Bootfest blasts off with music, fireworks (video)
Oct. 5, 2012 at 5:05 a.m.
Updated Oct. 6, 2012 at 5:06 a.m.
The little girls chased each other in Texas A&M boots; the teenager strolled around in her sparkly red boots; the dad stood steady in his old work boots.
They wore boots with jeans, skirts, dresses, leggings and shorts. There were brown boots, black, pink and flower-patterned boots.
Bootfest is back in Victoria for the second year. And bigger than before, said LaRue Roth, director of the Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"The crowd tonight is 100 times more than it was last year," Roth said. "It is catching on and people are really starting to hear about it."
Trent and Erin Koenig, of Inez, came to Bootfest for the first time to see friends and let their children play.
Standing in the shade at DeLeon Plaza watching their two boys, ages 4 and 2, run around in their boots, Trent Koenig said Bootfest is a place both kids and adults can have a good time.
"Victoria needs some sort of festival like this so the people can get together. We are seeing people we haven't seen in a while," he said, enjoying the music by Scott Taylor Band playing in the background.
Their friends, Bianca and Cody Horton, of Victoria, came to Bootfest for the first time with their two girls.
"It is something to do here, locally," Bianca Horton said. "And it gets people downtown. I've always enjoyed downtown and to be able to show that off, to have the community come together here, is really great."
Brandon Luna, an East High School senior, decided on Friday that Bootfest is a fun place for teens to hang out, too. Though he did not come in 2011, Brandon heard from friends that he should give it a shot this year.
"It gives us something to do and it brings us all together," he said, standing around with his buddies.
On Friday in 2011, Bootfest had an estimated crowd of 4,000, Roth said. She guessed this year's crowd probably doubled that, saying that having two stages, more bands and the fireworks on Friday helped grow the crowd.
"It was dead a lot last year, when there wasn't music. If you don't have music, it is just dead," Roth said.
But it wasn't just the actual crowds that grew, Roth said, the virtual ones did as well.
Victoria's website normally generates 1,200 visitors a month. The city's site on Thursday, however, had 1,200 visitors.
Cody Horton said he and his family would come back next year.
"Victoria hasn't had something like this before, besides last year," Cody Horton said. "It is good for the community, the local businesses ... I don't see a downside to it."