The largest battle re-enactment in the Southwest highlights the annual San Jacinto Day Festival to be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 18, at San Jacinto Battlegrounds State Historic Site in La Porte.
The Battle of San Jacinto re-enactment features hundreds of history re-enactors — complete with cannons, horses, dogs, women, children and pyrotechnics – that recreates the events leading up to Texas winning its independence 179 years ago in a decisive defeat of Mexican troops under Gen. Santa Anna’s command on April 21, 1836. The admission-free festival held on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument, is coordinated by the San Jacinto Museum of History, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the San Jacinto Volunteers.
The battle re-enactment, which begins at 3 p.m., serves as the marquee event of the festival that also includes a variety of entertainment, vendors, food, family activities, cultural exhibitors, games and fun set amidst living history. The re-enactment dramatizes the cannon duel and decisive battle in which Gen. Sam Houston led his Texian army to victory over the Mexican army.
Festival guests can enjoy music and dancing on two stages featuring flamenco dancers, square dancers and much more; 15-plus food vendors; make-and-take activities and crafts for children; children’s train; petting zoo; medicine wagon show; birds of prey; weavers, spinners, blacksmiths and other demonstrators; and dozens of unique hand-crafted items for sale. New entertainment includes electric mechanical bull rides for kids, “All Stars” Youth Banjo Band, pony rides, and Amber & The Rascals playing country, rock, new country, Motown and music “from many decades.”
“We are so proud to continue to present this festival with free admission, free shuttles and free parking, which would not be possible without our presenting sponsor H-E-B, as well as The Dow Chemical Company, Vopak, Pasadena Strawberry Festival and Lyondell Basell,” says Larry Spasic, San Jacinto Museum of History president.
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:
- 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.
- Last Chance Forever, The Birds of Prey Conservancy will present interactive demonstrations of magnificent birds including hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.
- K.R. Wood (Camp Cookie) will bring history to life through songs and tales with the Chuck Wagon of Texas History, complete with Dutch oven demonstrations, samples, roping steer head demonstrations, stick horse relay races, and historical stories about the Texas Revolution and cattle drives
- Texas Snakes – a fun and hands-on educational show for all ages of many different species of non-venomous indigenous snakes of Texas for the children to view and touch.
- Representatives from the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (BSNM) will provide presentations dedicated to preserving the legacy and honor of the African-American soldier.
- Lord Stirling’s Fifes and Drums will provide musical entertainment throughout the day.
- Blacksmiths, sutlers, weavers, spinners and other demonstrators will give visitors a full sense of how life was in the early 1800s.
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department will offer archery classes for young people.
- Visitors can also view the restored marshlands, which in 1836 barred the escape of Mexican troops, and look for otters, great blue herons, osprey, mottled ducks and American avocets.
The Children’s Area 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.
- Marsha’s Petting Zoo with sheep, goats and other friendly small animals.
- Sandbox Dig created by the San Jacinto College.
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located just 22 miles east of downtown Houston. Take Highway 225 east to Independence Parkway north and continue for three miles.
For more information about the San Jacinto Museum of History or the San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-enactment, please call (281) 479-2421 or visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org.For more information on the historic site and the Battleship TEXAS, moored nearby, please contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at (281) 479-2431.