By Joe Southern
History is about to repeat itself.
This is the time of year when Texans new and generational flock to area historical sites to witness commemorations and re-enactments of the Texas War for Independence.
At George Ranch Historical Park last weekend, the park held its Tales of Texas event, which wasn’t focused on the Texas Revolution, but rather highlighted many events and the way of life in early Texas. The park will enter the re-enactment fray on April 8 when it hosts the Runaway Scrape event.
Visitors to George Ranch last weekend could tour the ranch and witness pioneer life in 1830, visit with Texas Rangers on the trail or even have a friendly encounter with notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. The historical depictions took place at each of the four homes on the ranch representing 100 years of one family’s history in Texas from the 1830s to the 1930s. More than 1,600 people came out for the three-day event Feb. 23-25.
“Our annual Tales of Texas this year was a blast for staff and guests,” said Krystal Willeby, Director of Programs. “Our Law and Order theme allowed us to explore many of the politicians, law enforcement officials and, yes, even the outlaws who made an impression in our great state. This year, we re-enacted an 1830 San Felipe de Austin Ayuntamiento (city council) election – the historical Jones Stock Farm was one of the polling places selected that year. And we used historical court documents to recreate one of the many trials of female gambler Lottie Deno. More than 30 volunteers helped out throughout the weekend and helped bring the stories of these figures truly to life.”
On the trail of Texas Independence
As General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and the Mexican Army pursued Texian rebels from San Antonio to what is now Houston in 1836, so can modern-day history buffs and travelers follow in the footsteps of these historic warriors as annual battle re-enactments and hiving history programs spring to life across the land for the next two months.
The following is a list of events taking place this year to commemorate the 181st anniversary of the Texas Revolution:
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio
The state’s most hallowed and revered historic landmark is quietly hosting a series of events to commemorate the siege and battle between the Mexican Army and the Alamo defenders. The General Land Office is not allowing re-enactment and living history groups to fire guns or cannons as they have in the past, so don’t go expecting much bang for your buck. Do go for a solemn pilgrimage to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
An Evening With Heroes
Friday, March 3, 6:30-9:30 p.m.
What would it have been like to be present at the Alamo during the siege leading up to the battle? Join the Alamo for a special, after-hours theater and witness the events and conversations that took place the evening before the final attack. The event takes place after the Alamo is closed to the public, allowing guests to experience the grounds like never before. Guides will lead groups through seven candlelit scenarios. Tours depart every 10 minutes, with the first tour beginning at 6:30 p.m. Each tour will last approximately 45 minutes
Saturday, March 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Alamo presents its ever-popular Fiddle Fest, a free event on the Alamo grounds featuring a full day of western swing, bluegrass, and old time country from world renowned artists Jason Roberts, Rick McRae and Ron Knuth.
Dawn At The Alamo
Monday, March 6, 5 a.m.
Re-enactors representing both armies pay homage in recognition of great sacrifices made by both sides at the Alamo. They will light 13 candles to symbolize the 13 days of the Alamo Siege.
Dusk At the Alamo
Monday, March 6, 6 p.m.
A year after the battle at the Alamo, Colonel Juan N. Seguín and his battalion returned to San Antonio to hold a memorial service in honor of their fallen comrades. Alamo Living Historians commemorate the lighting of the funeral pyres with a brief ceremony in front of the Alamo Church. Juan Seguin’s memorial address will be recited in English and Spanish.
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site
12300 Park Road 12 Washington, TX
On March 2, 1836, 59 delegates bravely met here to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. The event will be commemorated with numerous activities, including battle demonstrations by the Texas Army, plays, music, food, historic demonstrations and more.
Presidio La Bahia
217 U.S. 183, Goliad
The Goliad Massacre occurred on March 27, 1836, during the Texas Revolution when nearly 500 prisoners of war from the army of the Republic of Texas were killed by the Mexican Army near the town of Goliad. This is traditionally the biggest and best of the Texas Revolution re-enactments. Visit Texian and Mexican camps and witness battle re-enactments, including the very poignant candlelight tour Saturday night and the somber death march and execution Sunday morning.
The Runaway Scrape
10215 FM 762, Richmond
In the spring of 1836, thousands of Texians fled from their homes as Santa Anna’s army began marching toward San Jacinto. Visit the 1830s Jones Stock Farm and see the Texians in action as they struggle to retreat during the re-creation of the Runaway Scrape and Engagement at Thompson’s Ferry.
San Jacinto Day Battle
Reenactment and Festival
San Jacinto Monument
1 Monument Circle, La Porte
Celebration of San Jacinto
Friday, April 21
A commemoration on the anniversary of the Texas Army’s defeat of the Mexican Army.
San Jacinto Day Battle
Reenactment and Festival
Saturday, April 22
One of the largest battle re-enactments in the state is the centerpiece of the admission-free annual San Jacinto Day Festival, held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument. The re-enactment recreates the events leading up to Texas winning its independence from Mexico 181 years ago at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. There will be lots of food, vendors, music and more.