The dates for this year’s event are September 17 through 18.
Organizers say they try to have something for everyone at the annual event, which takes place at the Karnes County Youth Show Barn grounds on Highway 181 between Karnes City and Kenedy.
Now in its nineteenth year, the Lonesome Dove Fest has grown from a gathering of dove hunters in a Coy City hay patch to an event recently described as the “South Texas Expo” by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Education Coordinator Steve Hall.
The annual festival combines education, outdoors activities and entertainment for nearly 10,000 visitors.
Lonesome Dove Fest Youth Day presents educational mini-seminars on a variety of different topics to more than 300 high school students from area schools.
The success of Lonesome Dove Fest has allowed the Rotary to award 12 scholarships to seniors from each of Karnes County’s four high schools, including two scholarships specifically dedicated to vocational students.
The Lonesome Dove Fest Parade traditionally starts at 10 a.m. Saturday morning on Calvert Street in Karnes City. Parade floats, bands and other participants will travel through the heart of downtown Karnes City, weather permitting. The Lonesome Dove Fest Parade has become a traditional annual event enjoyed by folks of all ages.
Musical entertainment is always a big part of Lonesome Dove Fest. The music starts Friday evening under a huge, 14,400 square-foot air-conditioned tent. Musical entertainment continues on Saturday leading up to a Saturday night dance featuring top-notch musical entertainment.
Just before that, the live auction will take place under the tent at 9 p.m.
Music is just part of the entertainment planned for the crowds.
There will be lots of things for people of all ages to enjoy.
In past years, Lonesome Dove Fest has featured numerous exhibits and arts and crafts booths, cook-off, a stick horse rodeo, laser tag, miniature train rides, face painting and clowns.
A wide variety of entertainment is presented, such as wildlife shows, snake handling shows, trick roping, gunfighter shows, dance groups and a wide variety of other entertainment.
The A&J Snake Handlers, who have been featured at past Lonesome Dove Fests, will present live rattlesnake shows in the tent between noon and 6 p.m.
The Kid Camo Contest is an annual part of the event where kids dress up in their best camouflage to compete for top honors. Another traditional part of the event is the Boy Scouts versus 4-H Youth Shoot.
The team shoot provides an opportunity for shooting teams to compete for prizes and bragging rights, and, for those interested in hunting, a day hunt with area landowners.
The traditional Celebrity Shoot traditionally happens on Saturday afternoon.
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department continues to support the Fest, providing competitive shooting equipment and the Laser Shoot as well as exhibits for Youth Day.
“This is not just for hunters,” Rotarian Randy Witte emphasized, “but for families – for everybody!”
Organizers say they rely on some fantastic sponsors to have a festival on this scale. When sponsors come to the grounds and see entire families being entertained, they get very interested. Club members said that any success or growth the event has enjoyed over the years is directly associated with the generosity of these sponsors.
For more information on the 19th Lonesome Dove Fest, including schedules and applications for the team shoot and cook-off, go to www.lonesomedovefest.com or call 830-780-3314 or 830-780-2670.