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Living history program draws a swarm of Texans to Goliad fort (w/video)

By Carolina Astrain
March 29, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated March 28, 2014 at 10:29 p.m.

The Mexican soldiers fire cannons during the second skirmish during the 29th annual Goliad Massacre Re-enactment at the Presidio La Bahia. during the 29th annual Goliad Massacre Re-enactment

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: 29th annual Goliad Massacre - Fort Defiance Living History Program

• WHEN: 10 a.m. Sunday, memorial service and pilgrimage to the Fannin Memorial

WHERE: Presidio La Bahia, U.S. Highway 183 (U.S. Highway 77A), Goliad

COST: Ages 12-59, $4; ages 6-11, $1 ; ages 60 and up, $3.50; children 5 and younger are free. The candlelit tour is an additional $2 per person.

For more information, call 361-645-3752, fax 361-645-1706, email presidiolabahia@goliad.net or visit presidiolabahia.org.

GOLIAD - Amanda Martin watched as spectators walked through the re-enactment camp at Presidio La Bahia, just outside of Goliad.

She smiled as schoolchildren stopped to look at the artifacts displayed at her tent.

"It's nice to see a large crowd," Martin said.

The 29th annual Goliad Massacre - Fort Defiance Living History Program drew more than 3,000 attendees Saturday to the Presidio La Bahia Museum grounds to watch the re-enactments of battles between the Mexican and Texas armies.

A total of 239 re-enactment actors gathered for the event.

Cars lined the shoulders along the main road to the museum's entrance, and the parking lots were packed.

The scent of sunblock wafted through the crowds sitting on the grass as some watched the battle scenes from the top of a tree.

In 1836, 342 Texas soldiers were massacred by the Mexican army after Col. James Walker Fannin Jr. surrendered to the Mexican army at the Battle of Coleto.

The Goliad Massacre is scheduled for re-enactment Sunday.

Cannons boomed during one of the battle re-enactments.

Swords clashed.

Katie McBride, 10, sat next to her fourth-grade classmates from London Elementary, located near Corpus Christi, as actors mounted on chestnut horses passed her by.

"It's like you're really back in time," Katie said. "I love history."

A blanket was spread out where she and her teacher, Peggy Keaton, sat.

Keaton said the field trip to see the Goliad Massacre is the highlight of the school year for fourth-grade students.

"So far, they've made rope inside the camp, practiced calligraphy and watched some of the actors make sugar," Keaton said. "It's really hands-on."

Inside the museum, Victor Alcocer, a Corpus Christi resident, read a plaque dedicated to Francita Alvarez, who saved the lives of several Texas soldiers by slipping them out of the fort before the massacre.

Alvarez is known as the Angel of Goliad.

"She was a great woman," said Alcocer, a first-generation Mexican-American. "She was brave for following her husband to Texas."

Outside at the re-enactment camp, Martin felt the wind blow against her blue, striped colonial dress.

She pondered the evening's meal and a Dutch oven bread pudding recipe she developed herself.

Her secret ingredient is butterscotch schnapps.

Martin has been re-enacting history with her husband for the last 15 years.

"I got interested in this because I'm a fifth-generation Texian," Martin said. "One of my ancestors fought at the Alamo."

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