Witness The Largest Battle Reenactment in Texas at the 2019 San Jacinto Day Festival April 13 at San Jacinto Monument
Gen. Santa Anna and Sam Houston come to life during celebration marking 183rd anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto and Texas’ independence from Mexico
When the salvos are fired between the Mexican army and Texas militia that ignites the Battle of San Jacinto, spectators of the largest battle reenactment in the Lone Star State can expect to see General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his soldiers entangled in a fierce skirmish and a fight for Texas independence led by Sam Houston and his forces, complete with pyrotechnics, artillery, cavalry on horseback and more than 250 reenactors assembled on the battlefield.
However, coordinating such a large-scale recreation of the decisive April 21, 1836, battle – in which Sam Houston and 935 of his men soundly defeated Santa Anna and approximately 1,500 of his soldiers that ultimately led to Texas’ independence – is no easy feat.
“It’s impossible to have a dress rehearsal,” said Jerry Tubbs, who for the past 17 years has taken on the challenging task of coordinating the intricate battle reenactment to ensure that all the moving parts, or, rather, reenactors sync together to relive a pivotal moment in history that attendees have come to expect each year. “The volunteer commanders on both sides have an officers’ call around noon and walk the field with a script. We go over the movements and when to move here and when to move there.
“During the reenactment, a narrator tells the story over the PA system, describing to the public what they’re witnessing. He’s basically giving a blow-by-blow summary. While he’s doing that, the person in charge of the field movements is also reading the script and tells the commanders through radio communication to get ready to execute specific movements,” Tubbs said.
The dramatic reenactment of the Battle of San Jacinto is the focus of the 2019 San Jacinto Day Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 13, on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument, One Monument Circle in La Porte, 77571. Admission is free.
Visitors can wander freely among the Mexican camp to learn what those soldiers and their families were doing prior to the battle. They can also speak to militia from the Texian camps, who did not have families with them, as well as those in a civilian camp (runaway scrape). At 3 p.m., the official (and historically accurate!) reenactment of the Battle of San Jacinto begins. With hundreds of history reenactors, this reenactment is the largest in the southwest United States.
Sponsored by the San Jacinto Museum of History Association, the festival is a full day of entertainment, food, family activities, cultural exhibits, games and fun set amidst living history: music and dancing on three stages featuring country-western bands, Zydeco music, flamenco dancers, Native American presentations, square dancers and much more; 15-plus food vendors; make-and-take activities and crafts for children; petting zoo; medicine wagon show; birds of prey; weavers, spinners, blacksmiths and other demonstrators; and dozens of unique hand-crafted items for sale. All festival activities are updated regularly on the San Jacinto Museum of History website at www.sanjacinto-museum.org and facebook.com/sjbattlereenactment.
Parking will be $10 cash per vehicle and will be provided at several lots along Independence Parkway open for the general public. Disabled parking is available at the Battleship Texas parking lot (disabled placard or license plate required) at 3523 Independence Pkwy, La Porte, TX 77571. Only VIPs and Media with passes will be allowed to park at the Monument. A map of parking lots will be posted as the event comes closer. Free shuttles will be running between the lots and the festival from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
For the convenience of out-of-town guests, hotels in the neighboring city of Deer Park are offering discounted lodging during the event. Visit www.deerparktx.org/1751/Tourism for links to each of the hotel properties such as the Hampton Inn. Mention the Stay in Deer Park program for associated discount offers.
Sponsors of the San Jacinto Day Festival are H-E-B, City of Deer Park, Pasadena Strawberry Festival, Dow Chemical and City of La Porte. Partners include Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Hampton Inn Deer Park and the volunteers from San Jacinto College, Deer Park ISD, Clean Harbors, and La Porte EMS.
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.
Inside the Monument, there are modest admission fees for the elevator ride, movie and the special exhibit entitled “Big Energy: A Texas Tale of People Powering Progress” that explores the history of Shell and Deer Park and their impact on making the community the energy hub it is today. For more information, the public may visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org and Facebook or call (281) 479-2421.
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.
The largest battle reenactment in the southwest is the centerpiece of the admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 13, on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument at One Monument Circle, La Porte, TX 77571. The festival is a full day of entertainment from three stages, rides, vendors, food, family activities, animals, cultural exhibitors, children’s games and fun set amidst living history, paying tribute to the decisive Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, where Texas won its independence from Mexico 183 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. For more information, visit www.sanjacinto-museum.org, facebook.com/sjbattlereenactment or call (281) 479-2421.
Rudy Arispe: 210.438.2088
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