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TPWD News Release — Jan. 18, 2005

Free Celebration of Texas Independence Is March 5-6

WASHINGTON, Texas – An expanded number of historic re-enactors, period crafts demonstrators, toe-tappin’ Texas musical performers and a black-powder salute by the Texas Army awaits visitors to this year’s annual celebration of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 5-6.

This year marks the 169th anniversary of the signing of the declaration of Texas’ independence from Mexico by 59 people representing the various municipalities who convened here March 2, 1836, in a drafty, unfinished building atop a Brazos River bluff to give birth to the Republic of Texas.

One of the rare copies of the printed broadside, “Texas Declaration of Independence,” as well as other documents authored by many of the declaration’s signers, will be on exhibit at the Star of the Republic Museum.

Visitors to this free, two-day event at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site can play a part in a play titled “The Convention of 1836” by interacting with the characters during performances presented throughout the weekend. Other dramatic performances by the Texas Heroes, a renowned dramatic group, will bring to life notable Republic of Texas characters such as Stephen F. Austin and Mary Austin Holley, who were among the historic document’s signatories.

On Sunday March 6, television personality Ron Stone will emcee a special program honoring the heroic early Texas patriots who drafted and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. A special performance of “The Convention of 1836,” an audience participatory play and foot-stomping musical will be featured. The cutting of a Texas-sized birthday cake will highlight the day’s activities.

During the Texas Independence Day celebration, visitors to the historic site will be immersed in the sights and sounds of the Republic of Texas period from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Throughout the park grounds, re-enactors in period clothing will be demonstrating 19th century folkways such as blacksmithing and quilting, playing old-fashioned music and performing military drills. Authentic 19th century dance music will be performed by the ‘No Foolin’ String Band,’ while ‘Back at the Ranch’ will entertain with upbeat Texas swing music. The award-winning Blinn College band also will perform. Food vendors will be on site both days.

“Gone to Texas,” a lively musical, will be performed in the Star of the Republic Museum’s theater throughout the celebration. The museum, operated by Blinn College, tells the story of the Republic of Texas through dioramas, artifacts and historical exhibits.

Park admission and tour fees will be waived during the celebration. In addition to the museum, the historic complex includes the Visitors Center, nature trails, Barrington Living History Farm and a replica of Texas Independence Hall located in the old Washington town site.

The Texas Independence Day celebration is being presented by the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park Association and is sponsored by ExxonMobil, Bluebonnet Electric and the First National Bank of Bryan.

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site is located half way between Brenham and Navasota off state Highway 105 on FM 1155, approximately an hour northwest of Houston. For directions and more information, call (936) 878-2214, extension 237.

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