HOUSTON - The 42nd annual Houston International Festival (HIF) spotlighting Argentina was held on two weekends from April 21-22 & 28-29. The festival took place in the streets, parks and plazas of Downtown Houston, centered in Sam Houston Park, Hermann Square, and Tranquility Park. Hundreds of thousands of first-time and returning festival-goers enjoyed delicious food from around the world, new family-friendly activities and an array of musical performances featuring international, regional and local stars.
Named the most diverse city in the nation, Houston lived up to its recognition as multi-ethnic groups came together to enjoy great music, art, cuisine and the culture of Argentina. Festival organizers were more than pleased at the big crowds and big smiles seen on site.
“Over two weekends, we hosted over 2,000 entertainers, 3,000 volunteers and more than 200,000 visitors. We are so pleased to have been able to unite Houston's multi-cultural community in this grand civic celebration of Argentina and our own diversity,” said Kim Stoilis, CEO/President of the Houston International Festival Foundation Inc.
Newly introduced activities & event highlights during both weekends contributed to the variety of fun and entertainment available for adults and children alike. They included:
Eternal Tango: The HIF opened with an inaugural concert at the Hobby Center on April 21 featuring world-famous Argentinean bandoneon player Héctor Del Curto. The concert marks the beginning of an annual tradition, expanding the Houston International Festival’s on-site presentation of the music of the honored country beyond the festival grounds. Members of Hector Del Curto’s orchestra also performed along with tango dancers, who showcased the exciting rhythms, lush textures and colors of great Argentinean tango.
NBA Nation: NBA Nation, the National Basketball Association's largest mobile basketball playground, gave festival-goers the chance to shoot hoops, slam dunk, compete for cool prizes and more. Special appearances were made by Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons and NBA Legend Darryl Dawkins, as well as the Rockets Power Dancers and mascot Clutch.
The Chevron Argentina Living Museum: The Chevron Argentina Living Museum provided a journey through the arts, culture and history of Argentina. Highlights for the Chevron Argentina Living Museum included a reproduction of the 9,000-year-old Cave of the Hands, the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, tango presentations, appearances by “Evita," beautiful arts and craft presentations, and an authentic street cafe.
Green Mountain Energy Kid’s World: Newly introduced, the Green Mountain Energy Kid's World featured local, non-profit groups that provided fun children's craft activities, as well as a cool art project for kids from Green Mountain Energy, the Houston Dynamo, and Radio Disney.
Village Green: Also new this year, "Village Green," a designated area of upper Sam Houston Park featured recycled crafts and locally produced goods and concessions.
It’s no secret that music was at the heart of the Houston International Festival with world class entertainment. A stellar line-up included WAR, Steel Pulse, Los Lonely Boys, Galactic, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, SOJA, Sur, Texas Tornados, Hector Del Curto and many more, including a host of popular regional and local bands.
With more than 40 food vendors on-site, festival visitors were offered a smorgasbord of menus to choose from to bring pleasure to anyone’s taste buds. Types of food included Caribbean, Mexican, Italian, Indian, Chinese and of course Argentine cuisine, to name a few.
Though the festival has come to an end for this year, the memories and fun moments are still being shared and enjoyed. HIF calls for festival goers to share their photos via social media.
What country will be spotlighted next year? “Stay tuned for an exciting announcement this summer!” said Stoilis.
For more information about the 2012 Houston International Festival, visit: www.ifest.org
or call 713-654-8808. All proceeds benefit Houston Festival Foundation arts and education outreach programs.
CLICK HERE to view photos of the 2012 Houston International Festival.
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