For 60 years, Gonzales residents have kicked off the autumn season with a celebration of history like no other. In just 10 more days the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture will throw the 61st Annual Come and Take It Celebration, which is no small task. The weekend-long event rallies volunteers from all across the community, who along with the chamber, the board of directors and other event staff will work tirelessly to make it all happen.
Chamber Director Daisy Scheske-Freeman said the best part of the celebration has already happened over and over again.
"I feel that the best part of this celebration has been watching the CTI Committee over the years modify the celebration's goals," Scheske said.
Scheske said the CTI Committee and Chamber board put their heart and soul into this celebration.
"They care about the history; they care about the nonprofits; and, they care about this community," she said.
As always, many of Gonzales' non-profit organizations will be on hand vending fare and selling ware to stimulate the reach of their community service programs.
Scheske noted that CTI is the biggest – and sometimes only – fundraising opportunity many of Gonzales' local non-profit groups have and why the chamber board's work is so important.
Whatever reason one has for attending CTI, for many, the main draw is the lineup of musical acts.
Friday night the stage lights up at 6:30 p.m. with Matt Kitchen, followed at 8:30 p.m. by The Scott Taylor Band. Headliner Moe Bandy takes the stage from 10:30 p.m. until midnight.
Moe Bandy is known for number one singles, such as: I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today and I Cheated Me Right Out of You. Scott Taylor Band is known for songs like Just a Little Rain Coming Down and Beautiful Sin. Matt Kitchen is known for his hits Better in Me and Ten Beers.
On Saturday night Tequila Black opens at 7 p.m., followed by Gary P. Nunn at 9 p.m. Headliner Ricochet plays from 11 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.
Ricochet is widely known for their number one single Daddy's Money and first chart hit What Do I Know. Tequila Black, a local number, is best known for songs such as Story for the People and Want to be Free. Gary P. Nunn is known for his song London Homesick Blues – the Austin City Limits theme song for two decades.
"We are all ecstatic about this classic country lineup," Scheske said. "It's great to have artists perform right here in downtown Gonzales, who have also graced the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville."
This year's celebration features a number of newcomers in the fun and games lineup, including activities like Horse Derby Races and Water Ball (Texas Hero Square), Longhorn photos (JB Wells House) and even an Arm Wrestling Tournament (Sunday).
The celebration features a number of events that have kept participants coming back for years, including a softball tournament, a canoe race, a gold tournament, a 5K race and much more. Chicken flying is always a crowd favorite and will be on the intersection of St. George and St. Joseph Street. In the past, there has been some sharp rivalries, but this year the Gonzales Noon Lions will go head-to-head for bragging rights in a little contest within the contest.
"All my bets are on the chickens," Scheske said after learning of the friendly rivalry.
Scheske encourages everyone to come out and to make this CTI the best yet.
"The Come and Take It Celebration is a free, clean, family fun event that is great for all ages,” she said. "From quilt shows to car shows, cook-offs to funnel cakes, carnival and arts crafts, there is something for everyone to enjoy."
Scheske anticipates greatness for CTI each year and this year is no different.
"I am looking forward to seeing the community enjoy this event, as well as celebrate our history," she said.