Countdown to Parade Day:

History of the Ball

Origins of the Art Car Ball

As the size and scope of the art car parade grew, additional funds became a necessity. The Orange Show Foundation addressed this issue in 1991 by organizing a populist fundraiser to benefit the foundation's art car events, aptly named the Art Car Ball. That first year, 1,200 enthusiastic supporters showed up to the roof of a downtown parking garage to get a close look at 100 parked art cars, and to dance to the nuclear polka of Brave Combo.

The Art Car Ball was an instant success; a tradition was born.

The Patron Party - a deluxe addition seated dinner on site - was added in 1994 allowing patrons the option to contribute at a higher level.Today, the Art Car Ball and Patron Party claim the title "Houston's Best Party" as nominated by "Houston Press" readers.
Such Texas musical acts as the
  • The Suffers
  • The Suspects
  • Gio Chamba
  • Whiskey Shivers
  • T-Bird & The Breaks
  • Los Skarnales
  • Moji
  • Road Kings
  • The Norma Zenteno Band
  • Joe Ely
  • Carolyn Wonderland & the Imperial Monkeys
  • The Naughty Ones
  • Brave Combo and Santiago Jimenez, Jr
When we ventured beyond the Texas borders, it was Dirty Dozen Brass Band, El Vez and the Rebirth Brass Band that we featured.
In 1998 additions to the festivities included an art gallery featuring the work of art car artists, performances by Pat Oleszko and Kal Spellitich, as well as a fashion show featuring Pat Oleszko's inflatable outfits.The Art Car Ball continued to attract upwards of 5,000 revelers to the roof tops of various downtown Houston parking garages and to inspire a myriad of car part costumes thus blurring the line between spectator and performer.
In 2002 a group of artists took on the task of throwing "Houston's Best Party" and enjoyed a huge success! 
For the past three years, Arts Brookfield has been our presenting sponsor for the Legendary Art Car Ball. Now in 2017, we have moved the event to City Hall and will be celebrating around the beeatiful grounds of Hermann Square and the City Hall reflection pond!