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Volume 68, Issue 140, Thursday, April 24, 2003

Arts & Entertainment

Get a taste of Mexico at the cultural iFest

By Uruj Perwaiz
The Daily Cougar

Celebrate the 32nd Houston International Festival as it turns its spotlight on Mexico this weekend through May 4. Enjoy 10 days packed with international food, music, shopping, childrenis activities and more in downtown Houston. 

Los Lobos will perform at the 2003 Houston International Festival, which covers 20 city blocks downtown.

Photo courtesy of iFest

The party will stretch across 20 blocks of city parks, plazas and streets. Festival organizers expect more than 500,000 people to attend. The festival, Houstonis longest and largest outdoor party, will feature seven entertainment zones, each with a different theme: Zona de Mexico, African, American, Texas, International, Latin and Kids.

Rick Wellinghoff, a recent iFest, visitor, said, "My life has been enriched." 

The festival will continue its tradition of presenting world music from 1,500 internationally acclaimed artists on the World Music Stage at City Hall and on other stages throughout the festival grounds.

Visitors this year can attend performances by Latino rock band Los Lobos, singer/songwriter Steve Earle, Houstonis jazz artist Kirk Whalum, Mexicois own Mono Blanco, Café Tacuba, Maldita Vecindad and Afropop favorite Angelique Kidjo. The crowd can also enjoy other performers playing zydeco, blues, salsa, Spanish rock and country.

If you like handmade crafts and art pieces, more than 600 artists from around the world will exhibit their work in 10 unique art markets scattered throughout several blocks of the festival site. If you like food, a chili market will be set up and more than 50 restaurants and caterers from Houston will tempt visitors with delicious samples of their cuisine.

You can then vicariously burn off all that food by watching the salsa-dancing demonstrations.

Festival visitors can also experience Mexicois rich heritage by looking at structures of cultural icons and Mexican architecture. 

Advance adult tickets for the festival cost $8 online and at all Houston-area H-E-Bs. Tickets at the gate are $10. Children under 10 are free. All proceeds benefit festival arts and education programs. Easy-access parking in all downtown Theater District lots is only $5. For more information, go to the Festivalis Web site,

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