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November 24th

 

Texas Independence Day Celebration

03/05/2016 - 03/06/2016, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Washington on the Brazos to mark 180th Anniversary of Texas Independence at its annual “Texas Independence Day Celebration”

2016 will be an especially important year for Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site: not only is it the 180th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico in 1836 at Washington on the Brazos, but it will also be the state park’s 100th birthday. It was March 2, 1836 when 59 delegates bravely met in Washington, Texas to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. From 1836 until 1846, the Republic of Texas proudly existed as a separate nation.

To commemorate the 180th anniversary of Texas Independence, the three entities that administer and support this site—Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept (TPWD), Blinn College and Washington on the Brazos State Park Association—are planning Texas-sized celebrations.

Independence Hall Living History“Texas Independence Day Celebration” (TIDC) is an annual two-day celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, 2016 on the expansive 293-acre park grounds and its three incredible attractions: Independence Hall (replica of the site where representatives wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence); Star of the Republic Museum (collections and programs honoring history of early Texans, administered by Blinn College); and Barrington Living History Farm (where interpreters dress, work and farm as did the original residents of this homestead). The birthday celebration features live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, historical encampments and commemorative programs so guests can experience life in Texas in 1836.

Admission fees are waived for the site’s attractions (Independence Hall, Star of the Republic Museum, and Barrington Living History Farm) during the TIDC weekend celebration. Admission to the grounds, on-site shuttles and parking are also free.

In 2016, TIDC will be expanded to include some special guests and entertainment on both weekend days, including Texas A&M University Singing Cadets; the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band performing three times (on Saturday only); Professor Farquar’s Great American Medicine Show with Polecat Annie; a historical play titled “The Birth of a Republic” about the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence by Republic of Texas Players; unveiling and book signing of “Washington on the Brazos: Cradle of the Texas Republic” by author Richard B. McCaslin (fellow of the TSHA and professor of history at the University of North Texas); family reunions of the descendants of the 59 men who signed the Declaration; wreath laying ceremony at the Children’s Monument; the Masonic flag raising ceremony; and additional historical reenactments. A Kid Zone will allow children to dress up in historical costumes; sign a large scale copy of the Declaration; and takes photos near the Declaration.

The Star of the Republic Museum at WOB will celebrate the 180th anniversary with its new exhibit “A Legacy of Leadership: The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.” Elected as delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1836, these men determined the future of Texas. Amongst them were 12 lawyers, five physicians, four surveyors and three each of planters, empresarios and merchants. The exhibit will focus on their roles as leaders and includes personal artifacts such as Sam Maverick’s buckskins, a cameo of Michel Menard, oil portraits of Stephen Blount and his wife, and many others items. Visitors to the museum will also get a sneak peak of its new Pioneer Playroom which will simulate a Texas frontier homestead, with inside and outside features. The Pioneer Playroom will open on March 12, 2016.

Ride for Texas Independence: And—just as they did 180 years ago—riders on horseback will make their way down La Bahia Road and into the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site to deliver letters from Alamo commander William Barret Travis to Washington on the Brazos, timed in conjunction with the annual Texas Independence Day Celebration at this state park. Called the “Ride for Texas Independence,” interpretive staff from area historical sites—led by Scott McMahon, Director, Presidio La Bahia—will retrace on horseback the route the couriers traveled in 1836 as closely as possible, while dressed in period clothing and using riding tack authentic to that used during the Texian War for Independence. The 12-day ride will begin on February 24, 2016 on the grounds of the Alamo and travel through towns including Seguin, Gonzales, Shiner, San Felipe, Belmont, Sublime, Altair and Beard until reaching WOB on Saturday, March 5, 2016.

The horsemen will deliver reproductions of the letter that Travis sent out while the Alamo was under siege. The well-known “Victory or Death” letter was penned on February 24, 1836 in which he declared “I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism, & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch……If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country –VICTORY OR DEATH.”(A second letter was written on March 3, 1836 to Jesse Grimes, delegate at the Convention of 1836 and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, in which Travis declared “Let the Convention go on and make a declaration of independence, and we will then understand, and the world will understand, what we are fighting for. If independence is not declared, I shall lay down my arms, and so will the men under my command.”) Other events and programs throughout the 180th anniversary year are being finalized at the seven historic sites associated with the Texas Revolution: Gonzales, San Felipe, San Antonio Missions, the Alamo, Washington on the Brazos, Goliad and San Jacinto Monument.

List of activities for Saturday, March 5th

Schedule subject to change: many activities happen several times a day:

