Tejas Festival will bring tons of talent to town

The Tejas Art and Book Festival committee started meeting a month after last year’s book festival to plan and execute the entertainment lined up for the festivities next week.

It all began with a list of over 50 names that were compiled and debated on by representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, City of Rockdale, RISD, Milam County Historical Society, Downtown Association, Rockdale Historical Society, Lucy Hill Patterson Memorial Library, Friends of the Library, Thursday Reading Club and the Kay Theater.

These hardworking women and men compiled an impressive lineup of people for the Fourth Annual Tejas Art and Book Festival in downtown Rockdale Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6. From the former Agricultural Commissioner and now populist commentator Jim Hightower to the award winning African American illustrator/ author Don Tate. What’s more is that many of these personalities will be visiting RISD campuses to talk and inspire our children.

Tate Tate And after 55 authors/writers/ lecturers/historians/commentators were contacted the list was whittled down to the 20-plus personalities that Rockdalians will see next week. The list mentioned above doesn’t even count the artists who will be in town or the car show entrants. This year’s festival is a virtual who’s who of history, literature, art, politics and even agriculture.

Some people may remember Hightower from his days on the campaign trail and his stint as Lt. Governor of Texas, but others may know him as the Populist radio host from Austin. He’ll be at the depot next Saturday commentating and hawking his book, “Swim Against the Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow.”

Barnes & Noble and Texas A&M Press will be in the library selling books like Paul C. Rogers’ paperback about baseball.

Hightower Hightower In it Rogers captured many old ballplayers stories for posterity in his book “The Whiz Kids and the 1950s Pennant.” Mimi Wolverton, who writes about leadership in her books, “Women at the Top” and “Answering the Call” will have her books for sale as well.

Diana Lopez, who has become a regular at the book festival, will be reading from her new young adult novel “Confetti Girl” and talking to RISD junior high schoolers about writing. Lila Guzman is scheduled to talk to the intermediate school about her book series, “Lorenzo and the Pirate,” which focuses on the Spanish contribution to America’s quest for freedom during the American Revolution through the eyes of a 15-yearold boy.

Historian, Stephen L. Moore, will regale pre-teens with stories of Texas history from his books “Savage Nation” and “Eighteen Minutes,” while Susanne Starling will stage a reenactment of the pioneer surveying party to highlight her book “Land is Cry! A biography of Warren A. Ferris.”

Children’s book illustrator, Tate from Austin will be in town on Friday talking to elementary and intermediate school children about drawing, illustration and books.

Then there are those authors, who are practically local, Garna Christian, who wrote the first book by local son George Sessions Perry, and our very own Kathy Whitehead, with a new children’s book “Art from Her Heart” will be in town as well.

Milam County Historical Commission members and history buffs alike can enjoy the words of Jeff Williams, who will be talking about the history of the old Trail across Texas, the archaeology of the Trail, and the modern satellite mapping that he’s been doing for the past several years. Historical presentations from the likes of E. Joe Deering, Jim Sayles, Dan K. Utley and Charlotte Brummett will round out the day at the library.

For Christian book lovers John Claeys will read from his book “Apocalypse 2012: The ticking of the End Time Clock: What Does the Bible Say?” in the library and the master gardener in my house won’t miss Judy Barrett who publishes a bimonthly magazine Homegrown and has published several books on gardening and herbs.

Then there are numerous local and regional artists and craftspeople who will be displaying and selling their wares under the black top, or, uh, I should say, white top at Wolf Park: DK Nichols, Bernice Coleman, Sharla Wilson, and Kennedy Cooke-Garza. Jewelry makers in town will be: Denise Wallace/Jan Shafer, Gail Kincaid, Meredith Ott and Diana/ Denise Steinhagen. Painters and crafts people Roger Felps, L. Jeaniece Vater, Mike Grafa, Sherry McCartney, Jami Bevans and Rita Kirkman will show off their talents.

Across the street at the depot, food fun and historical displays abound. Then there is the much talked about car show that brings in people from all over Texas and beyond.

I didn’t even mention everything that the schools have planned like art shows, historical skits, essays contests, choir performances and food booths. You can read all about it next week in the Tejas Festival special section.

Just nine more days to go but I’ve already “caught the spirit.”

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2010-02-25 digital edition

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