Families flock to General Sam Houston Folk Festival
Event relives history of the 1800s
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 00:05
The 25th Annual General Sam Houston Folk Festival hosted guests from across the nation as it celebrated the Lone Star State and the life of Sam Houston with performances, crafts and hands-on demonstrations Apr. 27 through Apr. 28.
The General Sam Houston Folk Festival was held at the Sam Houston Memorial Museum grounds with 18 acres of historical and interactive entertainment. Visitors gathered to see historical reenactments and demonstrations such as how to make glass, how to quilt, how to weave wool and how to throw a tomahawk. Guests could even view the inside of Sam Houston's Steamboat house where he quietly died in 1863.
Friday School Day provided educational demonstrations, crafts, vendors and food for more than 3,500 children. Activities included face painting, caricature artists and games as well as shops with all kind of hats, clothing, toys and wooden weapons.
On both days, stands were scattered across the Museum grounds selling ethnic food, fried desserts, Hispanic and Texas apparel, figurines, paintings and souvenirs. After expenses, any proceeds or profits from the Folk Festival are donated back to the Museum for improvements to its facility.
Musical and theatrical performances were held on Saturday and featured performing acts from several major Texas cities. Musical entertainment included local bands such as Lone Star Blue Grass Band, Gillette Brothers, No Foolin' String Band and Houston Celtic Chorus. Dance performances included Huntsville Promenade Dancers and Sahawe Indian Dancers.
The No Foolin' String Band was created in the 1990s by a group of Huntsville musician friends and has played at the Festival for more than 15 years. The group enjoys coming out to play music from the 19th century and participating annually.
"We like the fact that we just get to sit and play and watch all the activities," Gene Young, Ph.D, No Foolin' band member and SHSU English professor, said. "It brings history to life. We just love to watch peoples' expressions on their faces when they're faced with historical things they haven't seen before."
Rolling Thunder, a replica of an 1841 Mississippi Six Pounder cannon, was fired every hour during the Festival with help from the Lonestar Volunteers.
Many other volunteers at the Folk Festival were seen in period wear from the 1800s doing historical reenactments. Covey Barbee, a history graduate student at SHSU, has volunteered at the Folk Festival for ten years as a historical re-enactor.
"The Folk Festival is a wide assortment of different time periods in history but all with a tie to Sam Houston himself," Barbee said. "I do Texas Revolution history and Sam Houston's all in [it]."
Throughout 25 years, the Festival has geared more toward educational, family-fun entertainment that celebrates Sam Houston’s life, the 1800s and the Lone Star State.