Saturday, May 24, 2014

Winning the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest at the Watermelon Thump in Luling Texas

Luling is a town located in the southern end of the Texas Prairie & Lakes Region. Luling is widely known as the town where the annual Watermelon Thump takes place.

The Watermelon Thump is a four day festival which takes place the last full weekend in June, which would make the dates for the 2014 Watermelon Thump Thursday June 26, Friday June 27, Saturday June 28 and Sunday June 29.

The Watermelon Thump is a big event drawing crowds from out of town, as well as Luling's locals.

Admission is free for the opening day. Some time periods are free on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday featuring free full access.

You can get admission fee details and who is performing, and when and where, along with other Thump information, by visiting the official Luling Watermelon Thump website.

One of the most popular events taking place during the Thump is the watermelon seed spitting contest. There is also a watermelon eating contest.

We have been practicing watermelon seed spitting, with 8 feet 3 inches the current best spit....

Friday, May 23, 2014

The National Polka Festival & Parade This Memorial Day Weekend in Ennis Texas

The National Polka Festival starts up today, May 23, in Ennis, Texas, with the 2014 Polka Festival coming to a close on Sunday, May 25.

Saturday  morning, starting at 10am, the National Polka Festival Parade takes place, snaking its way through downtown Ennis.

We had the pleasure of enjoying the Ennis National Polka Festival Parade a few years ago. This was one of the best, if not the best, small town parade we have ever seen. As in, highly entertaining, charming and fun.

On our Eyes on Texas website you can see what we saw watching the Ennis Polka Festival Parade.

The Downtown Ennis National Polka Festival activities, like the parade, are free.

An admission fee is charged for events such as the Love & Theft Country Concert.

You can get all the details you need to know by visiting the Ennis National Polka Festival's website.

From the official Ennis National Polka Festival website the following description of the festival....

The festival kicks off with an opening dance Friday at 7:00 pm,featuring polka music and the King and Queen Dance Contest, where participants and non-participants are encouraged to wear traditional Czech kroj (costumes). At 10:00 on Saturday morning, floats, bands, and colorful costumes will kick-off the downtown festivities. The parade traditionally includes something for visitors of all ages. Enjoy the music of our polka bands riding on decorated floats or the sounds of our award winning Ennis High School Marching Band. The Shriners make their annual appearance, as well as celebrities, public officials, motorcycles, horseback riders, clowns, kids, and seniors! This giant parade twists through historic downtown Ennis and is sure to please.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Canton First Monday Trade Days

Canton First Monday Trade Days is believed to be the biggest and longest running flea market in the United States.

We have no way of knowing if there is a flea market in America that has been around longer, but we would sure be surprised if there is a bigger market of this type anywhere in America. Or the world, for that matter.

To our eyes, First Monday's is like a sprawling world's fair of a flea market.

From our Eyes on Texas webpage about Canton First Monday Trade Days....

Since 1850 in a town in East Texas called Canton an event called First Mondays has held Thursday through Sunday prior to the First Monday of each month.

First Monday's has grown from an event for farmers to market their wares to an event where armies of vendors sell a huge variety of items to thousands of shoppers in a shopping zone sprawling over hundreds of acres. 

On our Eyes on Texas webpage about Canton First Monday Trade Days you will see a couple dozen photos giving you a good idea of what you will see there, including what you might find to eat there.

On our Eyes on Texas webpage about the town of Canton you will find information about where to stay and where to eat during your visit to Canton.

Wikipedia has a good article with a lot of good information about Canton First Monday Trade Days including the following...

Some advice for new visitors:

  • Try to visit on a Thursday or Friday since crowds are slightly lower and selection is best.
  • Spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons to visit.
  • If you see it and love it, buy it. Don't take the chance on it being there when you return. Being new, you may not find the same booth again. It is easy to get turned around.
  • Plan at least 5 hours to make even a cursory "run-through" of the area. Serious shoppers will need 8 hours to 3 days to cover the entire grounds.
  • Bargain with the vendors. Even in the more established sections you can never tell who will say yes.
  • Take a magnifier and small magnet. They'll come in handy for examining condition and identifying "brass" or "bronze" that is really steel.
  • Wear comfortable shoes all the time and clothing appropriate for the season. Almost year 'round—wear sunscreen.
  • If you don't know about an expensive collectible, be wary. Fakes and overpricing exist but knowing something about the item can prevent a bad purchase.
  • Remember where you park. Even small purchases get heavy when carried over time and distance. You'll want to drop items off in the trunk.

That remembering where you parked advice is very good  advice. We had ourselves a major adventure re-locating our vehicle after hours of wandering around First Mondays.

The Wikipedia article also said the following...

Despite the large size of the facility, people with disabilities will find easy access, and can even rent a scooter to get around the market area with ease. Be aware however that extremely hot weather can make a big difference in ability to get around.

A couple months ago a man named Gary emailed us regarding incidents where people with disabilities did not find easy access at First Mondays, quite the contrary.

We blogged about what Gary had to tell us on our Durango Texas blog in a blogging titled Apparently Canton First Mondays Is Violating The Americans With Disabilities Act In Texas. You can click the link to the Durango Texas blog to read all of what Gary had to tell us, part of which is below...

