Celebrate 179 Years of Texas Independence on Feb. 28, March 1

Celebrate 179 Years of Texas Independence on Feb. 28, March 1

All Texans – natural born or adopted alike – are invited to the annual Texas-sized birthday celebration at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site at the exact spot where the Republic of Texas was born 179 years ago. The Texas Independence Day Celebration will take place on Saturday, Feb. 28 and Sunday, March 1.The state historic site will host the weekend celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on its expansive, 293-acre park grounds located between Brenham and Navasota, less than 90 minutes from Houston. It was here on the banks of the Brazos River that 59 delegates bravely met on March 2, 1836 in an unfinished frame building to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. The Republic of Texas existed as a separate nation from 1836 to 1846.

The two-day birthday bash features live music, traditional crafts, living history presentations, firing demonstrations, historical encampments, commemorative programs and a keynote address by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Sunday. There will be no park entrance or parking fees. Vendors selling a variety of festival foods will be on site. Visitors can bring picnics and are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs, however, state park rules apply and alcohol is prohibited.

This year, several 7th grade students will be selected to lay a wreath at the site’s “Texas Independence Monument” next to Independence Hall on Saturday morning to kick off the programs. The students were chosen based on a Texas-related written essay.

Guests will step back into history at the two-day event to experience life in Texas in 1836 by visiting with re-enactors; witnessing firing demonstrations in the Texas Army camps; viewing demonstrations of cooking, weaving and period crafts; and walking the same trail as Texas’ forefathers and pioneer families. Texas musicians will provide musical entertainment, including the North Harris County Dulcimers, the Lone Star String Band, which plays old-time music and “old fiddle tunes and songs,” the Star of Texas Dulcimers, and the Great American Medicine Show featuring Professor Farquar and his “historic narratives, comic chronicles, tall tales, unabashed balderdash and the greatest songs of the 19th century.”

The featured exhibit at the Star of the Republic Museum—Enduring Spirit: African Americans in 19th Century Texas—opens on Feb. 1 and runs for a year. Artifacts on display will include typical documents of the period such as slave records, freedmen contracts and an oath of allegiance. Stoneware pottery made at the Wilson Pottery near Seguin, the first African-American business in Texas, will be exhibited as well as an example of the intricate and difficult Pine Burr pattern quilt.

The state historic site includes three attractions: Independence Hall, Star of the Republic Museum, and Barrington Living History Farm) that will feature special activities during the two-day celebration. Admission fees for the museum and farm will be waived during the birthday celebration. Independence Hall is always open free of charge, however, visitors pay a modest fee for a guided program. Free bus shuttles will run throughout the park on Saturday and Sunday, as well as from the city of Navasota to park grounds.

This event is made possible by ExxonMobil, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op, the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, the City of Brenham, the City of Navasota, Brenham/Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Blinn College, KTEX 106 Sounds Like Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Washington on the Brazos State Park Association.

More detailed information on the weekend’s festivities will be continually updated at www.wheretexasbecametexas.org. The public can also call (936) 878-2214 or e-mailoffice@wheretexasbecametexas.org for more information. For lodging information, please contact the Brenham Visitor Center at www.visitbrenhamtexas.com/ or 1-888-BRENHAM, or the City of Navasota at 936-825-7055 or www.navasotatx.gov.