|Monday, April 17, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 134
||All Around the World
By Linda Canales
With bodies dressed in elaborate costumes moving to the sounds of samba, downtown Houston seemingly transformed into Rio de Janeiro during Carnival.
Welcome to the Houston International Festival.
The parade showcased many dancers representing Brazil, the feature country of this year's International Festival.
Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar
This year's festival featured Brazil, with its upbeat sounds and colorful sights.
Kick off the festivities was a parade of dancers representing Brazil, lion dancers from China, Native Americans dressed in traditional costumes, African dancers and even drag queens. They were led by this year's grand marshal, Clyde Drexler.
The festival was made up of various zones representing different nationalities from around the world.
A Gypsy market showcased handmade crafts and even a fortuneteller. The African/Caribbean market displayed elaborate drawings and clothing.
One of the highlights of the International Festival was the Carmen Miranda Cabaret in which Carmen Miranda impersonators performed in honor of one of Brazil's most loved celebrities.
The festival also provided music from around the world including tejano, jazz, salsa and blues.
As the crowds watched, they caught glimpses of the different international singers and bands.
Ten stages were set up throughout the festival grounds to showcase more than 1,000 performers from all over the world. The crowds piled around the stages for just a glimpse of the international dancers, singers and bands, including the Intrepid Circus from Brazil, the Eagle Wind Dancers, the Thai Performing Arts Group and many more.
If music and dancing weren't enough, there were plenty of vendors set up throughout the festival.
Tons of temptations were available to buy from every vendor -- clothing, food, jewelry, paintings and more from different countries around the world. All were for sale at a reasonable price with a little bargaining with the vendor.
Former head basketball coach Clyde Drexler was the grand marshal in the parade that opened the festivities.
Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar
The kids could even enjoy the festival at the Kid Zone, which featured a variety of activities for children.
Pony rides and a petting zoo brought plenty of smiles and giggles from children attending the festival, as did towering slides and obstacle courses.
Some interesting attractions of the festival were an emerald and diamond dig sponsored by I.W. Marks. Participants were given a chance to win a valuable gemstone.
One of the vendors created miniature clay figures depicting characters from a classic Chinese epic titled Journey to the West.
Habitat Brazil, one of the main attractions, focused on bringing the Brazilian rain forest to Houstonians so they could understand more about its fragile ecosystem.
Of course, what International Festival would be complete without mouth-watering food from different countries?
Cajun, Mexican, Chinese and other cultural culinary delights tantalized the pallet along with everybody's favorites: cotton candy, nachos and frozen lemonade. And it wouldn't be a festival without the beer and frozen margaritas.
This year's festival was sponsored by the City of Houston and Mayor Lee P. Brown, Budweiser beer, Delta Airlines, Reliant Energy, Bank United, Supercuts and Chase bank.
There's still one more weekend before the International Festival disappears until next year. If you haven't yet experienced the fun, head out and see what all the buzz is about.