The Come and Take It Celebration Committee have been hard at work getting ready to put on another Come and Take It Celebration next weekend, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, in downtown Gonzales.
From newcomers to veterans, all are excited to take part in helping celebrate Gonzales’ place in history as the Lexington of the Texas Revolution.
Below are questions the Inquirer asked about this year’s Come and Take It Celebration that will help anyone enjoy the fun, whether this is their first CTI or their 31st:
How big will this year’s festival be compared to prior years and what changes, if any, have been made in preparations or planning to make it possible?
Chair Daisy Scheske Freeman: We are expecting a large crowd! A lot of people were still hesitant to gather in 2021, but we are confident by the social media traffic and inquiries that 2022 will bring out, if not more, the pre-pandemic crowd.
Every year the CTI Committee brainstorms on how to continue making improvements, both small and large, to the event. For 2022 the CTI Comm will be introducing three more commercial food vendor spots along with our nonprofit food vendors to help enhance the festival experience. The committee will also be introducing a new small business called Hoity Toity Restrooms that will be showcasing her air-conditioned restroom trailers that event goers could use for a small fee if you would like that option. There will also be more port-o-potties that will be pink and blue in color with lights at the south end of the food and beer tents.
Another new feature will be the 5D Travelin Tavern. We have had many people reach out to the committee for several years that they would like more adult drink options on the square. Before reaching out to 5D, Chamber staff reached out to Chamber member businesses in the community who might accommodate; however, they are at full capacity that weekend.
Added events will be Cornhole and the Mullet competition. Our team of volunteers are excited to see everyone, and we hope you all enjoy this ongoing tradition that we are proud to host in our charming downtown Gonzales, Texas!
There are some new events this year, especially the Mullet Championship. Who came up with the idea for this and talk about how it is going to take place? Do you see the potential for this becoming a national event? What other new events are included this year?
Marketing Chairman Jessie Holt: I randomly threw out the idea of a mullet contest one day when we were brainstorming some new ideas. Then after further discussion, the team thought “why not?” Once we posted the first graphic about it, people went wild! It has been so much fun to see people excited about something new!
The contest will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1 in front of the main stage. We will have three age divisions, 0-10, 11-18 and 19 and up. Each contestant will be announced and will walk in front of the judges as their “bio” is read aloud. The judges will tabulate their scores and we will announce Champions as soon as possible.
There will also be a People’s Choice portion of the contest which will be on the Come and Take It Celebration’s Facebook page leading up to the contest. Participants must pre-register to participate in this portion on the contest and will need to submit “glamour shots” from all angles of their mullet. The photos will go on the Facebook page to be voted on by likes.
Entry forms are available on the Chamber’s website and preregisters are being accepted until Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. Regular entries for the contest will be taken at the Come and Take It Merch Booth inside the Food Tent until 4:30 on Saturday, Oct. 1.
We have had several businesses such as Angels & Outlaws, Spaces Sublime, The Candy Coop, and Safe Haven Salon graciously donate items for prizes and Crew Men’s Wear and Junkyard Hippie have sponsored belt buckles that will go to the Grand Champion of each age division.
This year’s music lineup is pretty diverse, with Neal McCoy and Bart Crow as well as Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers. What is it about Come and Take It that makes it attractive to musical acts to come play?
Entertainment Chair Britney Jones Caka: Musical acts are attracted to Come and Take It for our town’s rich history and because we do not charge attendees. For the last ten years, I have been blown away at all the artists that have known the true history of Come and Take It. Many of the artist are also thrilled to perform for many of their fans in an open, free environment. It’s not every day you get to see music for free!
This is for the first timers who are taking part this year. What made you want to get involved in the Come and Take It Celebration?
Food Chairman Linda Menking: As a first-time CTI member, I accepted the position because I truly believe in the event. I have been involved for more than 20 years in other areas. Being part of the volunteer team is an honor and truly makes our event grow and shine.
Melissa Henderson, Executive Director: I am very excited to see our little town filled with locals and tourists downtown shopping, dining and enjoying themselves. Being new to Gonzales and Come & Take It, I’m anticipating a special kind of camaraderie that comes together when our community has to work as a team to make a big event happen. I’m honored to be a part of the planning process and to work with the experienced Come & Take It committee.
Activities chairman Leslie Patteson: My love of Texas History and my desire to be a part of the process and growth of Gonzales. I believe we should give back to our community when we can. For some, it may be as a firefighter or EMT, and for others it may be a cause you choose to advocate. As a history teacher, I want my students and community to know how important our city was and is to the past, present, and future of Texas. By volunteering, I combine my love of Texas History with my ability to give back to my community … and my desire to bring people together to celebrate our town's historical significance to our state.
Treasurer Naomi Brown: I feel that the older generation has put in their time and it’s time for the younger generation to step up and volunteer where needed. Come and Take It Celebration is a tradition and big deal for my hometown of Gonzales, so I feel that volunteering lets me be a part of that. Also, now that I have children of my own, I want them to experience it in the best way; therefore, I need to volunteer my time to contribute to that factor. We cannot have something great if we don’t have the people putting the work into it.
One of the biggest attractions is always the parade. What tips would you give to people in order to have the best and safest experience watching the parade this year? Where do you advise is the best place to be to see it? Also, this year, you are offering shuttle service for those who may be disabled or have difficulty walking. Where can they get take advantage of this service?
Grounds and Security Co-Chair Frank Wallace: Regarding the parade, get there early and find a parking spot and a spot in the shade, regarding the handicap shuttle, they will be set up in the elementary school parking lot on the corner of St. Joseph and St. Michael. Gonzales Rescue is providing this service and they do a great job.
The carnival returns this year as well. What should people know about the carnival that may help them have the best experience possible?
If you have younger kids (ages 4-10), the best time to go to the carnival is during the day Saturday (like before 6) or when they first open on Sunday. Saturday night is the busiest night, so the wait time may be a little longer.
The chicken flying contest has to be one of the most-enjoyed events. What other events would you recommend for someone enjoying their first Come and Take It?
Activities chairman Leslie Patteson: In order to truly celebrate Come and Take It, I would encourage our visitors to experience the events that make our history come to life. Pioneer Village is open all weekend and its annual Come and Take It battle reenactment gives us a glimpse into the reason we're here to celebrate!
For more history, visitors can visit the Jail Museum, take the J.B. Wells Historic Home Tour, and the Gonzales Memorial Museum! No Texas festival is complete without live entertainment and great food. Come enjoy annual events like the BBQ cook-off and classic car show, concerts with Bart Crow and Neal McCoy, and our very first mullet contest!