By Jeanne Albrecht
All Texans (natural born, and those that got here as soon as they could) are invited to a Texas-sized 179th birthday 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.
“Texas Independence Day Celebration” is an annual two-day celebration on Saturday, February 28 and Sunday, March 1, on the expansive 293-acre park grounds of the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site, between Brenham and Navasota. The birthday celebration features live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, firing demonstrations, historical encampments, and commemorative programs.
Guests will step back into history at this state park to experience life in Texas in 1836 by visiting with reenactors; witnessing firing demonstrations in the Texas Army camps; watching cooking, weaving and period craft demonstrations; and walking the same trail as Texas’ forefathers and pioneer families. Texas musicians will provide musical entertainment, including the Lone Star String Band 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 three attractions on the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site (WOB)—Independence Hall, Star of the Republic Museum, and Barrington Living History Farm—will feature special activities, and all admission and tour fees will be waived during the two-day celebration. Independence Hall, Barrington Living History Farm and the WOB Visitor Center are all administered by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; the Star of the Republic Museum is administered by Blinn College. Free bus shuttles will run throughout the park on Saturday and Sunday.
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, Texas Parks & 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 email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. For lodging information, 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.
WHAT Texas Independence Day Celebration Weekend
WHEN Saturday, February 28 and Sunday, March 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site, 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.
COST For the Texas Independence Day Celebration weekend, tour/admission fees are waived for the Star of the Republic Museum, Independence Hall and Barrington Living History Farm. Parking and shuttle are free.