Although First Mondays rents scooters, there are places where they are not allowed, Old Mill itself has a sign saying Foot Traffic Only! As does The Mountain. This has been a huge concern for the ADA and the disabled / handicapped community. There are no signs saying no scooters allowed, just foot traffic only signs. Last month a disabled 14 year girl with her scooter and her parents were removed and the police called, apparently Canton's police are not familiar with the laws that protect the disabled and handicapped. I can just picture how dramatic this was for that child. A few months before that there was another incident involving their supposed security guard and a senior man on his mobility scooter, carrying a blue disabled plaque, who was repeatedly told "His kind wasn't welcome". I have heard this type of complaint before, but I think this one regarding the child stepped over the line. 

We hope this type incident has not happened often, and that measures have been taken to make sure such incidents don't happen in the future, because to our eyes, Canton First Monday Trade Days is a very happy place where a lot of people seem to have themselves a mighty fine time....

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Parker County Peach Festival in Weatherford Texas

On the second Saturday of this upcoming July, July 12, 2014, to be precise, the 30th annual Parker County Peach Festival will be taking place in Weatherford, Texas.

This is a one day event which opens at 8:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm.

The Parker County Peach Festival is a HUGE, very well done event. A few years ago, after heading to Weatherford on a Sunday, thinking the Peach Festival ran all weekend long, we inquired as to why so much effort was expended on a one day event to learn the supposed reason.

The Peach Festival takes place in the area surrounding the Parker County Courthouse. Two state highways, as in 180 and  80, also traverse the area surrounding the Parker County Courthouse. The Texas Department of Transportation, also known as TxDOT, will allow the Texas state highways to be closed one day only. And for that closure to last only nine hours.

Which leads us to wonder, really, what would be the harm in closing these highways both Saturday and Sunday, and allowing the festival to stay open later than 5 pm?

A blurb about the festival from the official Parker County Peach Festival website...

Take a trip back to yesteryear at the Parker County Peach Festival, held in Historic Downtown Weatherford, Saturday, July 12th, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. 2014 marks the 30th annual Peach Festival which always takes place on the second Saturday in July. Admission is only $5 for adults and FREE for children 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased in advance for a discounted price of $4 at the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce office at 401 Fort Worth Highway, Weatherford, Texas 76086.

Below is the first paragraph description of the Parker County Peach Festival on our Eyes on Texas website...

In Texas any excuse for a festival is a good excuse. Parker County has a few peach orchards. These orchards produce peaches sold only in Texas, mostly north Texas, mostly in Parker County. The peaches do provide a good reason to have a fun festival in Weatherford, the county seat of Parker County. The Peach Festival takes place in the blocks surrounding the downtown Weatherford Parker County Courthouse.

Wikipedia has an article about the Parker County Peach Festival. In the Wikipedia article we learn what  peach-based foods we might find there and when we need to get to the festival to enjoy them...

In addition to fresh, ripe peaches, attendees can enjoy peach-based foods such as: Peach cobbler, Peach ice cream, Peach juleps, Peach smoothies and Peach pie. The peach-themed offerings run out within the first few hours of the event.

If you need help finding the Parker County Peach Festival our Eyes on Texas Map might help.

We have not yet made plans to attend the 2014 Parker County Peach Festival. There are shuttles to take festival-goers from the parking lots to the festival. But, there is no mass transit system of the bus or rail type to take festival-goers from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, west to Weatherford....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Another Season of Waxahachie's Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival Ends Memorial Day Weekend

This upcoming Memorial Day Weekend marks the end of the 2014 season of the Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas.

The webpage we made documenting our one and only visit to Scarborough Faire, that being a visit made early in this century, became the most controversial webpage we have ever made, which you can see for yourself by visiting our Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival webpage, where you will see some of the reaction. Visit Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival Feedback where you will see even more of the interesting reactions to our take on what we experienced at Scarborough Faire.

Below are three paragraphs from our description of our Scarborough Faire experience....

Near the town of Waxahachie in the county of Ellis south of the town of Dallas a 16th Century English Village comes alive every Spring, celebrating a Renaissance Festival called Scarborough Faire.  Covering an area which seems as large as Six Flags (but with free parking) with over 200 Artisans and Crafts Stores, with Shows in 22 different venues, with Entertainment ranging from a Mud Pit Theatre in the Ground to Singing Executioners (very Texas appropriate) to Jousting (both men's and women's) to dozens of Purveyors of various Food and Drink items, from Smoothies to Beer, from Spinach Pie to Jalapeno Poppers from Fried Peasant Bread to Baklava with blessedly very little, if any, authentic English food. 

Throughout the Village graduates of the Scarborough  Academy of Performing Arts, along with all the costumed Visitors, give the Village a very authentic look and sound. 

Large numbers of Wenches in skimpy costumes barely containing heaving bosoms. Ladies in stifling finery braving the heat. Men in tights and pantaloons and armor. And a few Trolls and 21st Century Gawkers wandering about. Upon entry $22.00 for an adult, $10 for a child 12 and under, seems an expensive fare, but then the scope of Scarborough Faire reveals itself and the entry fee begins to seem a bargain...