GONZALES — One of the main reasons why people choose to locate a business in any given town is the quality of life that community provides. In addition to schools, college, recreation, dining, and churches—having lots of choices to do fun things is a big reason in coming to—or living in—a community.
Gonzales is blessed with many of these attributes including the number of festivals and community events Gonzales holds every year.
Let’s name just a few. Come and Take It. The Summer Concert Series. Winterfest. The Community Yard Sale. Go Texan Dinner. The Craft Beer Festival in the spring. And that’s just a few of the many events in our county.
“We have people come to the Come and Take It Festival from all over the United States,” said Daisy Scheske Freeman, Executive Director of the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. “This is a big event on people’s schedule, and we fill the hotels and motels during this event. People want a little bit of our fun.”
Liz Reily-DuBose, the executive assistant who works at the chamber, said that this weekend saw visitors from California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas and even Canada.
“It has been an amazing weekend and good turnout,” Reilly said on Sunday. “We even had a national television team here filming the parade on Saturday.”
Jordan Klepper, a regular contributor to The Daily Show on Comedy Central, was in Gonzales to film a segment either for The Daily Show or a new program he is developing.
“People look forward to Come and Take It all year long,” Scheske said. “There is something for everyone, and we literally start planning Come and Take It the week after this year’s event gets over.”
Barbara Friedrich, the Executive Director of the Gonzales Main Street program that produces the Summer Concert Series and Winterfest, agrees that festivals and events held locally are good for the economy and this area’s quality of life.
“It brings visitors and out-of-town guests into Gonzales,” Friedrich said. “It not only brings in out-of-town money and helps with the hotel-motel tax dollars, but it also helps our local merchants, hotels and restaurants.
“In addition, it keeps our local people home to spend their money locally, and it gives them a good and fun reason to do so.”
During the month of June through the 4th of July, summer concerts on the square have been a staple of Gonzales life for the past number of years. People from all over Gonzales County and beyond fill the square, pull up chairs and bring their favorite beverages, while listening to good music under the stars.
In December, Winterfest takes place in downtown Gonzales, and there are vendors, a chili cookoff, extended retail hours all highlighted by a wonderful lighted Christmas parade.
“Main Street is happy to be a part of bringing so much fun to Gonzales during the course of the year,” Friedrich said. “Those are just a few of the events we do and we are happy to do so.”
Another new event is the Craft Beer, Wine and Art Festival that debuted in April and was a rousing success.
Beer vendors from all over Texas, Colorado and Michigan brought their special products to town, while numerous Texas wineries and art vendors filled the square with their products.
“It was exhilarating to see all the people come out to support the inaugural event,” Gonzales Inquirer publisher and event coordinator Terry Fitzwater said. “We had over 500 people come from outside the City of Gonzales just to be a part of this event. We had 13 beer vendors with over 50 different craft beers and then played music on both Friday and Saturday night under the stars.
“Mother Nature cooperated and no one wanted to leave. There is already excitement for the 2019 event which is scheduled for the last weekend in April.
“All of the businesses downtown benefitted from Craft Beer Festival, and we kept them here all weekend.
“Plus, we were able to raise money for scholarships at Victoria College. Gonzales knows how to throw a good party and show world-class hospitality — Texas style.”