January 28th, 2013
and the Southern Stringline Band
are selling quickly!
The preview performance at the Corkyard generated quite a bit of interest. We immediately started selling tickets online (http://jefferson-texas.us/Lacie) and over the phone.
One phone call was from a gentleman whose wife and friends from out of town saw Lacie’s preview and want to come back for the concert, from Brownsville! Brownsville is 9 – 10 hours away. I guess they were impressed!
We really appreciate all of you who pre-purchase your tickets. Your early action helps us plan the event. We can foresee how to set up seating, whether or not to partition the room, what kind of refreshments to offer, etc.
You see, pre-selling tickets for any event in Jefferson is tough.
Everyone knows that no venue is likely to sell out! Most people show up at the door. We certainly do not discourage anyone from buying tickets at the door. Every audience member is important to our success. But, if you are able to plan ahead and pre-purchase your tickets we are most appreciative.
June 2nd, 2012
I have lived here for over three years and am still struck by how much goes on in this town of 1800+ people. Today, Saturday, I helped judge a state sanctioned BBQ cook off (tough job!), and we had a couple hundred Corvettes in town for their car show. Locals were walking around town in 1870s costumes, as we do every Saturday, September through the first weekend in June, just to entertain and help tourists navigate to what they want to see. And, we reenacted a shootout that actually happened in Jefferson in the 1870s, complete with loud firearms, a sheriff, an undertaker, and a few costumed bystanders to help manage the crowd.
All the above happened along with the everyday things we offer for tourists, horsedrawn buggy rides, a historic steam train, one of the nation’s largest and most intricate model train layouts (sole occupant in its own building), antebellum home tours, four museums, great restaurants, unique shops, riverboat tours, etc., ad infinitum.
I really love this town.
April 22nd, 2012
I am fascinated by the English language, which is a good thing, because I have not had much success at mastering any other.
Now that I have been transplanted to Texas, I am having the time of my life relishing the differences between American West Coast English and East Texas English. In particular, I love learning new words and phrases.
Fixin’ to – pronounced as one word, has been claimed as the Texas state verb. It is certainly plain, understandable, and unambiguous. Despite its awkward written form, I find it a concise and usable verbal alternative to “I am about to” or I am preparing to.”
I suppose everyone in America has heard and understands “howdy.” Here in East Texas the word is commonly used and is not considered an indication of illiteracy or lack of higher education. I was never surprised to hear it, even as a newcomer. What surprised me was the common follow up, “Are you Awright?” This question is used in the same way I am accustomed to using “How are you?” To a new arrival this Texas version seems too direct, invasive, almost worrisome (do I look like I am having trouble?! – what makes you think I am NOT all right?). And to make things worse, they expect an answer! East Texans take time. There is always time to answer the question. They will listen. I don’t care if you are standing in the street in pouring rain at 30-degrees, your neighbors want to know if you are “awright.” Don’t be rude. Stop, answer, ask about their health, and listen. Don’t run off. If it takes an hour, so be it.
I suppose I don’t even have to mention “Y’all” other than to defend its use in polite society. It works. It is clear and efficient. Why not use it? I do stumble over “All Y’all” but that can be dealt with in another post.
My favorite is a word I had never heard before coming to Texas, “tumped.” It is a combination of tipped and dumped, or spilled (never “spilt”, that is another region entirely, deeper South or the UK). If you get tumped over, you not only fell, you were spilled from your conveyance and probably ended up in dirt, mud or water. it seems people often get tumped from their boat and children often tump their milk.
Honorable mention has to go to the single word that conveys the most. This one is submitted by my lovely wife, Ellen. “Scombe.” Meaining, “It is going to be”, as in, Scombe a gully washer by mornin’.
I am still on the lookout for more examples of this wonderful language with which we all struggle.
March 22nd, 2012
An unusual thing is happening in Jefferson.
While our little town suffers through political turmoil (resignations from our police chief and city manager, outcry against the mayor, and unhappy city employees all around), our local business people are finding ways to help themselves. We have discovered COOPERATION and generosity.
You probably don’t know that Jefferson, Texas is a little town of about 1800 people (the city limits sign says 2012, but that is a known overstatement) in northeast Texas. Our thriving retail, restaurant, and bed and breakfast community survives on tourism. An average weekend in Jefferson will see 1000 – 3000 tourists, some from close by, some from out of state or even international origins. Our Mardi Gras attracts 12000 – 15000 people. Pilgrimage and candlelight Tour weekends bring 5000 – 7000 visitors. and for one incredible weekend each year we host 30000 – 40000 bikers for the Boo Benefit Motorcycle Run. While most Texas tourist towns are suffering declines, we are seeing a constant increase in visitors and spending.
Are we lucky? Yes, of course. But also, we are hard working and imaginative. We work to bring new people to town.
Recently we found a powerful tool to help all of us. We have our local neighboring businesses to help us. We promote each other.
Businesses like the Historic Jefferson Railway use their marketing expertise to promote plays and fundraisers in town. Organizers and owners of small businesses share their email lists and send out announcements for other businesses. Our four theatre companies cooperate to produce a spectacular Theatre Festival (1st two weekends in August). Volunteers, the Riverport ambassadors, take to the streets, dressed in period costumes, to hand out fliers, give directions, entertain, and recommend restaurants.
We work together to keep our city and our businesses alive and thriving.
I am so proud of Jefferson and the people who help themselves by helping others. Way to go Jefferson!