Security is always a concern at big events, but law enforcement presence is being beefed up at a popular festival after the bombings in Boston.
Final touches and an opening ceremony marked the official start of the Houston International Festival, which will be held in downtown Houston the next two weekends.
Brazil is the focus of this year's event and thousands of people are expected to attend.
Houston's police chief said his department will make sure everyone is safe.
"We want the public to come out and enjoy themselves and not be afraid to participate in mass festive events," Police Chief Charles McClelland said.
Even on set up day, the police presence was very noticeable. Festival organizers said they've taken extra security precautions since the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
"We have definitely re-examined the plan. We've double-checked, we're working very closely with the city, the fire department, the police dept and the mayor's office of special events to insure the best possible experience," said Kim Stoilis, president of the Houston International Festival.
Cameras throughout downtown Houston will keep watch over everyone and police said it's important that people report anything they think is strange.