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San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment set for Saturday

LYNCHBURG— The San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment on Saturday, April 26 is a celebration of Texas’ independence that was won at the famous Battle of San Jacinto.
On April 21, 1836—in 18 short minutes—General Sam Houston led his Texian soldiers to victory over the Mexican Army, officially securing Texas’ independence from Mexico and eventually leading to the addition of one million square miles of territory to the United States.
The admission-free San Jacinto Day Festival takes place from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on the 1,200-acre San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site at the San Jacinto Monument. There will be a full day of music, entertainment, food, games and fun set amidst living history.
The most popular event of the day is the battle reenactment, one of the largest in the state that reenacts one of the most important battles of American history. The battle begins at 3 p.m.—complete with cannons, muskets, horses, pyrotechnics and hundreds of reenactors. They replicate the Runaway Scrape (Texians gathering the few belongings they could to flee the advancing forces of Santa Anna), the march of the Texas army from Gonzales to San Jacinto, the cannon duel, and the final battle between the two forces. The reenactment ends with the surrender of Mexican Army General Santa Anna to Texian Army General Sam Houston, followed by the laying of wreaths to honor the sacrifices of both armies.

The festival celebrates this special day in Texas history with entertaining and educational activities:
Blacksmiths, basket weavers, weavers, spinners, quilters and other demonstrators will give visitors a full sense of how life was in the early 1800s. Sutlers (civilians who sold provisions to military posts) will be on hand to sell or show their wares.
At the Main Stage, popular local and regional entertainers will perform day.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department interpreters will offer guided tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. of the restored marshlands and answer questions about the wildlife inhabiting the park that includes otters, diamondback terrapins, peregrine falcons, wood ibises (storks), brown pelicans, reddish egrets, roseate spoonbills, great blue herons, osprey, mottled ducks and American avocets. Guests can now more easily see the marsh due to the ADA-accessible boardwalk expansion project funded in large part by Shell Oil. Shell also provides volunteers to work on the building of the boardwalk area. The marsh is historically important in that it barred the escape of many of General Santa Anna’s troops during the 1836 battle.
Other events include: Last Chance Forever: Birds of Prey demonstrates magnificent birds such as hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.
Members of the San Jacinto Descendants, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Sons of the Republic of Texas will be on hand to share their history. Texas Independence Square Dancers—square dancers from various groups throughout Texas—will demonstrate square dancing and give lessons.
Inside the lobby of the Monument an exhibit of recently restored artifacts will be on display. The exhibit includes historic artifacts that have recently been restored thanks in part to funding provided by the Summerlee Foundation, Mrs. William T. Kendall, Betty and Bill Conner and the San Jacinto Museum of History Association. The display is free to the public and includes military uniforms believed to have been worn at the Battle of San Jacinto, a 19th century rifle used by Jesse Walling who served under Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto, and Thomas Jefferson Chambers’ dress uniform. There will also be a display of several recently acquired printed items showing the Mexican point of view of the Texas Revolution.
The Children’s Area is sponsored by Rohm & Haas Texas Incorporated and Deer Park ISD. A stage with family entertainment sponsored by H-E-B Tournament of Champions will offer shows all day. Activities and shows in the Children’s Area include:
Phydeaux’s Flying Flea Circus, which is a “family-friendly, audience-interactive, historically accurate, educational street theatre” performed by the Flea Meister in period costume.
Make-and-take history activities and crafts for children will be available, created by Gifted/Talented specialists from Deer Park ISD. Volunteer teachers from DP ISD and students volunteers from San Jacinto College will assist in the craft area.
The Houston Zoomobile, Armand Bayou Nature Center and Bar Mollys Place will be on the grounds with native Texas animals, interesting demonstrations and nature games.
Children can hunt for artifacts at a dig site hosted by the Houston Archeological Society.
During the day visitors can wander freely among the Mexican and Texian camps to learn what the soldiers of that day were doing prior to the battle and to see how civilians lived in 1836. In the military camps, visitors will learn how to perform the close order drills of the day. A few lucky children will be chosen to stand with the cannon crew and pretend to load the cannons.