San Jancinto Museum of History

2016 San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment

Celebration marks 180th Anniversary of San Jacinto Battle and Texas's Indpendence from Mexico

Houston, TX -- The largest battle reenactment in the state is the centerpiece of the admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival, to be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument.  The reenactment recreates the events leading up to Texas winning its independence from Mexico 180 years ago at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

Sponsored by the San Jacinto Museum of History Association, the festival is a full day of entertainment, vendors, food, family activities, cultural exhibits, games and fun set amidst living history: music and dancing on three stages featuring country-western bands, flamenco dancers, Native American presentations, square dancers and much more; 15+ food vendors; make-and-take activities and crafts for children; children's train; petting zoo; medicine wagon show; birds of prey; weavers, spinners, blacksmiths and other demonstrators; and dozens of unique hand-crafted items for sale.

Thanks to Presenting Sponsor H-E-B and major sponsors City of Deer Park, City of La Porte and Dow Chemical Company, the San Jacinto Museum of History Association is able to maintain this as an admission-free event for the festival's 12,000+ visitors. 

NEW THIS YEAR: Event parking will be in the Shell Contractor parking lot at 4400 Block Hwy 225, Deer Park, Texas, located on the north side of the feeder road of Pasadena Freeway (Hwy 225), between Tidal Road and Sam Houston Parkway (Beltway 8).  Free shuttles between the festival and this lot run from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm.  More information can be found at www.sanjacinto-museum.org/ or www.tpwd.texas.gov/calendar/san-jacinto-battleground/san-jacinto-festival-battle-reenactment/, or by calling 281.479.2421.  Disabled parking is available at the Battleship Texas parking lot (disabled placard or license plate required) at 3523 Independence Pkwy, La Porte, TX 77571.  Parking will not be allowed for visitors near the San Jacinto Monument, as in past years.  

The event is coordinated by the San Jacinto Museum of History Association with the assistance of Texas Parks & Wildlife and the San Jacinto Volunteers reenactors.

San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment

On Saturday, reenactors from across the state become figures in Texas history, for the day.  Visitors can wander freely among the Mexican and Texian camps to learn what the soldiers and their families were doing prior to the battle in 1836.  At 3 p.m., the official (and historically accurate!) reenactment of the Battle of San Jacinto begins.  With hundreds of history reenactors, this reenactment - complete with cannons, horses and pyrotechnics - is the largest in the southwest United States.  All festival activites are updated regularly on the San Jacinto Museum of History website at www.sanjacinto-museum.org.  Entertainment and educational activities scheduled include:

