Each year in mid-January, the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Christ hosts the Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition (713/867-3286) in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event also includes a highly anticipated performance by the Salvation Army Choir.
Throughout the chilly month of February, the Foundation for Modern Music (713/529-3928) presents a series of heartwarming concerts showcasing the work of living American composers. Said composers are often in attendance.
Every March, the University of Texas Health Science Center presents the popular Brain Night at the Museum (713/521-1515) featuring presentations about how the brain works, a gross yet fascinating dissection of a sheep’s brain, an informative video, and other brainy activities.
In April, don’t miss the Bayou City Cajun Fest (281/890-5500) at Traders Village. Patrons enjoy crawfish, po’ boys, zydeco bands, and all kinds of Cajun culture. Another popular annual springtime event is the Asian Pacific Heritage Festival (713/784-1112), featuring an impressive parade, food booths, and cultural activities at the Alief Community Park in southwest Houston.
It gets downright sweltering in Houston  during the summer months, but that doesn’t deter locals from celebrating. One of the city’s best-known annual events is Juneteenth (713/558-2600), commemorating the day in June that enslaved Texans learned about their freedom via the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth activities include national gospel, blues, and jazz acts taking the stage at Hermann Park , along with plenty of good eats and revelry.
Paper-folding aficionados won’t want to miss the annual Origami Festival at Tansu (713/880-5100) held each July in Houston Heights. Participate in the interactive workshops, exhibits, and demonstrations.
September is still the height of the summer in Houston , and residents celebrate the heat by participating in the annual Hot Sauce Festival (281/558-3518). See if you can handle the added temperatures of the fiery salsas, marinades, sauces, peppers, and dips, all for the benefit of the Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research.
Get your ghoul on with the city’s annual Ghost Walks (713/222-9255) throughout October. Hauntees ride on the Metro to different downtown locales where they can get freaked out by various urban legends and authentic historical death scenes. Speaking of deceased, locals and visitors descend en masse on downtown neighborhoods on Nov. 2 as part of the Day of the Dead Festival (713/343-0218). Parades and festivals honor the former lives of family and friends.
In early December, City Hall becomes the gathering place for Chanukah Fest (713/774-0300). The Chabad Lubavitch Outreach of Houston sponsors this annual event featuring traditional food, live music, craft demonstrations, and holiday activities.