Celebration at Washington on the Brazos State Historic Park Honors Texas History

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Two-day festival offers fun, history, music, gunfire (fake), Texas Aggie Band and more

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"The birthday celebration features live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, historical encampments and commemorative programs so guests can experience life in Texas in 1836."

All Texans (natural born, and those that got here as soon as possible) are invited to a Texas-sized 181th anniversary celebration on the very spot “Where Texas Became Texas”— Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site. It was March 2, 1836 when 59 delegates bravely met at Washington, Texas to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico. From 1836 until 1846, the Republic of Texas proudly existed as a separate nation.

To commemorate this anniversary of Texas Independence, the three entities that administer and support this site—Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept (TPWD), Blinn College and Washington on the Brazos State Park Association—are planning some Texas-sized celebrations.

“Texas Independence Day Celebration” (TIDC) is an annual two-day celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5, 2017 on the expansive 293-acre park grounds and its three incredible attractions: Independence Hall (replica of the site where representatives wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence); Star of the Republic Museum (collections and programs honoring history of early Texans, administered by Blinn College); and Barrington Living History Farm (where interpreters dress, work and farm as did the original residents of this homestead). The birthday celebration features live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, historical encampments and commemorative programs so guests can experience life in Texas in 1836.

Admission fees are waived for the site’s attractions (Independence Hall, Star of the Republic Museum, and Barrington Living History Farm) during the TIDC weekend celebration. Admission to the grounds, on-site shuttles and parking are available at no charge.

Some special guests and entertainment throughout the weekend days, including Texas A&M University Singing Cadets; the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band has been invited; a historical play titled “The Birth of a Republic” about the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence; family reunions of the descendants of the 59 men who signed the Declaration; wreath laying ceremony at the Children’s Monument; demonstrators and musicians will bring old time music and crafts and additional historical reenactments. A Kids History Zone will allow children to dress up in historical costumes; sign a large scale copy of the Declaration; and takes photos near the Declaration. The Museum’s new Pioneer Playroom simulates a Texas frontier homestead, with inside and outside features. It allows children to immerse themselves in the role of pioneers through role-playing, interactive experiences and a variety of learning styles such as loading a covered wagon; dressing in period clothing; or building a log cabin.

The Star of the Republic Museum at WOB will celebrate the181th anniversary with its new exhibit, “Heirloom Genealogy: Tracing your Family Treasures,” beginning March 4, 2017, and continuing through February 15, 2018. Stories will come to light as artifacts are examined in-depth through lineage research. Documents reveal where the artifacts originated, who owned them, and how they got to Texas. Items in the exhibit include three year-old Edward Boylan’s buckskin suit; Pleasant B. Watson’s diary; Heinrich Riemann’s clog-making tools; and Clara Lang’s grand piano, among others.

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site:

This TPWD-run state park has many onsite amenities open daily, as well as an incredible schedule of events and programs. On-site attractions include Independence Hall; the Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington Living History Farm. The site’s Visitor Center features interactive exhibits which present a timeline of the Texas Revolution and highlight the historic attractions located within the park; it also houses the spacious Washington Emporium Gift Shop, which offers snacks and a wide range of Texas-themed items and keepsakes. The Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site is an authentically preserved example of a 19th century stagecoach inn, located nearby in Anderson, TX. There is never a charge for entrance to the park grounds, Visitor Center nor parking.

The Park: The expansive park grounds along the Brazos River also provide a beautiful setting for picnicking, sightseeing and bird watching, as well as four geocaching sites—two each from TPWD and the Brenham/Washington County Chamber and CVB. It also features a Conference Center for meetings, weddings and reunions. The Education Center with two classroom-style spaces accommodate smaller groups. An outdoor amphitheater and two pavilions are also available for rent.

Park Association membership levels are available for individuals, families and businesses and include complimentary admission to the Site’s attractions for a year, including—for some levels—private parties during the park’s special celebrations.

TIDC is made possible by ExxonMobil, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op, The Arts Council of the Brazos Valley, The City of Brenham, The City of Navasota, Blinn College, KTEX 106 Sounds Like Texas, KWHI 1280, Travis and Tim Bryan from The Bank & Trust of Bryan/College Station, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Washington on the Brazos State Park Association.

Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site is located on the Brazos River at the original townsite of Washington, Texas, a major political and commercial center in early Texas.  It is located at 23400 Park Road 12, Washington, TX, 77880—approximately halfway between Brenham and Navasota, off of State Hwy. 105. From Hwy. 105, follow either FM 912 or FM 1155 to Park Road 12. 

Updates on all WOB festivities, including TIDC, are continually posted at http://www.wheretexasbecametexas.org; the public can contact office(at)wheretexasbecametexas(dot)org or (936) 878-2214 for more information.

Media Contact:
Jeanne Albrecht, PR Coordinator
(Please email or call for photos, videos, advance interviews, etc.)

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