The slideshow featured in this entry consists of photos snapped before and during the 2023 Art Car Parade. It is presented without descriptions, captions, or tedious explanations. Just enjoy what some incredibly creative people and groups can do with vehicles.
Orange Show Art Car Week is a celebration somewhat like Mardi Gras in New Orleans and elsewhere—except that almost everyone knows what Mardi Gras is, and far fewer people know what Art Cars are all about.
The culmination of the Art Car celebration is the Parade, which for most of its history has run on Allen Parkway into Downtown and back out. Thanks partly to COVID-19, and partly to the State of Texas scheduling political party conventions on the same weekend as the Parade, until last weekend I had not attended an Art Car Parade since 2019. I didn't realize just how much I'd missed it until I spent Saturday afternoon sweltering in the fickle shade of a sycamore on the median of the Parkway, watching this most H-Town event of all.
I loved the entries from school groups (there were about 20 this year), the SLAB cars, the low riders, the non-motorized entries, the trailers with bands playing on them, the Mutant Vehicles...every bit of it. What I loved most was watching it with a friend from the Burner scene, her daughter who's about my son's age, and her five-year-old grandson. The grandson and several preschoolers near us were seeing the Parade for the first time—or perhaps for the first time they might actually be able to make sense of what they were seeing.
My friend Angie educated her grandson on the distinction between an Art Car and a Mutant Vehicle: the latter typically has a body that does not resemble that of a standard motor vehicle, like the banana and the Aladdin slipper included in the slideshow.
Quite a few of my Burner and Burner-adjacent friends were in the Parade, most of them participating with the Zebra Crew. There are some non-Burner friends and acquaintances as well, such as once-upon-a-time Green Party activist Bev Peters with her car Shep the German Shepherd Rescue Car (a VW Beetle). Bev and Shep have appeared in at least 20 Art Car Parades.
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