This week marks the kickoff of one of the greenest events in Houston.  We're not talking Earth Day(though that's a biggie, too). We're talking art cars.

Houston's Art Car Parade has been bringing recycled and upcycled artwork on wheels to Houston's streets since 1988.

Artist Johnny Rojas has been onboard for 20 of those years. "I remember it being just a couple of 100 people," said Rojas. "Now we have 250,000 people that come in to watch the parade."

Thursday at the Continental Club was the kickoff party where owners of new cars and old favorites found out where they'll be riding in the parade line.

"We have almost 300 entries this year," said Barbara Hinton of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. "110 have never been seen in Houston before, so it's gonna be a really, really rockin' parade."

Santa Claus doppleganger Rev. Bryan Taylor has created six art cars over the past 25 years. Four were Santa cars, but don't think Taylor chose the Santa theme because of his resemblance to the jolly ole soul.

"At no time did I start making the Santa car and think, 'You know-- I'm gonna have my beard grow white and get fat," Taylor said. "It was never a planned goal of mine. It just happened."

While the art cars don't hit Allen Parkway until May 12th, it takes a lot of preparation to make the the parade a success.

This year, NewsFix got into it by convincing Houston graffiti legend Gonzo 247 and metal artist Rojas to upcycle one of our old hoopties into the "NewsFix Beast," a monster vehicle with dog-collar-like spikes on both bumpers and a seven-foot tower on the roof.

Rojas said the "Beast" was unique for him: "This is the first art car that wasn't done on sketches. It was all done on pencil, paper napkin and beer."

You can catch the "Beast" in all its 12-foot glory on May 12th -- parade day -- at 1pm.

If you can't be there, the parade will be streamed live at 39online.com.

The Art Car Parade is certainly one of the most unique events that go on in the bayou city. Joe Haden, who used Hurricane Ike debris to build his art car, summed it up best: "It's fun, and until you do it, you don't even know what you're missing."