Celebrate the culture of South Texas and northeastern Mexico at the Museum of South Texas History’s 29th Pioneer & Ranching Crafts Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. This annual festival showcases regional pioneer, ranching and indigenous heritage through a variety of demonstrations, cuisine and musical entertainment.
The tortilla, a staple of regional cuisine, is featured this year, so expect fun activities like the “Corn or Flour?” Tortilla Voting Wall, free taco felt craft and Try on Tortillas where you and your family can wrap yourself into one big taco. Historic tortilla presses, a corn grinder and metate will be on display, and a MOSTHistory Collection Series video will expand your knowledge about tortilla history. And, don’t forget to complete and turn in your answers for the Tortilla Scavenger Hunt, found at the main admissions counter, for a special prize.
Demonstrators, family activities and vendors representing traditional homestead and ranching skills are the backbone of Pioneer & Ranching Crafts Day. Free samples of fresh made tortillas and churned butter will be served by museum staff, and the Garcia Trail Riders will be on hand to serve free trail drive chili.
Demonstrations of beeswax candle making, knitting, leather crafts, wood carving, wood burning, basket weaving, cro-hooking, holistic healing methods, soap making, drop spindle spinning, treadle spinning, cotton carding, shearing and weaving will spark the imaginations of children and provide visitors with appreciation for the work of people of the past—and for the modern amenities we enjoy today.
Visitors to the performance tent will be swaying to the beats of live bands, folklórico dancers and mariachis. Edinburg North High School Mariachi Oro will kick off the festivities followed by South Padre Island favorite, the Good Times Band. Put on your dancing boots and cut a rug to the musical stylings of the Texas Sweethearts, from Weslaco, and Edinburg hometown country band Matt and the Herdsmen.
Q’in It Up BBQ, Qweenie’s RGV, Emmanuel Banquets returning with traditional guisados en olla de barro tacos and nieve Mexicana and E&B Elotes dishing up antojitos mexicanos including whole roasted corn, corn in a cup, mango en flor, cocos en vaso and fresas con crema. Mary T’s Pan de Campo will be selling cowboy favorites, the Rodriguez Sisters will be selling their delicious pozole, tamales and tostadas, and La Mexicana Bakery will have all of your favorite pan dulce. And, pair these delicious foods with a soda or agua fresca sold by the Boy Scouts.
Vendors, in addition to the Museum Store, include embroidered jewelry by Cinco Hearts Wildflowers, handmade jewelry by Zahir Designs, dreamcatchers by M&M Merchandise, Iba Sisters Handmade, Details and Gifts, Wood Master Wood Works, La Semilla Shop and Mesquite Woodworks. There is no need to worry if you forget cash. Lone Star National Bank is hosting its mobile ATM truck on the museum grounds.
Free activities this year include an animal track matching game, rótulo painting sheet, living history re-enactors, cowboy roping by T.J. Tijerina, knot tying by Boy Scouts, horse rides by Garcia Trail Riders, sewing by the RGV Sewing Guild, rock petroglyph painting, Try On History bonnets and pockets, and ceramic pot throwing by the South Texas College Ink and Clay Club.
There will also be free educational activities by the UTRGV CHAPS program, the East Foundation and Texas Wildlife Association, Texan Native Americans, Los Liberadores, Bee Strong Honey, native animals from the Gladys Porter Zoo, survivalist skills, native plants from the Texas Master Naturalist program and children’s book reading by author Patty York Raymond and UTRGV Book Buzz.
Admission fees to Pioneer & Ranching Crafts are $8 for adults (ages 18+); $6 for seniors with ID (ages 62+), active military and students with ID (ages 13+); $5 for children (ages 4 to 12) and free for children ages 3 and younger.