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April 5, 2004
San Jacinto Day Festival, Battle Re-Enactment Will Be April 24
LA PORTE, Texas — More than 10,000 Texans and others are expected to gather at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site on April 24 to celebrate the brief but decisive battle that brought Texas its independence from Mexico.
This year marks the 168th anniversary of Gen. Sam Houston’s Texan troops’ victory over the Mexican army under the command of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna on April 21, 1836.
The festival is free and lasts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. At 3 p.m. April 24, more than 200 re-enactors will dramatize the victory of the roughly 800 Texans under the leadership of Houston over the 1,200-strong Mexican forces attempting to quell their rebellion. Amidst the burst of cannon and musket fire, Texan forces will charge across the field toward the Mexican camp during the re-enactment of an engagement that Gen. Houston reported lasted only 18 minutes. Many of the "soldiers" are living historians and re-enactors who participated in the filming of the just-released Disney movie, "The Alamo," as well as two recent History Channel programs focusing on the Texas Revolution.
Some of the highlights of this year’s San Jacinto Day Festival will be Armand Bayou children’s games, Houston Archeology Society’s mock archeological dig, Sam Houston Museum’s Raven Rangers and guided tours of the restored marshlands. This year marks the first time the festival will offer hands-on history activities for children, such as the making of cornhusk dolls and pioneer vests, and playing of 1830s games.
Living history exhibits open at 10 a.m. Saturday, providing visitors the opportunity to wander throughout the Mexican and Texan camps to learn about what members of both armies were doing before the battle and what their life was like on a daily basis. Women and children in period clothing will demonstrate the hardships experienced by those who, with their husbands and fathers at war, were forced to flee advancing forces of Gen. Santa Anna in what became known as the Runaway Scrape.
Texas-style foods and beverages will be offered for sale at the park. K. R. Woods and the Fathers of Texas Band will provide period musical entertainment. Parking is available, with shuttle buses transporting park visitors from designated areas throughout the day.
The San Jacinto Museum of History invites park visitors to visit and view its collection of Texas Revolution artifacts that provide insight into early Texas history and attend hourly screenings of the theater show which vividly outlines the events leading up to and the Battle of San Jacinto. In addition, the museum will feature several authors and experts on the Texas Revolution who will be making presentations every half hour throughout the day.
Admission to the San Jacinto Day Festival — the San Jacinto Museum, the re-enactment, the nature boardwalk and the 1,200-acre park — is free. Nominal fees are charged for elevator rides to the top of the San Jacinto Monument and screenings of "Texas Forever!! The Battle of San Jacinto!"
On San Jacinto day at 11a.m., April 21, TV personality Ron Stone will emcee at a small ceremony at the San Jacinto Monument marking the actual battle anniversary. The Battleship Texas Foundation will have a brief ceremony aboard the Battleship Texas at 10:45 a.m. to recognize 56 years of being moored at San Jacinto Battleground.
San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located 22 miles east of Houston. For information and directions to the park, call (281) 479-2431. For information about the San Jacinto Museum of History and San Jacinto Day Festival events, telephone (281) 479-2421.
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