“Come and Take It” is a phrase that has become so ubiquitous with Texas identity that there may be some that don’t know it has its roots right here in Gonzales County. Though the phrase’s history is well known to locals, Gonzales hosts a festival every first full weekend of October to help inform the wistfully unaware and to celebrate the history involved with the occasion.
Born out of the rebellious spirit of the phrase, the Come and Take It Celebration is a Gonzales staple and emblematic of everything the city represents. Friday marks the beginning of the 63rd annual celebration and it promises to live up to the history the festival honors.
Initially started as a one-day event in 1956, Come and Take It swelled to a 10-day celebration in 1975 before it eventually took its current three-day format the following year. The celebration honors the defiant Texian rebels that planted a “come and take it” flag in 1835 when Mexican troops came to reclaim a cannon that they gave the citizens of Gonzales years prior.
Much like previous years, the year’s festivities mostly take place in downtown Gonzales. Friday gets the ball rolling with the First United Methodist Church art show and the petting zoo both beginning at 5 p.m. The festival grounds and live music open up at 6 p.m. Friday’s music lineup includes Brandi Behlen, Damon Curtis and the Nomas and Johnny Bush.
Saturday is the festival’s fullest day with events spanning 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. the next day. Highlights for the day include a 200-entry downtown parade, which will include a sizable group of the visiting Sisters on the Fly, beginning at 10:30 a.m., the unique chicken flying contest at 2 p.m. and a re-enactment of first shot and battle of the Texas Revolution at Pioneer Village at 3 p.m. Ret. Lt. Col. Kenneth McGinty, a 1962 Gonzales High School alumni, was named the parade marshal. Los Gavilanes, Landry and Co., Los Chamacos, Janie Fricke and Lee Roy Parnell are Saturday’s entertainment.
The event winds down Sunday with, among other events, the car show and the T-bone, chili and bean cook-off. The Shiner Hobo Band is the lone musical act Sunday and opens at 1 p.m.
There will be no snake exhibit at this year’s event but replacing it will be pony rides. The Pride of Texas Shows carnival will return to Texas Heroes Square.
Its estimated by the Chamber of Commerce that this year’s event will bring 10,000 to 15,000 people to the Gonzales area.