San Jacinto Day Festival & Battle Reenactment
HOUSTON -- Booming cannons, cracking musket fire, thundering hooves and battle cries will resound across the San Jacinto Battleground on Saturday, April 16, as hundreds of history reenactors recreate the events leading up to Texas winning her independence in the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. This year's reenactment will have even more significance as we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of Texas Independence.
Witness the excitement at the admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment on April 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. The Festival is a full day of music, entertainment, food, games and fun set amidst living history.
The battle reenactment, which is the most popular event of the day, begins at 3 p.m. Reenactors will dramatize the decisive battle where General Sam Houston led his Texian soldiers to victory over the Mexican Army eventually leading to almost one million square miles of Mexican territory becoming a part of the United States. The reenactors will dramatically interpret the Runaway Scrape (Texians fleeing from the advancing forces of Santa Anna), the march of the Texas Army from Gonzales to San Jacinto, the cannon duel, and the final battle between the two forces.
Festival activities surrounding the base of the San Jacinto Monument celebrate this special day in Texas history with entertaining and educational activities.
On the Main Stage, popular local and regional entertainers will perform and demonstrate:
- With her band, native Houstonian Liz Talley takes her audience back to the days of the Texas dancehall with twin fiddles and a steel guitar. "More than Satisfied" is her latest CD release.
- K.R. Wood, a singer, songwriter and historian, brings an authentic chuck wagon and performs his "Camp Cookie" review.
- Last Chance Forever, The Birds of Prey Conservancy will show their magnificent birds including hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.
- The Celtaire String Band performs period Americana music using a variety of instruments including the fiddle, penny whistle, guitar, mandolin, spoons, scrub-board and limberjacks. They even get the crowd to join in with tambourines!
The Children's Area is sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company and Deer Park ISD. Activities and shows in the Children's Area include:
- Lucas Miller, the "Singing Zoologist," blends music, puppetry, images, and "zoological, stand-up comedy" to teach about monarch butterflies, wetlands, animal defenses, endangered species, symbiosis, and other nature-related topics.
- A 55' train complete with train whistle and Texan and American flags ($2 fee for rides).
- Make-and-take history activities and crafts for children will be available, created by Gifted/Talented specialists from Deer Park ISD. Volunteer teachers from DPISD and student volunteers from San Jacinto College will assist in the craft area.
- The Houston ZooMobile will be on the grounds with animals native to Texas, interesting demonstrations and nature games.
- Marsha's Petting Zoo brings in animals for an up-close and personal look at nature. Families can pet and feed the sheep, goats, and other friendly small animals.
- Armand Bayou Nature Center will conduct crafts and games from the 1800's in the Children's Area, as well as display some reptiles.
More family-friendly festival fun:
- Dan Barth will use his Medicine Show Wagon to help tell the tales of special 19th century cure-all elixirs and entertain with a little magic.
- Blacksmiths, weavers, spinners, quilters and other demonstrators will give visitors a full sense of how life was in the early 1800s. Sutlers (civilians who sold provisions to military posts) will be on hand to sell or show their wares. The Tiny Town Texas display shows how towns were laid out in the 1800s.
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department interpreters will offer guided tours of the restored marshlands and answer questions about the wildlife inhabiting the park, including otters, diamondback terrapins, peregrine falcons, wood ibises (storks), brown pelicans, reddish egrets, roseate spoonbills, great blue herons, osprey, mottled ducks and American avocets. Guests can easily see the marsh thanks to the ADA-accessible boardwalk expansion funded in large part by Shell Oil, who also provides volunteers to work on construction of the boardwalk. The marsh is historically important in that it barred the escape of many of General Santa Anna's troops during the 1836 battle.
- Members of the San Jacinto Descendants, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Sons of the Republic of Texas will be on hand to share their history.
- Texas Independence Square Dancers--square dancers from various groups throughout Texas--will demonstrate square dancing and give lessons.
- Visitors can browse through the vendor area to admire unique hand-crafted items, Texas products and history-related items.
- Music from the North Harris County Dulcimer Society and the Celtaire String Band will entertain folks as they walk along the reflection pool.
- Representatives from these groups will also be on hand: Texas General Land Office and the Texas Independence Trail Region.
- Families can have their picture taken, courtesy of Capital One Bank.
- Instead of 1836 fare such as possum and cornmeal mush, the Texas-style food and beverages offered for sale will be more pleasing to today's palates.
- Inside the San Jacinto Monument, visitors can enjoy the artifacts of the San Jacinto Museum at no charge. For a modest fee, Festival goers can take the famous 489-foot elevator ride to the top of the Monument, enjoy the digital presentation Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto and view the Museum's latest exhibit, Reflections of an Exhibit: Cecil Thomson Revealed, which brings Houston history to life with photographs, silent movies and artifacts.
- Battleship TEXAS, the first battleship memorial museum in the U.S., is located in the park and open for visitors (fees are listed below.)
During the day visitors can wander freely among the Mexican and Texian camps to learn what the soldiers of that day were doing prior to the battle and to see how they lived in 1836. In the military camps, visitors will learn how to perform the close order drills of the day. A few lucky children will be chosen to stand with the cannon crew and pretend to load the cannons and will be presented with cannon soot to wear on their noses as a badge of honor.
The historically correct encampments and the Battle Reenactment are presented by hundreds of members of the San Jacinto Volunteers and other living history organizations from across the state. These groups help families new to the state as well as native Texans understand the history of this great state.
"We wish to thank Presenting Sponsor H-E-B, The Dow Chemical Company, Capital One Bank, and LyondellBasell whose financial support allows us to offer this celebration of Texas' independence free to the public," says San Jacinto Museum of History Association President Larry Spasic. "Each year we work hand in hand with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to coordinate this event. We truly appreciate the volunteer support from Deer Park ISD, San Jacinto College, the Pasadena Strawberry Festival, and La Porte EMS."
Visitors enjoy free admission to the Festival and Battle Reenactment. Combo tickets for the elevator ride, Reflections exhibit and movie inside the Monument can be purchased: $12 for adults, $10.50 for Seniors, $8 for children. Fees for the Battleship TEXAS are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for school and youth groups with a reservation, and free for children 12 and younger.
Visit the San Jacinto Museum's Facebook page! Festival goers can participate by uploading photos and videos of their experience to www.flickr.com/groups/sanjacintomuseum and www.youtube.com/user/SanJacintoMuseum. Some photos may be chosen for posting on the Museum's Facebook page. All who submit will be entered into a prize drawing.
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located just 22 miles east of downtown Houston--take Highway 225 east to Independence Parkway north (formerly Battleground Road) and continue for approximately 3 miles. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets for comfortable viewing of the Battle Reenactment.
For more information about the San Jacinto Museum of History or the San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment, please call 281.479.2421 or visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org. For more information on the Battleship TEXAS, please contact the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department at 281.479.2431.
COMMEMORATIVE CEREMONY: Each year the official State of Texas ceremony marking the anniversary date of the San Jacinto Battle takes place on April 21. The San Jacinto Day Ceremony Commemorating the 175th Anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto will be held on the north side steps of the San Jacinto Monument at 11:00 a.m. The commemorative ceremony is open to the public.
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