MERCURY GRAPHIC by BRAD ROLLINS
MAP by GOOGLE MAPS
by PAT MURDOCK
If you can’t wait to get your 4th of July fireworks fix, firm up plans now to head to San Marcos Plaza Park for the 28th annual San Marcos Summerfest, which will open in its new venue at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 4.
With fireworks bans established in Hays and surrounding counties, the upgraded 9:30 p.m. fireworks exhibition offers a great alternative to the much more dangerous “do it yourself” fireworks firing. The fireworks will be staged from the parking lot on the west side of Bobcat Stadium on the Texas State University-San Marcos campus. Plus, with the park located so close to the San Marcos River, you can always cool off before leaning back to watch the show.
For the past several years, the fireworks show has been a gift to the citizens of San Marcos from the city’s mayor and city council, who added the fireworks support to the city’s annual budget.
And, naturally, there will indeed be music, food and children’s events and a patriotic program to help you pass the time at Summerfest. Key event times include the annual Children’s Parade and Patriotic Costume Contest at 5 p.m., followed by the patriotic program at 5:15 p.m. The program will end with a patriotic community sing-a-along.
Opening the musical entertainment at 4 p.m., Alton Rex and the Crabby Grass Boys will be making their fourth Summerfest appearance. Labeling their sound “old time family music,” the group’s music is a combination of bluegrass and country, with a health dose of Cajun blues and some traditional Mexican songs.
San Marcos native David Ybarra and his LA Blues Band will take the Summerfest stage at 6:15 p.m., immediately following the Patriotic Program. Ybarra, who plays saxophone, has played at Summerfest with one band or another since the early 1980s.
Jazz, pop, blues, rock, even a smidgen of country – Ybarra and the LA Blues Band can play it all, and they do. The band’s lead vocalist, Bruce Banks, will be featured in the patriotic program and will help veteran Summerfest co-emcee Earl Moseley lead the community sing-a-long. Moseley’s co-emcee is Peter Baen, who will take over the mike as soon as the patriotic program is over.
The high-energy, all-age-appeal Austin band JUMPSTART, will feature a variety of genres, with both popular covers and enticing originals, when it takes the stage at 8 p.m., leading up to the fireworks exhibition. After the fireworks, the local band Trio-Faze, which plays a mix of original rock, soul and blues, will play a little music to get the crowd ready for their departure.
The community-wide Independence Day festival capitalizes on its scenic San Marcos River setting. There is no charge for admission.
Summerfest is made possible by a partnership between the City of San Marcos , the San Marcos Noon Lions Club and a host of corporations, organizations and individuals. In addition to the Lions Club, major sponsors include Time Warner Cable, San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau, Frost Bank, Allied Waste, Tanger Outlet Center , Goodrich Industries, Pecan Park Campground and Prime Outlets-San Marcos.
After enjoying more than two decades of mostly dazzling weather at the university’s Sewell Park , Texas ’ unpredictable weather began taunting the outdoor festival in earnest a few years ago. The result was to move the event to a new venue this year. San Marcos Plaza Park , has a large permanent stage, more pavement and is better suited for both uncertain weather and large crowds. It is the permanent home of San Marcos ’ Sights and Sounds of Christmas, which attracts thousands of people the first weekend of December each year.
Stepping forward to serve as co-general chairs of Summerfest 2008 were San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department staffer Lisa Morris and San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau Director Rebecca Ybarra-Ramirez, both longtime Summerfest supporters, who are co-chairing this year’s event.
For more information about Summerfest, call the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department at 512-393-8400.