San Jancinto Museum of History

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San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment on April 20

Presented by H-E-B

Battle reenactment the largest in the state

Houston, TX — Booming cannons, cracking musket fire, thundering hooves and battle cries will resound across the San Jacinto Battleground on Saturday, April 20, as hundreds of history reenactors recreate the events leading up to Texas winning its independence at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. This year celebrates the 177th anniversary of Texas independence!

This dramatic battle reenactment is the centerpiece of the admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival, held on Saturday, April 20, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument. Sponsored by the San Jacinto Museum of HistoryTexas Parks & Wildlife and the San Jacinto Volunteers, the festival is a full day of music, entertainment, food, games and fun set amidst living history.

The battle reenactment, which is the most popular event of the day, begins at 3 p.m.  Presented by hundreds of members of the San Jacinto Volunteers and other living history organizations from across the state, the reenactment dramatizes the decisive battle where General Sam Houston led his Texian soldiers to victory over the Mexican Army eventually leading to almost one million square miles of Mexican territory becoming a part of the United States. The reenactors will dramatically interpret the Runaway Scrape (Texians fleeing from the advancing forces of Santa Anna), the cannon duel and the final battle between the two forces. 

"Presenting this living, dynamic reenactment of Texas history for free, would not be possible without our presenting sponsor H-E-B, as well as The Dow Chemical Company, Vopak, Pasadena Strawberry Festival, and LyondellBasell,” says Larry Spasic, San Jacinto Museum of History President. “Just as important are our partners who help us coordinate this event, including the volunteers from San Jacinto College, Deer Park ISD, Hampton Inn & Suites Deer Park, San Jacinto Volunteers and La Porte EMS.”

All festival activities are updated continually on the San Jacinto Museum of History website. Entertaining and educational activities scheduled include:

  • Solero Flamenco presents a “fiery, passionate and virtuoso flamenco performance,” led by founders Irma La Paloma and Jeremías García.
  • Last Chance Forever, The Birds of Prey Conservancy, shows its magnificent birds including hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.
  • Dan Barth will use his Medicine Show Wagon to tell the tales of special 19th century cure-all elixirs, and entertain with a little magic.
  • New this year: Mary L. Kelley Scheer—professor at Lamar University—will present a talk on “The Women at San Jacinto” at 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. in the Monument’s theatre. Mary L. Kelley Scheer authored The Foundation of Texan Philanthropy, co-edited Twentieth-Century Texas: A Social and Cultural History and is now working on a book entitled New Women Who Shaped Modern Texas.
  • New this year: Rocking T Chuck Wagon: Featured on a Food Network special from the Lincoln County Cowbow Symposium in Ruidoso, the Rocking T Chuck Wagon competes in chuck wagon events throughout Texas and the Southwest. The chuck wagon has been in the Tegeler family for almost 100 years and is now enjoyed by the fifth generation of the family.
  • Nonstop entertainment on the main stage with Galveston’s Brandon McDermott playing their brand of lively Texas/Red Dirt Music; the Lunar Rollers out of Austin playing Americana, rock and country; and San Jacinto Day Festival favorite Liz Talley & Texas Swing sharing their pure country, honkytonk and great Texas shuffle music.
  • The Celtaire String Band performs Americana period music using a variety of instruments including the fiddle, penny whistle, guitar, mandolin, spoons, scrub-board and limberjacks.
  • Blacksmiths, weavers, spinners, and other demonstrators 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.
  • Visitors can wander freely among the Mexican and Texian camps of the reenactors to learn what the soldiers of that day were doing prior to the battle in 1836.
  • Texas Parks & Wildlife Department will offer archery classes for young people.
  • Visitors can also visit 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.
  • Members of the San Jacinto Descendants, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Sons of the Republic of Texas, as well as representatives from 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.
  • Music from the North Harris County Dulcimer Society and the Celtaire String Band will entertain folks as they walk along the reflection pool.

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 by Gifted/Talented specialists from Deer Park ISD; overseen by volunteer teachers from DPISD and student volunteers from San Jacinto College.
  • Marsha's Petting Zoo with sheep, goats and other friendly small animals.
  • Archaeological Dig created by the San Jacinto College.
  • In the military camps, a few lucky children will be chosen to stand with the cannon crew and pretend to load the cannons; they will be presented with cannon soot to wear on their noses as a badge of honor.

Festival goers can also enjoy the attractions that are open year-round in the San Jacinto Monument or on the grounds of the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Bettleground State Historic Site, including:

  • The free lobby exhibit in the Monument which is now featuring “Measure This!” - an exhibit that features measurement systems that have historically been used in America and literally shaped everyday objects.
  • The famous 489-foot elevator ride to the top of the Monument; the digital presentation Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto; and the museum’s exhibit Making a Mark, Leaving a Legacy which looks at the tools that have traditionally been used to make a mark, the people that have left a mark on our region, and the symbols that our predecessors used to convey important ideas and concepts. Combo tickets for the elevator ride, the exhibit and movie can be purchased for $12 for adults, $10.50 for seniors, and $8 for children.
  • Battleship TEXAS, the first battleship memorial museum in the U.S., is located in the park and open for visitors. Fees for the Battleship TEXAS are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for school and youth groups with a reservation, and free for children 12 and younger.

Sponsors include H-E-B, The Dow Chemical Company, Vopak, Pasadena Strawberry Festival, CenterPoint Energy, Gulf States Toyota, LyondellBasell, San Jacinto Museum of History Association, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), San Jacinto College, Deer Park ISD, Hampton Inn & Suites Deer Park, San Jacinto Volunteers, Clean Harbors and La Porte EMS.

"For the Texans, their victory at San Jacinto led to Texas’ annexation into the United States,” says Robert B. Hixon, Chairman of the Board, San Jacinto Museum. “In the end, the United States would gain not only Texas but also New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. Most Texans, and dare I say most Houstonians, don’t realize that the Battle of San Jacinto is recognized as one of the top ten battles of the world to change history.”

The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located just 22 miles east of downtown Houston. Take Highway 225 east to Independence Parkway north and continue for three miles.

Tips to further enjoy the 2013 festival:

  • Do not take the ferry on I-10; because there is only one ferry working right now, the wait is long.
  • Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets for comfortable viewing of the battle reenactment.
  • Visitors should park at the first parking lot they come to and take the shuttle to the festival grounds; buses will stop at the farthest parking lots first, so those visitors will be first to board.

DISCOUNTED LODGING: Discounted room rates of $70 per night are available during the festival for the nights of April 19 and/or 20, at Hampton Inn Deer Park For reservations, call 281.930.9091 and mention San Jacinto Day. Breakfast buffet and internet included.  

For more information about the San Jacinto Museum of History or the San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment, please call 281.479.2421 or visit our website. For more information on the Battleship TEXAS, please contact the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department at 281.479.2431.

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NOTE: Media should contact Dianne Powell at 210-887-8777 for photos, advance interviews, media parking passes, etc.

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