You can head west to tour cultural beauty in Kerrville. Learn more about Asia through music, dance and food. And then celebrate the Year of the Rat with a special float parade on the River Walk. Let’s get this party started!
First off, Darrell Beauchamp says you should take a road trip on I-10 West.
"It's a great place to get away for the weekend and see a lot of beautiful art,” he said.
Beauchamp runs Kerrville's Museum of Western Art. The sprawling 14,000 square-foot space was designed by famed San Antonio architect O'Neil Ford.
“It's a beautiful location up on the hill," he said.
And their new exhibit is quite cool.
"The West In Winter is an exhibition of 65 works depicting winter in the west, and it includes everything from Native Americans and Cowboys going across the winter landscape, to cowboys doing round-up chores during the middle of winter,” Beauchamp said. “There's lots of snow and ice and course there are landscapes and animals of the American west."
He said you might hear people speaking languages many Texans are not accustomed to hearing in everyday life.
"We have as many guests from international places as we do here in Texas," he said.
For those of you thinking of making the drive, he said Kerrville can accommodate.
“There's just about everything in the world that you would want to eat. Everything from fine dining to fast food. Just lots of things to do in beautiful Kerrville, Texas," Beauchamp said.
IF YOU GO
What: Kerrville Western Art Museum
When: hours vary
Also this weekend, Jo Ann Andera suggests you head to the Institute of Texan Cultures.
“We are so excited; we are going to be celebrating with all our Asian Communities,” she said.
She's talking about the massive once-a-year Asian Festival. It's the event packed with food, costumes, dance and performance. And it’s got one added perk.
“It helps us to break down barriers. It helps us to learn about each other,” she said.
Andera added if you just think of Chinese and Japanese when you think of Asia, you should know there's so much more.
"We have Indonesians and Pakistanis, we have the Malaysians, the East Indians, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai," Andera said.
And those coming to share their cultures at the Asian Festival are also bringing food.
“We've got 100 and some-odd menu items ranging from Pakoras to Yakisoba to beef curry with rice,and we have an Asian Libation station that is going to be serving Sake and Asian beers.”
“This city really has become the city of gastronomy,” she chuckled.
The costumes and dance troupes are some of the festival's biggest draws.
“We've got the Arathi School of Indian Dance, our Korean community, the Indonesians, the UTSA Japanese Dance team,” she said. “We've got the wonderful Lion Dancers that everybody just loves.
And she hoped that we all would remember that the best way to get there on Saturday is through Uber.
IF YOU GO
What: Asian Festival
Where: Institute of Texan Cultures
When: 10 a.m. Sarurday
Also downtown each night all the way through Feb. 8, the River Walk is really going to shine for the Ford Parade of Lanterns. Here's the River Walk's Paula Schechter.
"This is in honor of the Asian New Year. This is the year of the Rat, and as is the tradition in the Asian culture, of floating lanterns at the new year,” she said. “So that's what we're doing in a really big, Texas-sized way."
"We've created 10 floats and each one is decorated with enormous lanterns which are absolutely beautiful and they float throughout the River Walk," she said.
Unlike most parades, there's not really a place for people in this one.
"Other than a boat driver; we DO have a boat driver on there,” she said. “There are just the beautiful lanterns an Asian music music, and this year we've requested that our boat drivers stay clustered together."
To time your arrival, you now can find out online where the parade is in the horseshoe bend at any given time.
“What's new this year is we have a float tracker. So on the first float we've added a beacon,” Shechter said. “It makes three laps, so it takes about one hour per lap.”
IF YOU GO
What: Ford Parade of Lanterns
Where: River Walk downtown
When: 6 p.m. nightly ‘ti Feb. 8