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'Celebrate Bandera' - live the cowboy dream

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

During the 2014 Celebrate Bandera, Congressman Lamar Smith, assisted by the Bandera Cattle Company Gunfighters, helped dedicate a historical marker in Western Trail Heritage Park. This year, a marker designating the Bandera Historic Town Center will be installed at 6 pm, Friday, Sept. 4, at the corner of 11th and Cedar streets.

This weekend, officials with the Bandera Community Foundation invite everyone to step back in time and relive the wild and wooly ways of the Old West during Celebrate Bandera, set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4, 5 and 6.
On Labor Day weekend, the Cowboy Capital of the World goes back in time to the late 1800s - when cattle drives, mountain men gatherings, cowboys' testing their mettle and Native American powwows were commonplace. It all happens again - right here in Bandera.
At 6 pm, Friday, Sept. 4, the Circle of Life Intertribal Powwow opens at Bandera City Park with the colorful Grand Entry taking place at 7:30 pm. Featuring Native American dancers in colorful regalia from across the nation, the powwow includes gourd and hoop dancing competitions and exhibitions, interpretive artists and special drum and flute demonstrations. Native American wares will be available for purchase.
Admission is $5 with children ages 12 years and under admitted free. The powwow continues on Saturday and Sunday.
The fun kicks off at 9 am, Saturday, Sept. 5, at Lowe's Market parking lot with the always-popular Cow Patty Bingo. Festivities also begin at 9 am on the Bandera County Courthouse lawn where visitors and locals take in an arts and crafts fair, the John Wayne Hat Toss and Cowboy Camp music, among other events.
Congressman Lamar Smith will help "Celebrate Bandera" by opening the hat-tossing contest at 9:25 am. He will also ride shotgun on the Wells Fargo stagecoach in the parade.
One of the centerpieces of Celebrate Bandera is the colorful longhorn cattle drive, which kicks off the Cowboy Capital of the World Parade at 11 am. This is everyone's chance to watch as longhorns amble their way through Bandera.
And, those looking for a smaller four-legged friend of their own are urged to stop by the fire station on Main Street between 10 am and 3 pm. Staff and volunteers with the Bandera County Animal Shelter are holding a Celebrate Bandera Adoption Day. For a nominal fee, you can take home a cowboy dog for your very own.
Meanwhile, back at the banks of the Medina, the Rendezvous on the River will be in full swing by noon. The mountain man gathering includes vendors, music, a buggy display, old time demos and more. During the rendezvous, tall tale tellers Lee Haile and Donna Ingham will be front and center. Don't miss these entertaining celebrities.
And throughout the weekend, the fun times will be punctuated by the aroma of lip-smacking barbecue offered by some of the best cook teams in Texas. The Lone Star Barbecue Society presents the "Best of the Best Cook-Off" and the first annual "Children's Cook-Off." As usual, the good eatin' takes place on the banks of the beautiful Medina River so everyone is advised to just "follow your noses."
On Saturday evening, the gates at Mansfield Park on Highway 16 North crack open at 6 pm for a pre-show of fast action mounted shooting and trick roping before the "hottest eight seconds of the year," the National Professional Bull Riding Challenge. The bull riding continues at 7 pm, Sunday evening. Admission is $15 for adults; and $12 for seniors and active military with proper identification and children ages seven to 17 years. Kids ages six and under are admitted free. Box seats for six are $120.
On Sunday, Sept. 6, the folks with Western Heritage Cowboy Church will cook up a stick-to-your-ribs cowboy breakfast, beginning at 9 am followed by services at 9:30 at Bandera City Park. Festivities also continue on the courthouse lawn.
Head back to Mansfield Park by 7 pm because the electrifying South Texas Bull fight Challenge takes place in conjunction with the National Professional Bull Rider's Challenge. Don't miss the evening of thrills, spills and nail bitin' action.
For detailed information about all the happenings in and around the Cowboy Capital of the World during Celebrate Bandera, consult handy programs available at retail stores and restaurants. For event schedules and ticket information, also visit www.celebratebandera.com, or call 830-796-4447.