San Jacinto Day Festival: History for Houston Families
HISTORICAL REENACTMENT OF THE BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO
by Bernadette Verzosa
Editor’s Note: Photos courtesy of the San Jacinto Museum of History
When families arrive at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Park on Saturday, April 26, they will be transported back in time to 1836. Hundreds of historic reenactors in period costumes will be on the grounds for the San Jacinto Day Festival recreating the events that led to Texas independence. The highlight for many visitors is the dramatization of the pivotal Battle of San Jacinto, which was fought on April 21, 1836. On that day, the Texian Army, led by General Sam Houston, defeated the Mexican Army. The victory paved the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country.
San Jacinto Museum president Larry Spasic encourages parents to bring their children to witness the day’s events. “There are many good reasons to get young people out to engage in the festival,” he tells ParentsPost.com. “They can get a perspective on life and better understand who they are as Texans. This is the difference between reading an article or a history book and experiencing Texas – feeling it and seeing it. When children are able to experience history, they are able to connect the past better to the present. It makes more sense and it’s more satisfying.”
Spasic says visitors are encouraged to walk into the Texian Army camps and Mexican Army camps and ask the reenactors who are all volunteers questions about their lives and their roles. “The reenactors are excellent historians. They stay in character and answer questions on why they are wearing their clothes, what they’re cooking, what they are willing to risk to win independence, ” he says. “The young people can get opposing points of view from the Texians and the Mexicans. To have their own questions and curiosities fulfilled makes this a special experience. They can get a sense of the consequences of convictions, actions and decisions.”
The San Jacinto Day Festival celebrates the 178th anniversary of Texas independence this year. It offers many kids’ activities including archery lessons, historical arts and crafts, a petting zoo and an archaeological dig. Families can enjoy Americana period musical performances, square dances and magic shows. Demonstrations by blacksmiths, weavers and spinners will also give guests a sense of life in the early 1800s.
Shuttles will be available to take visitors from the parking lots to the festival grounds. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The popular Battle of San Jacinto Reenactment starts at 3 p.m. The San Jacinto Museum of History is located at 1 Monument Circle in LaPorte, 20 minutes from downtown Houston. Admission is free.