As part of Orange Grove’s year long Centennial Celebration, the Orange Grove Area Museum along with the City of Orange Grove, the Orange Grove Volunteer Fire Department, and the Bulldog Street Rods will be hosting a large celebration in downtown Orange Grove on Saturday, April 19. The celebration will kick off with a parade that takes its route down ‘Main Street’ in downtown Orange Grove.
The Centennial Parade entrants will gather at 8 a.m. at the Orange Grove Rifle Club and the parade will begin at 9 a.m. Parade co-chairpersons are Natalie David and Haley Kopplin. Parade entry forms may be picked up at the Orange Grove Area Museum, Orange Grove Intermediate School, The Floor Store or Orange Grove Co-op. For more information on the parade, please contact Natalie at 384-9641 or Haley at 384-9358, ext. 300 during working hours.
The museum will be sponsoring its annual Pioneer Day celebration at the same time, which features a barbeque brisket meal, arts/crafts and food booths, pioneer demonstrations, music, baking contest, washer pitching contest, and a raffle.
Several pioneer demonstrations will take place during the day. Joanne Murphy will demonstrate the art of spinning raw materials such as wool into thread and yarn. Murphy, who teaches blind students, has been spinning for many years. Robert Caldera will demonstrate the art of weaving on a loom. He will take yam that has been spun and weave it into material that can be used to make clothes, blankets, and rugs. Caldera’s grandparents and family members were weavers in Mexico.
Daniel Perez from Alice will demonstrate the art of blacksmithing. Perez, who works with his daughter Mireya, will demonstrate Perez family blacksmithing traditions.
Rick Stowers will demonstrate the art of campfire cooking. Last year, Stowers baked a pie on his campfire and entered it into the Pioneer Days baking contest.
Stowers will also have his special display of arrowheads which contain hundreds of pints and Indian artifacts. Nikita Perez, 21, a dancer who has been dancing since she was 3 years old, will do Folkloric Dancing. Nikita wears a beautiful dress which weighs 20 pounds and is made by her mother. The Southwest Dairy Association will provide a mobile dairy classroom where a milking demonstration using a real milk cow will take place. Mr. Felix Salas will also bring his horse and buggy back to provide rides for Pioneer Day attendees.
Venders are welcome to have a vendor booth at the Pioneer Day Celebration. Booths will cost $10 each. Museum Director Betty Box said officials are especially looking for vendors who sell arts/crafts, jewelry, and etc. Contact the museum at 384-1300 if you are interested in a booth. Vendor stalls will be approximately the width of a parking space. The vendor booths will be located on the sides of the street in downtown Orange Grove and will be assigned on a first-come first-serve basis.
The museum is selling hand painted commemorative centennial plates that have been painted by local artist Noe Bazan. The plates are on display in the museum and the cost is $30 each. The current series of plates has a design which includes orange trees in a field of bluebonnets. The first series of 50 plates have been sold. We have 45 in the second series left. The plates are numbered and each plate comes signed by the artist, numbered by the series, and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
A special program will be held at the conclusion of the parade honoring all of the men and women from Orange Grove who have retired from the military with 20 or more years of service. This program has been organized by Lupe Ramon. A special talk giving the history of the Orange Grove area will be given by Frank Medrano.
The museum will be open all day during the Pioneer Day Celebration and will be staffed with volunteers. Everyone is invited to attend the Pioneer Day Celebration and enjoy all of the activities, and take a tour of the museum as well. Entrance into the museum is free of charge but donations are welcome.
The City of Orange Grove will be sponsoring a large stage where music will be presented throughout the afternoon and evening by local Coastal Bend area bands. Country and Tejano music will be provided which will be played by Los Comparres De Alice, Santa Fe, El Poder De Tejas, The Galloway Brothers and the Tyler McCumber Band.
Lupe Ramon of San Antonio and formally of Orange Grove and his family will provide a musical concert. Mr. Ramon who is retired from military service and his family enjoy singing and providing entertainment for others. Another local conjunto group, Conjunto Inizzio will also perform. These performances will be under the museum’s tent, which will be placed in the street at the side of the museum.
A large stage, and gathering tent will be provided by Budweiser and refreshments including beer will be sold. The city will be selling Orange Grove Centennial commemorative t-shirts, caps and koozies.
The Orange Grove Volunteer Fire Department will be sponsoring a cook-off on the grounds of the fire department mid adjacent properties. There will be several classifications in the cook-off and judging will take place late in the day. Cookers interested in competing should call Darrell Rusk at 361-701-6338 for more information.
Tickets for the barbeque plates are on sale now at the museum and from various individuals and cost $6.50 per plate. The plates will be served from 11:30 to 1 p.m. in the Orange Grove Senior Citizens Center and they may be eaten in or taken to go.
The Up in Smoke Cooking Team of Orange Grove will be cooking the barbecue brisket for the Museum’s Barbeque Brisket plate luncheon which will be served from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Orange Grove Senior Citizen Center. The Up In Smoke Cooking team is lead by Joseph Willesden. Minerva Scott will coordinate a group of volunteers who will help to serve and prepare the barbeque plates. Tickets for barbeque plates with beans, potato salad, and the trimmings will cost $6.50 each and are available at the museum and from individuals who will be selling the tickets. Barbeque plates may be eaten at the Senior Citizens Center or carried out.
A baking contest will be held again this year. There will be categories for pies, cakes, and cookies. In honor of the Orange Grove Centennial, each baking entry must have orange as one of its ingredients. Mrs. Norma Cornejo and Mrs. Roxie Fine will serve again this year as the co-chairpersons of the baking contest. A silent auction will be held for the baked goods after the judging is complete.
A benefit raffle for the museum mill be held and the winners will be drawn at the Pioneer Day Celebration. Raffle tickets are on sale now at the museum and from museum board members. First place will be a new washer and dryer set donated by David Speer who is the owner of the Orange Grove Laundromat near the car wash. Second place will be a Las Vegas style slot machine donated by museum volunteer curator, Cliff Kesinger. Other prizes will also be included in the raffle.
A washer pitching contest will take place. Mr. Bradley Myers will be the chairperson for the Orange Grove Pioneer Days Washer Pitching Tournament There will be a children’s division and an adult division. The washer pitching tournament will take place out in the middle of the street beginning at approximately 11:30 a.m. Registration will take place before the tournament in front of the museum.
Gabe Rodriguez of Premier Auto Collision Center and the Bulldog Street Rods Classic Car Club will be sponsoring a classic car show in downtown Orange Grove. Classic car owners from near and far are expected to display their cars and enter them into the various competitions which will be awarded late in the day. If you are interested in the Classic Car Show, please call Rodriguez at 384-0091.
The Centennial Celebration held in conjunction with Pioneer Days is set to be perhaps the largest celebration in Orange Grove’s history. And a great way for area residents to ring in the next 100 years.