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TPWD News Release — Feb. 10, 2009

Texas Independence Day Celebration Slated Feb. 28-March 1 at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site

WASHINGTON, Texas — The 173rd anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence will be commemorated Feb. 28 and March 1 at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. The free, two-day celebration, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, brings to life the early 1800s Republic of Texas era.

The two-day celebration at the 293-acre park along the Brazos River transports visitors back to the time when Texas was a sovereign nation. Costumed re-enactors and members of the Texas Army, along with skilled craftsmen and talented musicians, fill the park as Texas commemorates its inception. Re-enactors portraying statesmen of the era, such as Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Anson Jones, will be on hand to explain the importance of Texas independence. On both days, vendors will be selling a variety of festival foods and drinks.

The Washington-on-the-Brazos Park Association’s new Web project, the Spirit of Independence, will be previewed at the park’s Visitors Center. The interactive Web site is being constructed to allow teachers and students access to the historic site’s wealth of information and primary sources. The Spirit of Independence project is designed to increase awareness of the unique place Washington-on-the-Brazos holds in Texas history.

Also on Independence Day weekend, the Star of the Republic Museum at Washington-on-the-Brazos will open a new exhibit titled "Texas Transformed: Early Maps of Texas." On display will be the largest map of Texas, measuring roughly eight feet square, on loan from the Texas General Land Office. Charles W. Pressler, who worked for GLO for 50 years, drafted the map in 1879. The Pressler map will be exhibited through March 22. Other rare maps, including the first to identify "Tejas" as a place, will be on display through Aug. 31.

At 11 a.m. on Sunday, the park association and the Ron Stone Foundation will dedicate a marker and rose garden to the late Ron Stone, an ardent supporter of Washington-on-the-Brazos. The Antique Rose Emporium will unveil Ron’s Vision, its newest yellow rose.

Dr. Stephen L. Hardin, professor of history at Victoria College, author, and widely acclaimed expert on the Texas Revolution will be the guest speaker at 2 p.m. Sunday in the park amphitheater. Following will be a performance by the Tanner Family Minstrel Show. In keeping with the celebration’s tradition, a Texas-sized birthday cake will be served to concert-goers with the help of the Washington County Historical Society Heritage Belles.

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site features three attractions that are open year round: Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum and the Barrington Living History Farm. Admission fees to all attractions will be waived during the celebration weekend thanks to support from the WOB State Park Association, Exxon/Mobil Corporation and Bluebonnet Electric Co-op.

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site is located between Brenham and Navasota off State Hwy. 105 and FM 1155, approximately one hour northwest of Houston.

For directions or more information, call (936) 878-2214.

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