San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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May 13th, 2008
16th Annual Texas Natural and Western Swing Festival

Mark your calendars for this Saturday, May 17th, so you can attend the 16th Annual Texas Natural and Western Swing Festivals. There will be events all day Saturday from 10:00am to 5:30pm on the Hays County Courthouse Square and from 7:30 pm to Midnight at San Marcos Plaza by the river.

Kelly Franks, San Marcos Main Street Director, explained that the Texas Natural Festival on the Square will be divided into three areas. The Heritage area (at the corner of Guadalupe and San Antonio Streets) will feature Terry’s Texas Rangers portraying Rangers from the 1800s, historical crafters demonstrating and selling different items from such crafts as blacksmithing and quilting, and Chuck Wagon Cook Gerry Self with his two chuck wagons exhibiting his historic cooking equipment and demonstrating Dutch oven cooking. Keep an eye out for his peach cobbler – you might get a free sample.:-)

Also on hand in the Heritage Area will be a children’s art booth, roping, and booths from the LBJ Museum of San Marcos and the Calaboose African-American History Museum. As part of the Heritage Area (nearer the corner of Guadalupe and
Hopkins Streets), there will be washer pitching competitions and free mule wagon rides at the corner of San Antonio and LBJ.

The Texas Marketplace welcomes you at the corner of LBJ and San Antonio Streets. Many vendors will be selling Texas made merchandise such as jewelry, woodcrafts, children’s clothes and ceramics. The marketplace this year is highlighting San Marcos Artists who will be displaying their work for sale. Check it out. You’ll probably find some great gifts.

A live music and food area is the third leg of the Texas Natural festival and it’s at the corner of Hopkins and LBJ streets. This corner near the Jack C. Hays statue, will feature free live music performances by such groups as Still Swinging, the Brazos Valley Boys, a Tribute to the Fiddle, (I’m not kidding), and not one but two Texas Playboys reunions. Also in this
area of the square check out the six food booths including ones for kettle corn, soft drinks, Tex-Mex, hamburgers, home made guacamole, and a special candy booth for children. Also, don’t forget the many restaurants around and near the square when you and your family gets hungry.

Saturday evening, be ready for the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame Show at San Marcos Plaza park next to the river. The Show is celebrating its 20th anniversary overall and its 16th anniversary with our river city (thanks in part to then County Judge Eddy Etheredge) Saturday night. Al Dressen, President of the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame organization notes that Texas Swing is the only musical genre that has originated in Texas and it combines country and
jazz music. The Hall of fame organization arranges both the music during the day on the square and the Saturday evening Hall of Fame Show.

Before the show, there will be an all-you-can-eat catfish dinner at the San Marcos Plaza also. To buy catfish dinner tickets ($12 per ticket) please call the San Marcos Main Street Office (202 East Hopkins Street) at 393-8430 or the Greater San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce (202 North C.M. Allen Parkway) at 393-5900.

The Hall of Fame Show, from 7:30pm to Midnight, will be held at the plaza on the big stage by the river. There will be limited food and drink booths, including ice cream and San Marcos Police Academy Alumni will be selling Dutch oven peach cobbler. The show is free but bring your own lawn chair or you will be sitting on the lawn. Limited Reserve Table Seating is still available. Call the Main Street Office at 393-8430 to make your reservations.

Musicians preforming at the Texas Swing Show will include Johnny Gamble and Playboys II, Johnny Gamble and Elana James (the latter formerly with Hot Club of Cowtown), and the Hall of Fame Band. Special guest musicians performing with the band include Johnny Cuviello (drums), Casey Dickens (drums), and Skeeter Elkins (piano).

A highlight of the show is the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The 2008 Texas Swing Hall of Fame Inductees are Maurice Anderson, Billy Bowman, Buddy Ferguson, Jim Gough, Tommy Howser, Ora Oubre, Louis Tierney, and Mancel Tierney.

Very important to note is that there is free parking and free shuttle service to all events from Strahan parking lot at Aquarena Springs and Charles Austin Drives.

Kelly Franks noted that both the Texas Natural Festival and the Hall of Fame festival draws a diverse crowd. Last year, seven states and Canada were represented by attendees. Franks encouraged San Marcans to attend the festivals saying “Any fan of Texas Swing would love to hear these musical giants. The Texas Natural and the Hall of Fame Festivals provide great times and great memories for our families.”

By ED MIHALKANIN, Ph. D
Correspondent

Photos courtesy of http://www.ci.san-marcos.tx.us/index.html

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