2019 East End Street Fest Offers an Impressive Display of Rumba, Salsa, and Latin Funk
Headliners includes GRAMMY-Award Winner Grupo Fantasma
WHAT: The East End Improvement Corporation (501c3) proudly announces the 2019 East End Street Fest, taking place on Saturday, October 19 from 2pm to 9:30pm. This FREE annual festival, which drew over 13,000 registered attendees last year, celebrates the vibrant community in historic East End Houston.
Throughout the day and in the three-block area of the Navigation Esplanade, festival goers will experience an array of artisan and craft vendors as well as a Cultural Food Kitchen representing the plethora of cuisines available in the East End. Two stages with a variety of live music genres and artistic performances will be the highlight. Main Stage headliners include two GRAMMY® Award-winners: Grupo Fantasma, a Latin funk orchestra from Austin, Texas and their explosion of musical colors and Los Aztex featuring their gamut of rumba, Latin rock and soul, salsa and blues. Also, a memorable and exciting tribute to the “Queen of Tejano” by Cristina Amaro.
The Heritage Stage, sponsored by AARP, will showcase local artists performing dance, drum, and music acts that originate from around the globe and have found a home in Houston. Artists include Itza Dance Co. performing Mexican folkloric dance, Caporales San Simon Bolivian Dance Troup, The Free Radicals marching drum band, D.R.U.M. Afro Caribbean, festival favorite Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl, Batala Brazilian Drums, and more. A colorful local student marching band and drill team will also be on hand to kick off the festival with a parade at 2pm.
This year’s Kid’s Zone, sponsored by Kroger and McDonald’s, will include rock climbing, moonwalks, pony rides, games, face painting, music, and more. Up to 60 festival vendors will be selling art, handmade jewelry, crafts, books, attire, accessories, delicacies, and food. Additional festival features include beverage booths with refreshments for all ages including craft and domestic beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages; an interactive Safety Zone sponsored by Union Pacific where festival goers can get up close and personal with service vehicles such as a helicopter and SWAT truck; a Cool Zone, sponsored by Allegiance Bank where attendees can relax and cool off; plus interactive games for the whole family, art, activities, and street performances. In the evening hours, the festival transitions to an all-out live music block party as the headliners take the stage with Grammy® Award-winning music free to the public.
According to Veronica Chapa Gorczynksi, President of the East End District, “the 2019 East End Street Fest will be eight years of celebration focused on bringing the community together and showcasing the arts, culture, and commerce of the East End. Whether you’re enjoying delicious fare from our Cultural Food Kitchen, shopping for the perfect handmade bag, or dancing in the street to Grammy Winning music – it will be amazing!”
The full lineup and times of stage performances will be available on the event website, www.eastendstreetfest.com leading up to the festival. Although free, attendees are required to register to attend. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance via the festival website to expedite entry into the festival grounds.
WHO: The East End Improvement Corporation (501c3) and the East End District
WHERE: 2800 Navigation Boulevard (Between St. Charles Street and Delano Street)
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019 from 2:00pm – 9:30pm. All encouraged to register for FREE at www.eastendstreetfest.com.
IMAGES FROM 2018: https://photos.app.goo.gl/AF5mgW6bhPcjacFH8 (Credit: East End District)
Local Latino Art Celebrity Leaves Its Mark in Houston’s East End Festival
A New Mural Envisioned for the Future
Donkeeboy, an East End-based Latino street artist and muralist, was recently commissioned by the East End Improvement Corporation to create a commemorative design to be unveiled at the 2019 East End Street Fest scheduled for Saturday, October 19 from 2:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the award-winning Navigation Esplanade.
Alex Roman Jr., “Donkeeboy,” is a native Houstonian and his family’s Houston roots go back to Mexico, where he lived part of his childhood. While living in Mexico, he discovered his passion for art, winning his first art contest at the young age of six. He credits his artistically-talented mother, Sylvia Roman, aka “Donkeemom,” for his inspiration and the biggest influencer to his artistic skills.
Today, Alex has become one of Houston’s most recognized street artists, creating iconic murals for the Houston Astros, 8th Wonder Brewery, Shipleys Donuts, and more.
Donkeeboy lives and works in the East End. It’s in the East End he and Donkeemom currently collaborate. Being a local art celebrity in this historic Hispanic neighborhood east of downtown helped him understand the demands of the project when he was contacted by the East End Improvement Corporation.
“It was something that was already in me by living and working in the East End. It’s just natural because those are the things that I see on a daily basis,” Alex said. “I wanted to convey the culture that’s here. That’s why I include somebody like Mama Ninfa, who is like a matriarch for the East End,” he added.
Each element of the commemorative artwork combines the folklore of the area such as the guitar, the ballet folklorico dancer, the “papel picado” and Mama Ninfa Laurenzo. “The reason why I made the hand in the brush, spelling out ‘art’ in Spanish, is because there’s so much art in our neighborhood. I couldn’t really focus on one type of art. We’ve got very localized food such as “elotes” (street corn). I know a lot of people think tacos, but to me, street corn is a small, very powerful thing in the Mexican culture. It’s our snack.”
The new design will be available to the public for the first time at the East End Street Fest, featured on t-shirts, cups, and koozies. Everyone is invited to acquire this commemorative design during the East End Street Fest. For details, please visit www.eastendstreetfest.com. Both Donkeeboy and Donkeemom will be on hand at the festival selling art and handmade trinkets.
Funding for this design project was made available by the East End Improvement Corporation and the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA). According to Veronica Chapa Gorczynski, Executive Director of the organization and also President of the East End District, the vision is to perpetuate Donkeeboy’s design with a mural in East End Houston. Currently, this historic neighborhood is home of over 30 murals.