  • Baytown Nature Center and Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center are dedicated to increasing awareness, understanding and appreciation of wetlands, the environment, and cultural history through environmental education and environmental recreation.
  • Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl will perform a version of a Danza Azteca ceremony with a dozen dancers from around Texas dressed in colorful regalia, wearing headdresses with beautiful long feathers, and utilizing natural instruments to compose traditional rhythms for ceremonial dancing.  Through dance steps and drum beats, the dancers will honor generations of indigenous traditions.
  • Hill Country Jane is an acoustic quintet popular for its rollicking rhythms and upbeat country tunes.  The band garnered a loyal following while touring with contemporary country headliners such as Johnny Lee and Hal Ketchum, and continues to play its own brand of "home grown Texas music" across the state.
  • Irish Dancers from the Tew Academy of Irish Dance will share the thrilling teradition of Irish step dancing, a timeless art form characterized by rapid movements and remarkable body control.
  • J.R. "Jack" Edmondson is a celebrated historian, author, and reenactor.  An alumni of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Christian University, he is best known for his educational portrayal of the illustrious General Sam Houston.
  • Last Chance Forever, The Birds of Prey Conservancy will present interactive demonstrations of magnificent birds including hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.
  • K.R. Wood (Camp Cookie) will bring history to life through songs and tales with the Chuck Wagon of Texas History.  K.R. was recognized by the 75th Texas Legislature for keeping Texas history alive with his Fathers of Texas CD.
  • Texas Snakes is a fun and hands-on educational show of many different species of non-venomous indigenous snakes of Texas for the children to view and touch.  Emphasis is on teaching about the envirnment and how reptiles provide their part for the balance of nature.
  • "All Stars" Youth Banjo Band is made up of boys and girls from 6 to 17 years of age playing plectrum and 5-string banjos, ukuleles, mandolins, bass guitars, fiddles, keyboard and drums, as well as singers and dancers.  In addition to being musically entertaining, the band presents a program that is fun, heart-warming and inspirational.
  • Phydeaux's Flying Flea Circus and Wahoo Medicine Show will captivate the audience offering cures for all maladies at his Wahoo Medicine Show, and as Flea Meister for Phydeaux's Flying Flea Circus, putting his (invisible) fleas through their paces.
  • Representatives from the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (BSNM) will provide presentations dedicated to preserving the legacy and honor of the African-American soldier.
  • Charles Lara aka Black Beaver will reenact a Delaware Blanket Trader to teach festival goers about the Texas of the 1800s.
  • Exhibit of TPWD's popular Operation Game Thief, its wildlife crime-stoppers program offering rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction for a wildlife crime.  Begun in 1981 as a result of laws passed by the 67th Legislature to help curtail poaching, the program is highly successful.
  • North Harris County Dulcimer Society will provide musical entertainment throughout the day.
  • Amusements that will operate throughout the day includ camel rides and mechanical bull rides from Bronco Billy's Bucking Bulls.
  • Blacksmiths, weavers, spinners, and other demonstrators - including the popular Baytown Area Quilt Guild - will give visitors a full sense of how life was in the early 1800s.  Sutlers (civilians who sold provisions to military posts) will be on hand to sell or show their wares.
  • Texas Parks & Wildlife Department will offer archery classes for young people.
  • Visitors can also view the restored marshlands and look for otters, great blue herons, osprey, mottled ducks and American avocets.  The marsh is historically important because it barred the escape of many of General Santa Anna's troops during the 1836 battle.
  • Representatives of the San Jacinto Descentants, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the Sons of the Republic of Texas, the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Independence Trail Region will be on hand to share their history.
  • Texas Independence Square Dancers - square dancers from various groups throughout Texas - will demonstrate square dancing and give lessons.
  • Visitors can browse through the vendor area to admire unique hand-crafted items, Texas products and history-related items.

The Children's Area - sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company and Deer Park ISD - includes:

  • A 55' train complete with train whistle and Texan and American flags.
  • Make-and-take history activities and crafts created and overseen by Gifted/Talented specialists from Deer Park ISD.
  • Marsha's Petting Zoo with sheep, goats and other friendly small animals.

The San Jacinto Monument is open all day year round except for Thanksgiving Day, and December 24th and 25th.  Visitors can ride the elevator to the top for a panoramic view of the festivities, explore the special exhibit, watch a Texas history movie and tour the hundreds of museum pieces on display.  A prized Tryon flintlock muzzle-loaded musket from 1816 is on loan from native Texan Tom O'Neal, whose great, great, great, grandfather Samuel Watkins fought in the Republic of Texas army.  The musket will be on display for free until the end of 2021; there are as few as seven of this type of musket documented in the country.

There are modest admission fees for the elevator ride, movie and the special exhibit entitled "A Destined Conflict: The U.S. - Mexican War," located inside the Monument.  For more information, the public may visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org and Facebook, or call 281-479-2421.

Release Summary:

The largest battle reenactment in the southwest is the centerpiece of the admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival, held on Saturday, April 23, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument at One Monument Circle, La Porte, TX.  The festival is a full day of entertainment from two stages, rides, vendors, food, family activities, animals, cultural exhibitors, children's games and fun set amidst living history, playing tribute to the decisive Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, where Texas won its independence from Mexico 180 years ago.  Festival, park grounds, reenactment, parking, entrance to San Jacinto Monument and shuttles are free; there are modest admission fees for the elevator ride, movie and special exhibit inside the Monument.  Organizers recommend guests come early and follow directions from TPWD and other parking staff.  There will be no drones or hoverboards allowed on park/festival grounds.  For more information, visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org or call 281-479-2421. 

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