Happy anniversary to me! And happy anniversary to the wonderful community of Gonzales!
Happy anniversary? What’s that you say?
It was one year ago Friday that yours truly stepped foot in the land of the Apaches. It was on that day I interviewed for the position of publisher of the Gonzales Inquirer. When I arrived in town, boy was I surprised by all the activity and commotion going on. I didn’t know about Come and Take It, nor had I ever heard of it.
After my all-day interview, I walked around the community and asked a few innocuous questions. However, since I had never been to Gonzales I did not take in nor did I understand the full breadth and scope of the impact of Come and Take It on Gonzales. Was yours truly ever in for a surprise!
This weekend was my real first Come and Take It celebration. I have to admit, I was very excited as the event approached, and I had high expectations of what was going to take place in our little town. For the past year, I have heard stories about how fun Come and Take It is, how cool the parade is, and how wonderful all the concerts are under the stars. Add in the history events, and it all sounded like a great time in the old town to me. I wanted to see it for myself.
I knew I would see almost all of it, because I was planning on working most of the event along with my colleagues on the editorial staff José Torres and Erik McCowan. Our plan called for us to cover everything and immediately update our coverage and photos on our website and Facebook page. Plus, I had volunteered to serve as a judge on the T-Bone Cook-Off and was going to call Bingo for the Noon Lions Club on Sunday afternoon. No sir, I was not going to miss anything.
All weekend long, strangers and friends kept coming up to me and asking: “So what do you think of our little celebration?”
“Little?!” I responded. “For a town this size, this is a huge and marvelous event!”
Now let me qualify my statement. I have been to New York City and watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I have been to Pasadena and watched the Rose Bowl parade.
But what I saw on Saturday made me prouder of Gonzales than words can express. It was something right out of Our Town—Texas style. It was a great parade celebrating small town America, and the number of entries and participation was wonderful. For a town our size, it was magnificent and rates a “10” in my book.
Furthermore, I was enthralled with the great selection of music and the free entertainment of country stars Eddy Raven, Shenandoah and Gene Watson. That doesn’t even take into account the great warm-up bands. The reenactors at Pioneer Village endured the Saturday rain deluge with great aplomb and tenacity. The volunteers worked their keisters off but smiled the whole time. The carnival thrilled the kids.
So when everyone asked what I thought about Come and Take It, all I could respond was: “Why doesn’t everyone Come and Experience It!”
I think the chamber staff of Daisy Scheske Freeman and Liz Reilly deserve a huge pat on the back and a big thank you for a job well done. To the Come and Take It committee under the direction of Chairman Keith Schauer, way to go committee. Your hard work, selfless dedication and can-do mentality paid off. To all the sponsors, thank you for making all of this possible.
To the K of C’s, the Edwards Association, the Lions Clubs and all the other non-profits, thank you for making this such a wonderful celebration by your participation. To the volunteers, your service and donated time make everything possible.
And finally, thanks to all the people who came out and made the 62nd Come and Take It Festival such a rousing success. Only 359 days until No. 63!