Shiner hosts Half Moon Holidays
Aug. 30, 2014 at 3:20 p.m.
Updated Sept. 1, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.
SHINER - Noelia Maldonado is one face in a sea of many enjoying themselves at Shiner's annual Half Moon Holiday.
The Mexican-American's family has been in the food-truck business for about 40 years under the name Lupita's or Lerma's.
"I started helping my mom when I was 5 years old, so I knew math before I was in kindergarten," Maldonado said.
Her family has not only made appearances at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo but also on the Food Network.
At the Shiner Half Moon Holiday, people were clamoring for Maldonado's agua frescas, flavored with pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe and lime.
"It quenches your thirst better than a bottled water," she said.
The fruit-flavored water is not the only popular item she sells. Funnel cakes are also crowd pleasers.
She plugged the bottom of a funnel with her index finger and filled it up with batter before dumping it into a deep fryer.
That's how she makes funnel cakes, which take 45 seconds on each side before they're due to be flipped over with the tongs.
"If you're smiling and acting like you want to be here, everyone will come up," she said.
Nicole Boedeker, 40, has been enjoying the festivities for as long as she can remember.
She was on her third bottle of water after judging the salsa contest.
"Some were sweet, and some were really spicy," she said as her three children played nearby.
Next up - judging the margarita contest.
"Now that, I'll be an expert at," she said while chuckling.
Already, her husband, a baseball coach at Shiner High School, had taken his turn in the dunk tank, which the kids loved.
"We'll be back tomorrow," Boedeker said.
Hailey Steinocher and Julie Boehm, event co-chairwomen, and a team of volunteers spent countless hours putting everything together.
For the first time, they used a booking agent to recruit the musical entertainment of Chad Sullins, the Rankin Twins, Los Kolaches, Zane Williams and Charlie Robison.
"Before, we were going in blind," Steinocher said. "We're just excited to carry on the tradition."
The Half Moon Holiday fell by the wayside for a bit as Bocktoberfest took all their energy.
The now-defunct Bocktoberfest was a music festival sponsored by the Spoetzl Brewery. Thousands of spectators from across the state attended annually. After several years, the brewery stopped the festival because it had outgrown the community.
Now, Half Moon is growing again.
"We're exponentially growing every year," Boehm said.
Hosted the first weekend of July, it offers a carnival, a horseshoe and washers tournament, margarita, salsa and pie contests, an auction; a parade; and a 5K and 10K fun run.
It caps off with 10- to 15-minute fireworks display sponsored by the Spoetzl Brewery.
Melanie Nevlud, now 39, was the Junior Miss Shiner in 1988 and remembers how the close-knit community kept coming together to host something special.
"The fireworks show is the highlight. The brewery really treats us well," she said.