An estimated crowd of close to 1,500 — among them Houston city council members and a special appearance by City of Houston Department of Aviation director, Mario Diaz — made it out to the annual event, enjoying complimentary eats, drinks, aircraft displays and an entire airplane hangar completely dedicated to the kids. Several moonwalks, a mechanical bull, temporary tattoos, face painting, video game bus and multiple balloon artists kept the smaller guests entertained for hours. Parents enjoyed plenty of hamburgers, hot dogs, raffle prizes, giveaways and learning about the exciting new things happening at Hobby Airport — international flights and a terminal expansion among those. Everyone seemed to find a spot on the dance floor at some point, dancing the day away in between raffle prize drawings to the sounds of a live DJ. In the midst of it all were boy scouts earning badges in aviation, fire safety and crime prevention.
In conjunction with HobbyFest this year was a tasty kick-off to the event: A barbecue competition. Setting up their smokers the day before, teams spent all night cooking briskets, ribs, chicken and Dutch oven desserts to submit to a panel of judges the next day. Among the lucky taste testers determining the fate of the hard-fought barbecue battle were Houston city council member Robert Gallegos, Main Kitchen’s executive chef Erin Smith, CultureMap food writer Eric Sandler, Fox 26 Houston’s managing editor Geoff Roth and barbecue aficionado, blogger and photographer Scott Sandlin of Texas Pit Quest.
Brisket — Runner-up, Da Creole Krewe; 1st, Hobby Outlaws
Ribs — Runner-up, Blown Gasket; 1st, Loz Kompaz Kookers
Chicken — Runner-up, Loz Kompaz Kookers; 1st, Da Creole Krewe
Dutch Oven Dessert — Runner-up, Da Creole Krewe; 1st, Back Porch Cookers
Showmanship — Back Porch Cookers
Grand Champions — Loz Kompaz Kookers
The most important moment of the day was the presentation of the Allen T. Johnson Memorial Scholarship to five deserving students. Receiving $1,000 a person (a total of $5,000) for their education in the fields of aviation or transportation were Micah Harper, Delicia Holmes, Lydia Ndagire, Onyekachi Nwaokolo and Jesse Soto. Hobby Airport general manager Perry Miller and longtime HobbyFest volunteer and principal of ESC Polytech Consultants, Inc. Danny Perkins were on hand to pass out the giant checks and congratulate the recipients in person.
A special thanks to our sponsors AECOM, HNTB, Pet Paradise, Hensel Phelps, New South Parking, b4 Products, Paradies Shops, Leibowitz Airport Management Consultants, Brown & Gay, Hobby Area District, ESC Polytech Consultants, Inc., Signature Flight Support, Plus 4 Credit Union, The Greensheet, Houston Airport System, Latrelle’s and many other generous companies that donated products for raffles and more.
And last, but definitely not least, a special thank you to all that came out and braved the possibility of rain to enjoy a day at Hobby Airport. We hope you’ll be back next year (and bring your friends).
Without the support of the community, this event would not be possible, so thank you Houston!