Houston International Festival Preview

April 16, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Kristen Brown/iFest)

ifestcrowd Houston International Festival Preview

(credit: Kristen Brown/iFest.org)

The Houston International Festival
Downtown Houston
City Hall, Tranquility Park and Sam Houston Park Areas
(713) 654-8808

Hours : April 21-22 and April 28-29 from 11a.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: See ticketing and event information

The Houston International Festival held in Downtown Houston is an annual celebration that honors international cultures through musical performances, arts and crafts displays and food festivals participated in by more than 500 artists and craftsmen from all over the world.  The event aims to connect people through exhibiting different cultures that everyone can learn from, through celebrating diversity and promoting global citizenship. This year’s attendance is predicted to be more than 200,000.

For 2012, the 42nd Houston International Festival is aiming the spotlight on Argentina, the second largest country in South America and home to the legendary Buenos Aires, its famous capital known for its distinct architecture and vibrant city life. Remember the film “Evita” from the mid-90s? The film, released in 1996, depicted the alluring beauty of old Argentina along with its people’s diverse culture, beliefs and way of life. With award-winning actress and musician Madonna portraying the country’s iconic leader, Evita Peron, the movie was more than a box-office success. It was a triumph of the arts, as it was able to capture the country’s quaintness and mystique through its amazing cinematography and musical genius.

tango Houston International Festival Preview

(credit: Thinkstock)

iFest will attempt to bring Argentina to Houston on April 21-22 and April 28-29, 2012 through a showcase of Argentina’s different dances such as the tango, musical performances highlighting Argentinian music, an array of delicacies and other gastronomical delights from the Argentinian cuisines, and little shops featuring Argentinian crafts and merchandise. The iFest kicked off on February 23 at the Tango & Malbec Restaurant located at 2800 Sage Road. It was a fundraiser that showcased Argentinian music and food to its guests and patrons.

losamigosinvisibles Houston International Festival Preview

Los Amigos Invisibles (credit: amigosinvisibles.com)

Last year’s festival highlighted the Asian countries with musical performances by blues-rock artist Jonny Lang, Texan blues icon Jimmie Vaughan and Grammy winner Lucinda Williams, to name a few. This year’s headliners are Los Lonely Boys, Steel Pulse, War, JJ Grey and MOFRO, Galactic, Los Amigos Invisibles, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Chico Trujillo, Hector Del Curto & Eternal Tango, SOJA, and other notable musicians who will bring a fusion of Argentinian music that will include jazz, reggae, blues, Americana music and so much more.

This year, Chevron will sponsor The Chevron Argentina Living Museum, which will exhibit Argentinian architecture that will allow guests to immerse themselves in the Argentinian culture by visiting the meticulously set up La Boca Neighborhood. Guests will enjoy hands-on activities, including making Argentina’s traditional pastry called alfajores, participating in tango demonstrations, and many more.

argentinianfood Houston International Festival Preview

(credit: Thinkstock)

Additionally, the iFest will introduce The Village Green, a special area in the festival that will feature recycled crafts and fresh and locally produced goods and concessions.  Food from different cultures such as Mediterranean, Japanese, Creole, Cajun, Thai, Continental and Southwestern cuisines will also be showcased.

The people behind the event make up the Houston Festival Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that was established in 1971. Aside from funding the international event, the proceeds of the festival generally helps students enrolled in different education and arts programs in the Greater Houston Area.

You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to have a taste of Argentina, as the iFest has already brought Argentina right by your doorstep.  Get your imagination and sense of adventure geared up for the weekend and enjoy Argentina at its best (and don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes).

Rainne Mendoza Celespara is a freelance writer living in Houston. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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