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It’s that time of year again - time to celebrate Texas Independence Day and General Sam Houston’s birthday.
The Walker County Historical Commission, Sam Houston Memorial Museum, and Sam Houston Statue and Visitor Center invite everyone to join in the 37th annual celebration on Friday, March 2.
The festivities will begin with a reception from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. at the Walker County Gibbs-Powell House Museum, 1228 11th Street.
A formal ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at Sam Houston’s grave at Oakwood Cemetery, located at Avenue I and 9th Street. During the event, a special Baptized Texan ceremony will be held, which has a $15 fee that will include a t-shirt, miniature statue of Sam Houston, and a certificate. Registration for becoming a Texan is due by February 12.
Following the festivities, a luncheon will be held at 12:30 p.m. at W.S. Gibbs Conference Hall, Katy & E. Don Walker, Sr. Education Center, located at 1402 19th Street. The luncheon fee is $20 and must be paid by February 23.
The birthday events will wrap up with a Toast to Texas and birthday cake at 2 p.m. at the Sam Houston Statue and Visitors Center, 7600 Highway 75 South.
The tradition of celebrating March 2 in Huntsville stems from 1889, when students from the Sam Houston Normal Institute would march to General Sam Houston’s grave.
“This annual event continued until around 1971. It was almost always done by the student body at Sam Houston and several times the Governor attended,” said James Patton of the Walker County Historical Commission. “There was a big celebration in 1936 and again in 1986 for the 150th anniversary of Texas, and another big event in 1993 for the 200th occasion of General Sam Houston’s birthday. It has grown over the years and many of the descendants of General and Margaret L. Houston attend each year. It is always a fun day!”
In 1981, the Walker County Historical Commission began sponsoring March 2 events through a program called Texas Heritage Days. In the last couple of years, students from Sam Houston State University, with the help of the ROTC and the History Department, have continued the tradition of marching to Sam Houston’s grave.
For more information, contact Jamie Matthews at 936-291-5931 or at jmatthews@HuntsvilleTx.gov. Mail payment to 7600 Highway 75 South, Huntsville, Texas 77340.
Details and rain information will be posted to www.walkercountyhistory.org,www.samhoustonmemorialmuseum.com or www.HuntsvilleTexas.com, which also features a list of hotels in Huntsville for overnight accommodations.