Come and Take It Festival
Gonzales, Texas

When: early October

Where: Events take place throughout the town of Gonzales, including the downtown square, Independence Park, the Old Jail Museum, the Memorial Museum and Pioneer Village.

In the early morning hours of October 2, 1835 the boom of a cannon marked the birth of the Lone Star state as a flag emblazoned with the words "Come and Take It" waved in the wind while the settlers of Gonzales held back Mexican soldiers intent on confiscating the artillery weapon. The echo of that first cannon shot still reverberates through the hearts and souls of Gonzales' citizens, and each first weekend in October residents rally to pay tribute to those who took a stand for freedom.

Events: Athletic festival attendees can appreciate the town's historic past as they pedal along 10, 20 and 40-mile pathways on their way to the finish line during the Cannon Express Bike Ride. Contestants and the crowd that cheered them on are welcome to enjoy live Texas tunes at a barbecue after the event.

Fleet-footed festival-goers will want to sign up for the 5K Run at Independence Park, while those who care to participate in a slower-paced race can enter the 5K Walk. If water sports are more your speed, the Come and Take It Canoe Race takes place at Lake Wood.

For a true taste of the Lone Star State, sample the servings at the Texas T-Bone Cook-off and the Texas Bean and Chili Cook-offs before an afternoon filled with old-fashion fun, including a classic car show, a horseshoe and washer pitching contest on St. Joseph Street and bingo at Confederate Square.

Visitors looking to learn more about the town dubbed the "Lexington of Texas" can tour the Memorial Museum, which is home to memorabilia from Gonzales's earliest residents, stand on the front porch of the Eggleston House, a primitive dog-run residence, marvel at the elegant edifice of the J.B. Wells house, and walk through the Old Jail Museum.

While a parade and a Pride of Texas carnival provides hours of entertainment for the entire family, visitors will want to take time to remember the true reason behind the festival at Pioneer Village, where demonstrations of frontier life are conducted among the venue's many 1800's structures, a battle re-enactment brings the glory of the fateful day back to life, and a memorial service is held in honor of the "Immortal Thirty-Two," forefathers from Gonzales who gave their lives at The Alamo. History buffs will also want to take the short trip to the town of Cost, the actual site of the skirmish, where a cannon-firing ceremony breaks the silence and the cry of "Come and Take It!" rings out once again.

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