Kicking off Saturday, over 600 women from all over the country will descend upon Gonzales in camper trailers for a week of woman empowerment and camaraderie. Those women all belong to Sisters on the Fly, the country’s largest women’s outdoor group with one very important rule: no men, no kids, be nice and have fun.
The group will be celebrating its 20-year anniversary with its first ever national gathering. “We’ve done regional gatherings here and there but never a national one,” event coordinator and group member Marylou Hostetter said.
Hostetter, a south-central Texas local, spearheaded bringing Sisters on the Fly to Gonzales. She said she knew J.B. Wells Park and figured it to be the best location in the area to handle the event. After over a year of planning and negotiating, Hostetter accomplished her goal and got the sisters a spot to fly in to in JB Wells Park.
JB Wells Park Arena Operations Manager Anne Dollery said she is expecting between 600 to 650 women and over 400 trailers plus a few tent campers to arrive by Saturday. Though the event hasn’t official begun yet, Dollery said a few campers have already shown up.
Initially started as a women’s fly-fishing group, Sisters on the Fly has blossomed into a social club with nearly 10,000 unique members across the country.
“We have women that are politicians, stay-at-home moms, business professionals, but when we’re together we all check our titles at the door,” Hostetter said. “We’re all just women.”
Hostetter said the women on this upcoming trip range from 21 years old to some in their early 80s. Though it’s not a requirement to join the club, many of the women have uniquely decorated vintage camper trailers they reside in during trips.
Much like the diversity of age and background in the club, the sisters have a wealth of different events planned for their Gonzales visit. Among those events include floating the Guadalupe River courtesy of Lou’s Canoes, boutique shopping in downtown Gonzales and a trip to Pioneer Village. Also planned are a handful of bus tours to San Antonio and Round Top.
The sisters weeklong visit to Gonzales just so happens to coincide with the city’s biggest celebration: Come and Take It weekend. Hostetter said she was working on having the sisters play a role in the celebration’s parade Saturday. Gonzales Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Daisy Scheske Freeman confirmed the sisters will be in the parade in some capacity.
On top of the group’s involvement in the parade, Sisters on the Fly have partnered with Gonzales Main Street to hold a vintage trailer showing on Oct. 5 from 4-6 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and children above 12, kids under 12 are free. All proceeds go to Main Street.
Gonzales’ tourism organization have been preparing for the sister’s arrival for months now. The chamber, with help from local businesses and chamber members, prepared 671 welcome baskets for the sisters.
The Gonzales Convention and Visitors Bureau, in collaboration with Main Street and the Gonzales Historic Homes Association, designed and placed signs on busy roads and in businesses downtown welcoming the sisters to Gonzales.