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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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18th Annual Boonville Days Festival

Photo courtesy of Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History

The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History will host its 18th Annual Boonville Days on Oct. 14.

The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History will host the 18th Annual Boonville Days: Texas Heritage Festival and Half-Marathon/5k Race on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The festival is a celebration of Texas heritage and fundraises for the museum. To kick off the event, the 15th Annual Buffalo Stampede Half Marathon and 5k Race will take place at the Brazos Center and is open to all ages. The festival is family-friendly and has pony rides, reenactments, train rides and live music. 

Program Coordinator of Boonville Days and Education Administrator of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, Garret Leopold, is in charge of organizing the majority of the festival. With a passion for history, Leopold said he applied to the museum and developed a love for teaching history that he expresses through his work on Boonville. 

“[What] I’m really trying to push is creating more of a living history from the park,” Leopold said. “There is not a lot of interaction when you look through the park, you just look through the cabins and read about it. But my goal is to have my team members and I dress up and do chores of the 19th century. Right now I am working on building a shave horse, which was a popular way of making tools on the frontier. While people come to visit, they can interact with us and ask questions.”

Instead of reading its history from a textbook, Leopold said he wants to make Boonville feel like you have stepped back into the 19th century. 

“Boonville is our history,” Leopold said. “Everyone who lives in this community can thank Boonville and the work they’ve done for what we have today. Having Boonville Days is an amazing opportunity to teach about our Texas history.” 

Executive Director of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History Deborah Cowman has been in charge of fundraising for the museum for 15 years. The proceeds from the Buffalo Stampede Race go towards maintaining the museum. Cowman said this event is their largest fundraiser of the year. 

“One of my most important jobs is ensuring we have enough money to operate,” Cowman said. “I also work in the marketing department. I do a little bit of everything. The Buffalo Race kicks off the event and raises money for the museum. This is the single largest event we host for the public for free.” 

The town of Boonville is completely gone but this event commemorates its history, Cowman said. Cowman also helps with the educational curriculum. During the festival, there is a shuttle that takes attendees to the Boonville Heritage Park. 

“We have a replica courthouse, smokehouse and an original restored dogtrot house from that period filled with period antiques. And that’s all to tell the story of Boonville,” Cowman said. 

The Boonville Festival has several activities for people of all ages, Cowman said. From authentic chuck wagon lunches that cook a traditional cowboy-on-the-trail way to pony rides and live music. 

“When people get off the shuttles, we want them to feel like they have gotten off a time machine,” Leopold said. “Boonville Days is our story and we are proud of it.”

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