Courtesy of Washington on the Brazos
All Texans (natural born, and those that got here as soon as they could) are invited to a Texas-sized 181st 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 Department, Blinn College, and Washington on the Brazos State Park Association — are planning this Texas-sized celebration.
“Texas Independence Day Celebration” is an annual two-day celebration from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, 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, cannon and musket firing lines, historical encampments, and commemorative programs so guests can experience life in Texas in 1836. Reenactors from across the state set up a bona fide 1836 Texas Army camp where visitors can wander freely Saturday and Sunday around the camp to learn how the soldiers and their families lived in 1836.
Admission fees are waived for the site’s attractions during the TIDC weekend celebration. Admission to the grounds, on-site shuttles, and parking are also free.
Special guests and entertainment throughout the weekend include Texas A&M University Singing Cadets, 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 who 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 take photos near the Declaration.
The Star of the Republic Museum at Washington on the Brazos will celebrate the 181st anniversary with its new exhibit, “Heirloom Genealogy: Tracing your Family Treasures,” beginning March 4 and continuing through Feb. 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 Tiemann’s clog-making tools, and Clara Lang’s grand piano, among others.
The Star of Texas Dulcimers will entertain visitors in the Museum’s theater with performances of American folk music. The Museum will also feature demonstrators showcasing period skills such as quilting, hand knitting, and tatting.
Keynote speaker Judge Ken Wise will speak on Sunday, March 5. A native Houstonian and fifth
generation Texan, Judge Wise sits on the Texas 14th Court of Appeals, is an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center, and writes/records a Texas history podcast called “Wise About Texas.”