Local celeb and chef Chris Shepherd’s annual Southern Smoke fundraising event is one of the year’s most anticipated festivals, donating more than $1.3 million to date -- both directly to people in need, and to organizations that represent the needs of people in the culinary industry.
Now back for its 5th run, this year’s lineup of chefs is one for the books, with stars like Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Ashley Christensen of Raleigh’s AC Restaurants, Chris Cosentino of Houston’s new Rosalie Italian Soul, Erin Smith and Patrick Feges of Feges BBQ, James Beard Award winner Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s and Xochi (and more) fame, Nancy’s Hustle’s Jason Vaughn, Jonny Rhodes of Indigo, Trong Nguyen of Crawfish and Noodles, and more. The day runs from 4 to 8pm (3pm for VIP) in the area around Blacksmith, The Hay Merchant, and Georgia James.
Cost: Tickets are $200 for general admission and $350 for VIP
Miller Outdoor Theatre
Celebrate the 150th birthday of Gandhi with a peaceful evening, beginning with a 5K Walk at 6pm and followed by a candle lighting ceremony, where all present have the opportunity to light a candle and pledge for peace.
The Epicurean Project is like a culinary think tank, bringing together local chefs and tastemakers to find out what’s hot in the Houston food world. Benefiting Recipe For Success, the evening features 25+ chefs, 70+ vendors, a special focus Texas, Asian Pacific, and South American food, and a tasty culinary competition. It all goes down at The Revaire from 6:30 to 9:30pm.
Cost: Register online pricing to be announced)
Grape stomps, film screenings, classic cars, pasta eating contests, wine and craft beer tastings, Italian bingo, and a whole lotta meatballs will all be on display at the Houston Italian Festival, held on the grounds of the University of St. Thomas over four days. Hours are Thursday 5-10pm; Friday and Saturday 11am-10pm; and Sunday 11am-6pm.
Cost: Admission is $8 for adults (free all day Thursday and on Friday before 4pm) and free for children 12 and under; get discounted tickets, reservations for festival activities, and food packages via Eventbrite
Cajun eats and a stellar concert are on the docket for the 30th annual Conroe Cajun Catfish Festival, which benefits the non-profit work of Friends of Conroe, Inc. The family-friendly event will also feature craft booths and exhibits, kids rides, a mural, petting zoo, and pony rides
Cost: Tickets are $12 for general admission ($15 day of) and $20 for a 3-day weekend pass