Houston’s Annual Art Car Parade – I hope you didn’t miss it!

If this glittering city is all about making money, where do the Art Car people go during the week? The Houston others think of is money, work, oil, and power. But we Houstonians know that it is really the Art Car people who matter the most. Honestly, I have lived here 32 years and have never been to the Art Car Parade. But now we’re leaving, I had to make time for it, even though our hosts to the real Houston, Rick and Therese, were off on some train-based pleasure jaunt. We parked in a $12 ground lot at McKinney near Bagby, and walked on over. The day was too sticky and hot for May, saved only by a breeze, but when we saw the parade, the crowds, the cars, the dancing extras we forgot everything else.

I’m used to seeing the odd art car here or there during the year. I know what they are. I’ve been to the art car museum. But to see them all at once, with all their handlers, and all the crowds was an experience not easily duplicated. Well, I could show you much better, but I can’t figure out how to get the short video snips into the blog. If you know me, come over and you’ll be amazed at the lively parade.

There’s events downtown all the time, international festivals, art festivals, yoga on the green, but with no little kids to entertain, we don’t go as often as before.

Well, this entry is really about the photos, so scroll on down! They were fun to take!

When we got back to our parking lot, we could see people in every car, and lines of cars snaking towards the one exit. So we walked around a little looking for a coffee shop, and didn’t find one. Soon the slowness of the lot became apparent. The gate would not go up after people paid. There was an official looking person in a tan shirt lifting the gate manually when people paid, and we went over to him to express our opinion of a lot that couldn’t be expeditiously exited. It turned out this smiling gentleman was just parked in the lot same as us. We discussed what to do, and tried to hold the arm up, but it came right back down with force. Then someone took the top off the arm stand and did something that allowed the arm to stay up. The man in a red truck who had just paid looked unhappy and did not move. Others drove out around him. Our friend in the tan shirt explained that the red truck was just trying to do the right thing. We’re doing the right thing, I commented, and beaming he agreed. We all went to our cars and drove out through the open gate. There wasn’t even a number to call for problems.

St. Louis will not have an art car parade like this one. Is the lesson that I come back to Houston for this one, or that I learn what St. Louis has to offer before 32 years are up?

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Find somewhere to park. It will be easy to get home right down Smith, lights all timed.


These are the VIPs. We were not allowed in there. Who is that in the navy baseball cap? David Leebron?

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The people watching wasn’t too bad either, especially this handsome young man who noticed I wasn’t only photographing the cars!

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I heard cheers for Rice when these went by!

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The high rises, an old home, and palm trees, my Houston.


The cupola on the Esperson building, formerly the highest, my father’s Houston.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Art and Music, Houston and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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