Culture / Cars

Houston Art Car Parade Returns With Crazy Rides, Slabs and Celebs

H-Town's Car Culture Gets a Unique Spotlight

BY // 04.12.19

The Houston Art Car Parade in downtown Houston, powered by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, enters its 32nd year as the world’s oldest and largest parade of four-wheeled, motorized, vehicular sculptures this weekend.

This year, the Orange Show tapped beloved singer-songwriter and radio personality for more than three decades Raúl Brindis to lead the parade as grand marshal, following a prestigious lineage that includes celebrities like Cheech Marin, Houston Texans icon J.J. Watt and former NASA astronaut Terry Virts.

Brindis will ride in one of 2018’s most memorable (and prize-winning) entries, “Quetzalcoatl,” a tribute to the serpent diety of ancient Mesoamerican culture designed by Skyline Artists.

More than 250 mobile masterworks, including 126 new creations and a bevy of returning favorites (the Prince-inspired “Purple Reign” comes to mind) comprise this spring’s edition of the parade, which includes 40 youth entries (the most ever), 95 “Daily Drivers” (cars whose artists drive daily), 34 entries from makers traveling more than 100 miles to Houston, and 21 low-riders and “slabs” (S.L.A.B. = “slow, loud, and bangin,” a reference to the low-riding, slow-driving, big rims-poking-out hip-hop-inspired car subculture in Houston).

Art Car Parade Weekend festivities got off to a hot start Thursday with the traditional Main Street Drag which brings the art to the people, through Friday night’s legendary Art Car Ball.

Festivities on the big day (this Saturday) include live music which kicks off at noon, a pre-parade Kids Creative Zone which kicks off at 11 am, but the main attraction rolls Saturday, April 13, at 2 pm. Glen Gonzalez and Steve Summers chair the four-day weekend’s festivities and host the VIPit Experience, per usual the best way to see the parade.

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The VIPit Experience ticket includes shaded, reserved seating, prime parking, complimentary bites from on-trend restaurants (our faves include Picos, Treebeards, King’s Bierhaus and Bosscat), adult beverages (courtesy Deep Eddy, Saint Arnold and more), and air-conditioned, non-port-a-potty bathrooms!

As always, general admission to the parade is free to the public. The VIPit Experience runs $150 per adult, $25 for children 12 and under. To get tickets, click here, and for more info on the parade, click here.

Scroll through the slideshow above and below this story to see some of our favorite fabulous art cars, past and present.

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