San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 1st, 2009
The Weekend: Cheers for Cinco de Mayo

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

On May 3, Pete Seeger will turn 90 years old. If you are too young to remember his band, The Weavers, you are at least old enough to remember Seeger’s amazingly spry and peppy step as he bounded up to the stage to sing for President Obama’s inauguration, when he proceeded to sing his pal Woody Guthrie’s full version of “This Land is Your Land” with an admiring Bruce Springsteen.

Seeger is a pacifist who served in WWII and fought his whole good-tempered life for labor rights, anti-discrimination laws, freedom of speech and peace. He built his own house and still chops his own wood. Whatever one may think of his politics, his life has been consistently about helping others and making music.

Seeger worked with many of the iconic folk singers of the 20th century, like Woody Guthrie, but he also invented the Long Neck Banjo and had custom-made twelve string guitars with triangular sound holes. His first big hit with the Weavers was a version of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene.”

Seeger co-wrote songs you are so familiar with you may not even consider that there was an author, so ingrained are they in our culture: “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” It was Seeger who popularized the spiritual “We Shall Overcome,” which he changed from the original “We Will Overcome,” because he felt “shall” sounded more certain and peaceable.

Ninety years is a long time to live and Pete Seeger’s life is hard to sum up in a few paragraphs, but one thing is certain: Whatever music you listen to on his birthday will be okay with him. Just listen to some, or better yet, sing along and let it enrich your life.

Here in San Marcos, we’ve got the music in us and around us, especially this weekend. Here are some highlights of a weekend packed full of good stuff.

Friday, May 1

The Viva Cinco De Mayo Festival starts today at the Hays County Civic Center. Hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), this year marks the 35th anniversary of the two-day event. The foot booths open today at 6 p.m.

The heart of the celebration is the official statewide Menudo Cook-Off, where competitors will compete for cash prizes and trophies for the best version of the traditional Mexican dish. Menudo is a spicy, aromatic soup made of tripe, hominy and chile, which are stewed for hours with garlic and spices. It is said to stimulate the senses and clear the head. This is possibly why it is traditionally served on New Year’s Day as a hangover remedy. Many Menudo recipes have been handed down for generations. Spectators will be allowed to sample all the menudo they can handle at no charge.

Other festivities include Tejano and Mariachi music, food vendors, carnival rides, a Little Miss Cinco De Mayo pageant, ballet folkloric and much more.

Texas State baseball team plays the first of three games against Texas-San Antonio at fabulous Bobcat field tonight at 6:30 p.m. The remaining two games will be played in San Antonio. It’s always a good night in springtime Texas for a baseball game.

Might be a good evening to head over to the San Marcos Activity Center (501 West Hopkins) at 7:30 p.m. for JoyDance, a great way to get some exercise, release the week’s tension and limber up for the weekend’s many activities.

A Mind Divided is having its CD release party at the Triple Crown (206 N. Edward Gary) tonight. The band is joined by Perfect Pants and Elevated Living.

Saturday, May 2

You can help the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance with trail building today starting at 8 a.m. Contact the SMGA for further details by going to the website at www.smgreenbelt.org.

At 9 a.m. the Viva Cinco De Mayo parade will be passing through downtown. The doors open at the Civic Center at 9 a.m. for those who want to watch the cook-off. The Little Miss Cinco De Mayo Pageant starts at 2 p.m. and the cook-off winners will be announced at 4 p.m. Plenty of music, dancing and celebrating will be happening at the Hays County Civic Center, as well. Tickets for Saturday are only $2, which is quite a bargain for anything, let alone such a fun event.

Today “Something for the Sistas,” an all day workshop for girls, will be at the Boys & Girls Club of South Central Texas (400 Uhland Road). They will discuss dressing for success, interview skills, money management, and interpersonal relationships, just to name a few subjects. The workshop will go from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and costs $20 to attend.

It’s the first Saturday of the month, which means Kyle Market Day which is replete with produce, music, food and hand-crafted items. The market will be going from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Front Street between City Hall and the train depot.

Operation Medicine cabinet protects seniors, children and our community water resources by safely disposing of old, expired or no longer used medicines. The “drive-up and drop-off” event will be held at the San Marcos Police Department located at 2300 S. Interstate-35 and goes from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

The Historic Association of San Marcos Historic Homes Tour, a self-paced driving tour of seven historic homes built from the late 1800’s to present day construction, starts today at noon. Enjoy a leisurely weekend drive though springtime Texas Hill Country as you visit homes with outstanding interior and exterior elements.

Tickets for the tour are available at the following San Marcos locations: San Marcos Chamber of Commerce (202 N. C.M. Allen Parkway) and the Crystal River Inn (326 West Hopkins).

As refreshment amidst your touring, complimentary lemonade and cookies will be served on the front lawn of the President’s House at San Marcos Baptist Academy.

Plum Creek’s eighth Annual Front Porch days kicks off with a golf tournament early today at Plum Creek Golf Course and a garden tour at 10 a.m. Plum Creek is at Jack C. Hays Trail and Rebel Drive in Kyle.

