Whether a dozen or a thousand showed, event coordinator Shirley O’Neil said Saturday would have been a success.
She didn’t have a estimate on the attendance to downtown for this past weekend’s Living History Celebration but described it as “sparsely attended.”
“I am not disappointed,” she said. “It was a success before it ever even started.
“We didn’t have a whole a lot of vendors, but we had such enthusiasm.
“I was excited to begin with, and I am still excited.”
A highlight of the event – an effort coordinated with the Bee County Historical Society, City of Beeville and Beeville Main Street – was the speakers.
Numerous historians – or in some cases just lifelong residents – were invited to share their stories.
“The speakers all had full houses when they spoke,” she said.
“The ballet folklorico and mariachis had tons of people there — in relative terms.”
The crowd, she said, was dedicated to the event.
“From a participation and enjoyment aspect, it was 100 percent,” she said. “It was just a very small percent.
“One of the statements that Lillian made which was so true was that there has been nothing but positive energy all day. There was no negativism from the vendors.”
Lillian Casper, along with Balde Galvan, were two of the Native American dancers at the festival. They not only built a village but danced traditional steps throughout the day.
Galvan even had a trading area — which children at the event monopolized.
“The kids had a ball,” she said. “The Native Americans did so much with them.
“The kids would take bugs and snails — anything they could find on the ground — and they were taking it over to trade with Balde.”
That afternoon, Balde performed what was called a candy dance. Think of it like an Indian version of musical chairs.
Plans are already underway for next year — well, at least they are in O’Neil’s head.
She hopes to attract local musicians who play some of the older instruments for performances. She adds that even a cowboy singer or two would be a welcome addition.
“I think that is something people will come and listen to,” she said. “I would like to bring in a little of the Irish heritage — maybe bring in cloggers.”
She isn’t going to overdo it and grow too quickly though.
“Each year, I would like to add one little extra thing. You can’t do it all at once,” she said. “We have no shortage of ideas.”
Planning will begin next month for next year’s festival — after everyone recovers from this year.
“Honestly, if we would have taken one more step Saturday, we would have gone down like dominoes,” she said.
Next year, she says, will be even bigger though.
“People who missed it this year, don’t want to miss this next year.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.