Texas Declaration of Independence celebrates 176th anniversary
WASHINGTON, Texas – Historical re-enactors portraying Texas heroes Col. William B. Travis, Gen. Sam Houston and Davy Crockett will help lend an authentic air to the Texas Independence Day celebration March 3-4 at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site.
This year’s two-day festival commemorates the 176th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836, by 59 men who gathered on the banks of the Brazos River for the Independence Convention. Children are invited to have their photo taken with the Texas heroes.
A special Texas Independence Day program will be held starting at 1:30 p.m. in the park amphitheater with a performance by the Aggie Wranglers, a high-energy country-western dance group. Highlighting the program will be a 3 p.m. roll call of the direct descendants of the signers of the document who declared Texas’ freedom from Mexican rule. Visitors may want to arrive at the amphitheater at 12:45 p.m. to enjoy the Tanner Family Minstrel Show.
Appearing on the afternoon program will be Bob Heinonen, who will portray Alamo commander William B. Travis for the final time after 20 years of interpreting his character at the annual celebration. The day’s program concludes at 3:15 with a blackpowder rifle salute and the traditional cutting and serving of pieces of a Texas-sized birthday cake.
There is no cost to attend the two-day festival that takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the 293-acre “Birthplace of the Republic of Texas” located between Navasota and Brenham.
Throughout the weekend, park visitors will be transported back to a time when Texas was a sovereign nation. The public can mingle with members of the Texas Army and other re-enactors attired in period clothing, admire the craftsmanship of skilled Texas artisans and immerse themselves in the music and stories of the republic’s past. On both days, vendors will be selling food and drinks.
During the weekend, park visitors will be able to stop in at a river overlook campsite and experience a slice of what daily life was like for those who volunteered to fight for Texas independence as a member of the Texian Army. There also will be small arms and artillery firing demonstrations at the overlook and the Washington Inn.
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site features three attractions that are open year round: Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum and the Barrington Living History Farm. The event is made possible through funding from the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association, Exxon/Mobil Corporation and Bluebonnet Electric Co-op.
The Star of the Republic Museum will be opening a new exhibit titled “A Slice of Life: Washington in the 19th Century.” The exhibit focuses on the people, businesses and events that influenced the fledging village of Washington in the 1830s. In the early days of the republic, the village at the site of a major Brazos River crossing was a hub for medical practices, land offices, mercantile establishments, hotels, a newspaper and taverns. A sneak preview of the Asa Hoxey collection also is planned. The exhibit continues through the end of the year.
Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site is located between Brenham and Navasota off State Hwy. 105 and FM 1155, approximately one hour northwest of Houston. For directions or more information, call the state historic site at (936) 878-2214.
To see a YouTube video about Washington-on-the-Brazos, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/TexasParksWildlife#p/c/119/QQvK6AFtdh0