26th Annual Goliad Massacre 'Living History' Program at Famous Presidio La Bahia Landmark, March 26-27; 5,000 Visitors, 300+ Re-enactors Expected

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The 290-year-old Presidio La Bahia (Fort of the Bay) National Historic Landmark in Goliad, TX, will be the site March 26-27 for the 26th annual re-enactment of the "Goliad Massacre" -- a bloody chapter in the Texas Revolution that eventually led to its independence from Mexico 175 years ago. More than 300 re-enactors on both sides will stage colorful skirmishes and battles, encampments and cavalry charges filling the air with shouts, cannon blasts and black powder gun smoke for an estimated 5,000 visitors of all ages. Lectures will be held in the quaint Our Lady of Loreto Chapel, candlelight tours in the evening. On Sunday, the massacre -- some argue "execution" -- will be re-staged on one of the three 1836 sites, followed by a procession to the nearby Fannin Memorial for a service that includes taps and a 21-gun flintlock salute. Travelers will want to get their Passports to Texas History stamped and be eligible for awards and prizes during the 175th year of Texas Independence.

The Presidio in Goliad is in a pastoral hilltop setting beside the San Antonio River. It's a must-see destination on the Trail

The Crossroads of Texas Living History Assn. and the Presidio La Bahia (Fort of the Bay) National Historic Landmark in Goliad, TX, will reenact the occupation of the 290-year-old citadel by Col. James Fannin and the "massacre" of him and 341 of his men in and around the walled bastion on Saturday, March 26, and Sunday March 27.

The 26th Annual Living History event, complete with encampments by the early "Texians" and the "Mexican Army," attracts the general public as well as descendants on both sides of the revolutionary encounters, some of whom travel from distant states. (http://www.presidiolabahia.org/)

Schools send students. Boy and Girl Scout troops come on field trips. Parents bring their children to experience the colorful reenactment of a critical and violent chapter in the colony's quest for independence from Mexico and its historic march toward becoming the Republic of Texas.

On Saturday, authentic period cannons will blast away and muskets will fire as the armies skirmish and battle on foot and on horseback. Noise, gritos (cries) and black powder smoke will fill the air. Re-enactors on both sides, dressed in period costumes, will answer questions in their respective encampments, as they spin yarns, sing authentic songs and work on their gear.

Visitors also will have the opportunity to attend lectures in the 232-year-old Our Lady of Loreto Chapel, where debates on "massacre" versus "execution" will likely rise again, and to see a cavalry presentation in the nearby amphitheatre.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., candlelight tours will be conducted through the barracks, the Mexican officers' quarters and the impromptu "hospital" in the Chapel, where the wounded Texians are suffering. The visitors actually become part of the historic tableau, finally departing, knowing the fate of the Texians is only hours away. (Reservations required Photos and story at http://www.presidiolabahia.org/candlelight.htm.)

On Sunday, the death march begins inside the Presidio, proceeding to one of the locations where the massacre actually took place. The program will conclude with a Memorial Service that begins in the Chapel followed by a procession to the Fannin Memorial and a 21-musket salute.

Daily admission is $4 for ages 12-59; $3.50 for age 60 and up and $1for ages 6-11. Children five years old and younger are admitted free. There is an additional $2 per person fee for admission to the Candlelight Tour. A detailed schedule of activities is at (http://www.presidiolabahia.org/). For more information call 361-645-3752.

"Passport To Texas History" Attracts Travelers

Historic sites across Texas have created a way for visitors to re-live the events of the Texas Revolution by offering a "Passport to Texas History." Travelers can learn as they visit the sites where Sam Houston, Davy Crockett, James Fannin and Santa Anna made history.

Just like an official government passport, visitors can get their book stamped at each site they visit. Those who collect stamps from six designated sites by December 2011 receive a commemorative gift from the Texas Independence Trail Region and qualify for more extensive rewards including stays at historic lodging.

The sites include Gonzalez, San Felipe, San Antonio, San Jacinto, Washington-on-the-Brazos, La Porte and Goliad. For more information on these and other passport sites, as well as a state-wide Texas independence event calendar with its many historic re-enactments and memorials, visit http://www.txindependence175.org.

"The Presidio in Goliad is in a pastoral hilltop setting beside the San Antonio River. It's a must-see destination on the Trail," said Newton M. Warzecha, long-time Director of the Presidio.

"Our landmark, with its recently renovated museum, is one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial architecture in the country," Warzecha emphasized. "Although fully restored in the 1960s with funds from the Kathryn Stoner O'Connor Foundation, more than $500,000 and 3½ years work were required in an extensive effort to broaden the landmark's appeal and the compelling story of early Texas that it represents."

The fort has eight-foot stone walls, parapets, cannons, a bell tower containing two bells, a religious statue estimated at 300 years old, more than 150 artifacts on display, a unique Texas- version fresco of the Annunciation and "The (Officer's) Quarters," which can accommodate four persons for overnight stays.

"The first formal declaration of independence occurred in the quaint Our Lady of Loreto Chapel inside the fortress walls in October 1835," he proudly noted.

"The disastrous Battle of Coleto Creek (nearby), the surrender and subsequent massacre shocked U.S. citizens who came long distances to aid the Texians' and to take up the battle cries: 'Remember Goliad! Remember the Alamo!'" he explained.

"Now we hope they will come again -- joined by native Texans, Texans-by-choice and thousands of social studies students already scheduled for spring field trips -- to honor the heroes and the costly struggle that led to Texas' Independence 175 years ago."

NOTE TO EDITORS: Many more high-rez color digital images are on file and available on request to Kirk PR (see below). Media Members will be welcome as our guests at the two-day event, (but no lodging) and PRE-EVENT, ADVANCE VISITS are encouraged by TV crews and Travel Editors. -- PFK

Newton M. Warzecha, Director of Presidio La Bahia and President of The Presidio La Bahia Foundation, Goliad, TX, 361-645-3752, presidiolabahia(at)goliad(dot)net
Preston F. Kirk, APR, Kirk Public Relations, Spicewood, TX, 830-693-4447; kirkpf(at)verizon(dot)net

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Newton M. Warzecha, Director