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Half Moon festival brings out families (Video)

By By Caty Hirst - CHIRST@VICAD.COM
July 7, 2012 at 2:07 a.m.

Mike Brooks and Perk Perkins of the Halletsville Good Hope Riders control a mini horse carraige during the Half Moon Holidays parade.

SHINER - In near 100-degree temperatures, very little can get entire families to spend the day outside.

On Saturday, however, hundreds battled the heat with ice chests, umbrellas, lawn chairs, sweat towels and even squirt guns -- all to enjoy the 33rd annual Half Moon Holidays in Shiner.

"Even though I hate summer, I hate the heat, I am ready to go to the park every year. I like the stands - jewelry, crafts, the pretty horses," said Theresa Casares, of Shiner. "I get excited like the kids, even my husband does. He gets more into it than I do."

Casares sat on a towel by the side of the road, a large umbrella in hand to shield her grandchildren from the hot sun, while they ran from the street to the sidewalk and back, catching candy from parade floats.

"I come out to see the parade. I like everything about the parade. The pretty ladies, the pretty floats, the float music -- I like to get up and dance."

Like many of the other families, Casares uses the event each year as an excuse to get her family to Shiner, when her grandchildren and great grandchildren come down from Austin to spend the weekend.

"My children want to come see the parade, the different floats, the old-timey cars. They like to meet their old friends here," said Crystal Casares, Theresa Casares' granddaughter, of Austin.

That is the main purpose of the Half Moon Holidays, said Katie Williams, office manager for the Shiner Chamber of Commerce, who planned the day.

"I love just getting together, getting to see people you maybe haven't seen in years, sometimes longer. It is just a great reason to get together," Williams said.

The Holidays are named after the original settlement of Shiner, which was called Half Moon, Williams said. The Holidays are a way to remember Shiner's history and bring the community together.

Karen Raab, of Moulton, said she remembers coming to events like this when she was a child. Now, she said, it is time to bring the grandchildren.

"It gives the kids a clean outlet for some good, clean family fun," she said, as she helped her grandson, Evan, 3, hunt for candy.

Evan competed with the big kids on the side of the parade for the candy, as those on the floats, fire trucks, H-E-B cart and police cars tossed it to spectators.

You have to be fast, Evan said, to get the candy.

"Yea, I'm fast," he said confidently, his bucket of candy affirming his speed.

The event even draws people from out of the area, Williams said, from places such as Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

Bridgette Harmon, of Houston, brought her children to the Half Moon Holidays because they had never seen a parade - not even on TV. Abby, her daughter, especially loved the floats.

Williams said they get this kind of traffic mostly by word-of-mouth.

"It is just known -- everyone knows that you come home this weekend in July," Williams said. "They bring a friend, and then they bring a friend . The citizens of Shiner welcome and really open their arms to people who aren't from here and show them where to go."

The day included a 5K fun run, the parade downtown, craft booths, fireworks and a street dance.

In October, Williams said they will have their annual cook-off. Normally, it is scheduled during the Half Moon Holidays, but they pushed it back this year because of the heat.

"We are just extending the Half Moon Holidays until October," Willliams said, laughing.

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