsay. Attendance is free, with Earlybird VIP ticket packages that include an exclusive, commemorative pint glass, early admission (from 11 a.m. to noon), three beers and access to the buffet for $32.95.

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