The very first Taste of San Marcos will be held today at the Aquarena Center, located across from Bobcat Stadium, from noon to 4 p.m. The event blends local foods, beer and beverages, and four great bands, Fulton Read, the Wesley Lundsford Band, The Stand Outs and The All In Blues Band. Tickets are $5 at the door. Taste of San Marcos aims to raise awareness for the historic Aquarena Center, one of the nation’s finest sources for the study of water and water life.

You say you want even more music with a festival atmosphere? Okay, we live to serve.

The My Radio Festival, or MR Fest, starts at 11 a.m. in downtown San Marcos right smack dab after the Viva Cinco De Mayo parade. MR. Fest combines a diverse music line-up with a variety of local businesses serving as venues. The festival is free, and schedules will be provided for anyone who attends.

The festival starts with several indie folk bands at The Coffee Pot (129 East Hopkins), hard rock bands at Texas Skate and Classic Tattoo (267 North LBJ), local rock bands at Triple Crown, and the grand finale will take place at Bar 141 (141 East Hopkins, upstairs). Throughout the day, DJ’s will be spinning at Barfish (141 East Hopkins, downstairs), and a unicycle football game will be taking place on the square. Bar 141 will feature Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, who are extraordinarily full of funkalicious grooves. Highly recommended.

One would think that all this activity would be enough for the average person, but this is Texas and we don’t mess around with no wimpy, nuthin’-to-do weekends.

Wake the Dead Coffee House (1432 RR 12) presents the musical talents of Ryan McGillicuddy and Dying For More tonight. They make a mighty fine cup of Joe, too.

Rods at Riley’s welcomes all vehicles and their owners to participate in their hot-rod meet. It starts at 2 p.m. and food will be served at 4 p.m. for $8 a plate. The proceeds go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Chad Thomas and the Crazy Kings will be rockin’ the late afternoon and John Evans Band starts at 9 p.m.

Slaid Cleves, an Austin-based singer songwriter, has a voice that has been described as “packed with Texas trail dust.” What can one expect from Entertainment Weekly, a publication that should claim no authority on Texas trails, or even dust for that matter? Cleves’s voice is actually plaintive, compelling and clear. While his voice raises no thoughts of dust, his music can raise it up. He’s at the Cheatham Street Warehouse tonight at 9 p.m.

Sunday, May 3

The Historic Homes Tour Sunday brunch will be buffet style at the Price Senior Center (222 West San Antonio). Serving time is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and tickets are $35 per person. Their ultra-yummy menu includes Eggs Florentine, chicken, shrimp and artichoke casserole, white cake with pineapple filling and marshmallow frosting, and much, much more. Call (512) 392-7431 for reservations.

The Historic Homes tour continues today from noon to 5 p.m., so if you were busy music-ating (like medicating, only with music) yourself or chowing down prize-winning menudo yesterday, you can still take the drive and do the tour.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can pick up fresh fruits and veggies at Wake the Dead’s produce stand today.  Stay for a cuppa and let Bob Steine massage your cares away with his ever-popular chair massage from 4-8 p.m.

Plum Creek Front Porch Days heats up with a large line-up of music on two stages. The Kids Stage in front of the community center features the Bruce Curtis Band, Rockaroni and Cheese, The Hey Lollies and the ever-popular Biscuit Brothers. On the Cowboy Stage, at Fergus Park soccer fields, the line-up includes Lewis Moon Roch Motel, The Jeremy Miller Band, The Kyle Wayne Kutscher Band and Autumn.

There’s also a scout soapbox derby and a pie-baking contest with submission open to all. Just get your famous pie to the Plum Creek Community center between 11 a.m. and noon. Judging will start at noon.

The fun doesn’t stop there, though, with more events than you could shake a stick at, although why one would want to shake a stick at anything, we couldn’t say. Fergus Park will host face painting, inflatable games, the Jigglebug Express, a petting zoo, pony rides, a skate exhibition, a washer tournament, arts, crafts, laser tag and local vendor booths. Sounds like a great outing for the whole fam damily.

Parkinson’s is a disease that has affected many with its debilitating tremors and loss of muscular control. Today, Cheatham Street again opens its big-as-Texas heart and hosts a benefit for the Freddy Powers Parkinson’s Foundation. Freddy has written songs for Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, George Jones, Janie Fricke and more.

Powers holds many awards, including the Country Music Association’s Triple Play Award for writing three  No. 1 songs in one year. The event takes place between 4-8 p.m.

Of course, if you would just like to relax in an air conditioned theater, munch popcorn and be thrilled by awesome special effects, animation and, well, Hugh Jackman, there are two much anticipated movies hitting the cinemas this weekend. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (the fourth in the current X-Men franchise) and the animated Battle For Terra. Both movies promise to be eye-poppingly spectacular.

Or, you could tune up your guitar and sing a little song for Pete Seeger. He’d like that.

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