Celebrate Texas' independence at San Jacinto Day Festival

April 10, 2012 5:44:11 PM PDT
Booming cannons, cracking musket fire, thundering hooves and battle cries will resound across the San Jacinto Battleground as hundreds of history reenactors recreate the events leading up to Texas winning its independence at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto.

The dramatic battle reenactment is the centerpiece of the admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival, which is held from 10am to 6pm April 21 on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument. The event is sponsored by the San Jacinto Museum of History, Texas Parks & Wildlife and the San Jacinto Volunteers and is expected to include music, entertainment, food, games and fun set amidst living history.

The battle reenactment, which is the most popular event of the day, begins at 3pm. The reenactment dramatizes 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 cannon duel and the final battle between the two forces. General Sam Houston will be played by his descendent, Sam Houston IV.

"It is so important to our mission that we are able to present this living, dynamic reenactment of Texas history for free, and that would not be possible without our Presenting Sponsor H-E-B, as well as The Dow Chemical Company, Vopak, Pasadena Strawberry Festival, and LyondellBasell," says Larry Spasic, San Jacinto Museum of History President. "Just as important are our partners who help us coordinate this event, including the volunteers from San Jacinto College, Deer Park ISD and La Porte EMS."

All festival activities are updated continually on the San Jacinto Museum of History website at www.sanjacinto-museum.org. Entertaining and educational activities scheduled include:

  • New this year: Solero Flamenco presents a "fiery, passionate and virtuoso flamenco performance," led by founders Irma La Paloma and Jerem?as Garc?a.
  • Last Chance Forever, The Birds of Prey Conservancy, shows its magnificent birds including hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.
  • The Celtaire String Band performs Americana period music using a variety of instruments including the fiddle, penny whistle, guitar, mandolin, spoons, scrub-board and limberjacks.
  • Dan Barth will use his Medicine Show Wagon to tell the tales of special 19th century cure-all elixirs, and entertain with a little magic.
  • Dr. Jes?s F. de la Teja. former State Historian of Texas, and presently the Distinguished Professor of History at Texas State Univ. and a board member of the San Jacinto Museum, will present a talk on "Antonio Menchaca and Santa Anna: An Unlikely Encounter" at 12:30 and 1:30 in the Monument's theatre. Menchaca is one of the Tejano heroes of San Jacinto who had an encounter with Santa Anna following the general's capture the day after the battle.
    • 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.
    • Visitors can wander freely among the Mexican and Texian camps of the reactors to learn what the soldiers of that day were doing prior to the battle in 1836.
    • Texas Parks & Wildlife Department will offer archery classes for young people.
    • Visitors can also visit the restored marshlands and look for otters, great blue herons, osprey, mottled ducks and American avocets. The marsh is historically important because 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, as well as representatives from the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Independence Trail Region, 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.
    • For a slight charge, festival goers can view the Making a Mark, Leaving a Legacy exhibit in the Monument looks at the tools that have traditionally been used to make a mark, the people that have left a mark on our region, and the symbols that our predecessors used to convey important ideas and concepts.
    • Monument visitors 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 Making a Mark, Leaving a Legacy. Combo tickets for the elevator ride, the exhibit and movie can be purchased for $12 for adults, $10.50 for seniors, $8 for children.
    • Battleship TEXAS, the first battleship memorial museum in the U.S., is located in the park and open for visitors. Fees for the Battleship TEXAS are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for school and youth groups with a reservation, and free for children 12 and younger.

    The Children's Area, sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company and Deer Park ISD, includes:

    • A 55' train complete with train whistle and Texan and American flags.
    • Make-and-take history activities and crafts created by Gifted/Talented specialists from Deer Park ISD; overseen by volunteer teachers from DPISD and student volunteers from San Jacinto College.
    • The Houston ZooMobile with animals native to Texas, interesting demonstrations and nature games.
    • Marsha's Petting Zoo with sheep, goats and other friendly small animals.
    • In the military camps, 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.

    "For the Texans, their victory at San Jacinto led to Texas' annexation into the United States," says Robert B. Hixon, Chairman of the Board, San Jacinto Museum. "In the end, the United States would gain not only Texas but also New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. It is easy to understand why the Battle of San Jacinto is recognized as one of the top ten battles of the world to change history."

    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 three miles.

    Tips to further enjoy the 2012 festival:

    • Do not take the ferry on IH-10; because there is only one ferry working right now, the wait is long.
    • Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets for comfortable viewing of the battle reenactment.
    • Visitors should park at the first parking lot they come to and take the shuttle to the festival grounds; buses will stop at the farthest parking lots first, so those visitors will be first to board.
    DISCOUNTED LODGING: Discounted room rates of $70 per night are available during the festival weekend, for the nights of April 20 and/or 21, at Hampton Inn Deer Park. For reservations, call 281.930.9091 and mention San Jacinto Day. Breakfast buffet and internet included.

    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.


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