  • unspecifiedKids Zone, near the Childress Monument (10 am. to 5 p.m.): The Kids Zone will allow children to dress up in historical costumes; sign a large scale copy of the Declaration; and takes photos near the Declaration.
  • Wreath laying at Independence Hall (10 a.m.): Fourth grade students will lay a wreath at the oldest monument in the park, next to Independence Hall, to kick off the weekend. Since the monument is the first permanent marker (1899/1900) of the events that took place on this spot, and because it was largely due to the efforts of school children, WOB will recognize their efforts with a brief ceremony. By inviting children to play a key role in the program, WOB hopes to foster a deeper appreciation in the young generation about events that occurred in the place they call home.
  • Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band at the Amphitheater (10:30 a.m.; 1:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.): The nationally acclaimed Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band will perform Texas favorites on Saturday only.
  • Dean Barber in Museum Theater (1:30 p.m.): Dean will play 19th century folk music and old time music (Texas style) on a clawhammer banjo.
  • unspecified-1Musket and Cannon Firing: Visitors will learn how black powder small arms and artillery are loaded, fired and maintained through interpretive programming. Watch from a safe distance, hear the crack of rifle fire and musketry, and feel the rumble of artillery just as Texian soldiers would have during the war for independence.
  • “Birth of a Republic” Play: The Birth of a Republic is a dramatic recreation of events relating to the Convention of 1836 in Washington which adopted a Declaration of Independence from Mexico; adopted a Texas Constitution; and created for Texas its first representative government. It will be performed by a historical reenactment troupe organized by Brenham attorney, Steve Haley, and based out of Brenham.
  • unspecified-2Tours of Independence Hall (11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.): Historical interpreters relay the stories from the Convention of 1836.
  • Professor Farquar’s Medicine Show with Polecat Annie: The professor will delight all ages with an old time medicine show, filled with music, magic and fun for all ages.
  • Musket and Cannon Firings: Visitors will learn how black powder small arms and artillery are loaded, fired and maintained through interpretive programming. Watch from a safe distance, hear the crack of rifle fire and musketry, and feel the rumble of artillery just as Texian soldiers would have during the war for independence.
  • Exhibit in Star of the Republic Museum (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.): New exhibit “A Legacy of Leadership: The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence” will focus on the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1836 who determined the future of Texas. The exhibit includes personal artifacts such as Sam Maverick’s buckskins, a cameo of Michel Menard, oil portraits of Stephen Blount and his wife, and many others items. Visitors to the museum will also get a sneak peak of its new Pioneer Playroom which will simulate a Texas frontier homestead, with inside and outside features; the Pioneer Playroom will open on March 12, 2016.
  • Booksigning in the Visitor Center:Booksigning by noted Texas historian Richard B. McCaslin of his book published by the Texas State Historical Association: Washington on the Brazos: Cradle of the Texas Republic. McCaslin recovers the rich history of an iconic Texas town, which served as the epicenter of the nascent Texas Republic. “While Santa Anna marched, the founders of the Republic met in Washington to declare independence and write a constitution. There, too, the Congress of the Republic later accepted annexation to the United States, Know Nothings launched a rebellion against antebellum Democrats, the Dixie Blues mustered for the Civil War, and Black Republicans made a last stand,”  McCaslin states.

List of activities for Sunday, March 6

Schedule subject to change: many activities happen several times a day:

  • Kids Zone, near the Childress Monument (10 am. to 5 p.m.): The Kids Zone will allow children to dress up in historical costumes; sign a large scale copy of the Declaration; and takes photos near the Declaration.
  •  _MG_5451Exhibit in Star of the Republic Museum (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.): New exhibit “A Legacy of Leadership: The Signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence” will focus on the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1836 who determined the future of Texas. The exhibit includes personal artifacts such as Sam Maverick’s buckskins, a cameo of Michel Menard, oil portraits of Stephen Blount and his wife, and many others items. Visitors to the museum will also get a sneak peak of its new Pioneer Playroom which will simulate a Texas frontier homestead, with inside and outside features; the Pioneer Playroom will open on March 12, 2016.
  • Mason Flag Raising Ceremony at the Visitor’s Center (10 a.m.): The Texas flag will be ceremonially raised by Masonic members of the Lone Star Commandery #114 from North Zulch, Texas.
  • Musket and Cannon Firings: Visitors will learn how black powder small arms and artillery are loaded, fired and maintained through interpretive programming. Watch from a safe distance, hear the crack of rifle fire and musketry, and feel the rumble of artillery just as Texian soldiers would have during the war for independence.
  • IMG_7066Music by North Harris County Dulcimer Society: Concert of “unplugged” music on mountain dulcimers, autoharps and hammered dulcimers
  • Tours of Independence Hall (11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.): Historical interpreters relay the stories from the Convention of 1836.
  • Professor Farquar’s Medicine Show with Polecat Annie: The professor will delight all ages with an old time medicine show, filled with music, magic and fun for all ages.
  • Birth of a Republic Play: Historic drama about Sam Houston and 58 other delegates who were hammering out the Texas Declaration of Independence that would create a new nation in 1836.
  • Texas A&M Singing Cadets at the Amphitheatre: Called “The Voice of Aggieland,” this internationally renowned men’s choir will serenade visitors with moving songs. Formed on the A&M campus in 1893, the Singing Cadets are one of the oldest collegiate singing organizations in the world.
  • IMG_7235Washington on the Brazos State Park Association’s Program: A commemorative program honoring the 59 delegates who drafted and signed Texas’ Declaration of Independence and featuring remarks by Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton, District 4, an eighth-generation Montgomery County resident and descendant of a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. All descendants of those founding fathers also will be recognized.
    • Cake Cutting (following program): A Texas-sized cake will be served to visitors by the Washington Historical Society Heritage Belles.

TIDC is made possible by ExxonMobil, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op, The Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, The City of Brenham, The City of Navasota, Blinn College, KTEX 106 Sounds Like Texas, , KWHI 1280, Travis and Tim Bryan-The Bank & Trust of Bryan/College Station, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Washington on the Brazos State Park Association.

 

Location Map (Washington on the Brazos Site)

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