TPWD News Release — April 16, 2007
LAPORTE, Texas — The San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-enactment on Saturday, April 21, marks the 171st anniversary of Texas’ famous Battle of San Jacinto and the enduring spirit of the nation of Texas that was born that day. This year’s celebration takes on additional importance because it is the 100-year anniversary of the designation of San Jacinto Battleground as the first Texas state park.
The admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site at the San Jacinto Monument, with a full day of music, entertainment, food, games and fun set amidst living history.
The battle re-enactment, one of the largest in the state, draws the most onlookers. The battle begins at 3 p.m. with thundering cannons and muskets, galloping horses, pyrotechnics and hundreds of re-enactors.
The costumed re-enactors replicate the Runaway Scrape (Texans gathering the few belongings they could to flee the advancing forces of Santa Anna,) the march of the Texas army from Gonzales to San Jacinto, the cannon duel, and the final battle between the two forces. The re-enactment ends with the surrender of Mexican Army Gen. Santa Anna to Texan Army Gen. Sam Houston, followed by the laying of wreaths to honor the sacrifices of both armies.
The Battle of San Jacinto, which lasted only 18 minutes, is truly one of the most important battles of American history. On April 21, 1836, Houston led his Texan soldiers to victory over the Mexican Army, officially securing Texas’ independence from Mexico and eventually leading to the addition of one million square miles to the United States.
The San Jacinto Day Festival begins at 10 a.m. with the official State of Texas ceremony on the steps of the San Jacinto Monument. Congressman Ted Poe will address the crowd. Ron Stone will serve as the master of ceremonies.
The observance includes a reading of General Houston’s battle report and the laying of a wreath in honor of those who fought at San Jacinto. The West Houston-Katy Children’s Choir—a professional, non-profit community choir of over 40 children from the 3rd to 8th grades—will sing patriotic songs; historic re-enactors in period dress will act as honor guards and fire a gun salute.
Instead of 1836 fare such as possum and cornmeal mush, the Texas-style food and beverages offered for sale will be more pleasing to today’s palates. Sutlers (civilians who sold provisions to military posts) will be on hand to sell or show their wares. Unique hand-crafted items by artists such as basket weavers and ironsmiths will be demonstrated and sold.
The festival celebrates this special day in Texas history with entertaining and educational activities, all of which are free:
The admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival takes place at the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site at One Monument Circle, La Porte, just 22 miles east of downtown Houston. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets to the festival and reenactment.
“This event would not happen if it weren’t for the hundreds of volunteers that return every year to bring this celebration alive,” says San Jacinto Museum President Larry Spasic. “The re-enactors come out days in advance to set up camp, traveling from throughout the state—and even across the ocean! We especially appreciate H-E-B, Rohm and Haas Texas Inc. and the San Jacinto Day Foundation, who support us financially and with volunteers.”
Other sponsors of the event include TPWD, the San Jacinto Museum of History Association and The San Jacinto Volunteers. Presenting Sponsor is H-E-B Tournament of Champions.
Visitors enjoy free admission to the festival, ceremony, re-enactment and museum. For a modest fee, festival goers can take the famous 489-foot elevator ride to the top of the San Jacinto Monument, enjoy the digital presentation Texas Forever!: The Battle of San Jacinto, and tour the museum’s new exhibit: Drawn from Experience: Landmark Maps of Texas at the San Jacinto Museum of History. This exhibit features a unique collection of antique and modern maps of Texas and the Gulf Coast Region from the 16th century to the present and runs through March 2008.
Combo tickets for all three activities can be purchased: $12 for adults, $8 for children, $10.50 for seniors and $4 for school groups. Fees for the Battleship TEXAS are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for school and youth groups with a reservation. Children 12 and younger are free.
For more information about the San Jacinto Museum of History or the San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Re-enactment, please call (281) 479-2421. For additional information on the Battleship TEXAS, please contact TPWD at (281) 479-2431. The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, located just minutes away from downtown Houston, can be reached by taking Highway 225 east and heading north three miles on Battleground Road.
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