Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Texas Independence Festival Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, March 1–2, 2008

A free two-day festival on March 1-2 will celebrate the 172nd anniversary of Texas' declaration of independence from Mexico. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The annual event at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site commemorates the signing of the Texas' declaration by 59 men elected by citizens of each municipality in Texas, who convened here March 2, 1836, in a drafty, timber building atop a Brazos River bluff as war clouds loomed.

Members of the Texas Army, skilled craftsmen, talented musicians and costumed re-enactors, portraying such Texian heroes as Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Anson Jones, will be on-hand at the 293-acre park to bring the Republic of Texas era to life.

"Washington-on-the-Brazos has seen many changes since independence was declared here in March 1836," said Bill Irwin, historic site superintendent. "Most recently, additional park staff has been hired to better tell Texas' story. As Texans, we are all proud to be involved in preserving our Texas heritage."

As in past years, highlighting the two-day festival will be a ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday featuring several Texas heroes and invited special guests and a performance of "Once Upon A Time in Texas" by Texas troubadour Brian Burns. The cutting of a Texas-sized birthday cake will follow.

Washington-on-the-Brazos features three attractions open year-round: Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington History Farm. All admission fees are waived during the festival weekend. Vendors will be selling food and drinks.

A new exhibit — "Audubon's Creations: His Texas Legacy" — will open Saturday at the Star of the Republic Museum. On display will be world-renowned artist John James Audubon's collection of mammal engravings, including the Texian Hare, Red Texan Wolf, Texan Skunk, which were drawn from specimens collected by Audubon and his party during their visits to Texas in the 1830s and 1840s.

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