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The Texas Hill Country, sun splashed hills rolling into the distance, is home to historic towns bursting with character, personalities, and great things to do. Looking for a fun weekend with festivals, fairs, shopping, food, sightseeing, and more? The Hill Country Current is full of articles, advertising and special events.
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Sha-Boom Sha-Boom
The Return of Kingsland's Aqua Boom

Wow! Can you believe it’s already time for Aqua Boom 2011? The 42nd Annual Aqua Boom will be held on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, July 2nd-4th.

The Annual Miss Aqua Boom Scholarship Pageant will be held on Saturday, June 25th with categories from Little Mister to Miss Aqua Boom. The scholarship awarded to Miss Aqua Boom is $3500... one of the biggest scholarships in our area.

The Golf Tournament and Flights of Fancy Remote Airplane shows will be moved to the weekend of the 4th adding to the event list for the big weekend.

In addition to the Annual Chili and Barbeque Cook-offs, we will be adding a Steak Cook-off this year. You can expect music, arts & crafts, parades, water events, fish fry, patriotic concert, wild west shows, children’s activities, and street dances! We try to load this weekend with events so that visitors and members of our community can find entertainment and a great family celebration weekend here in the Hill Country.

With the current economy, finding fun close to home is an added bonus. It takes a lot of people to pull off an event like this and Aqua Boom is the “Granddaddy” of all the Hill Country celebrations since it has been in existence for 42 years.

Come join us for the fun. We have a blast. We’ll be looking for you!

Aqua Boom Schedule

All events subject to change.

VETERANS’ DINNER AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: Saturday, June 18th 5:30pm (RSVP/tickets required, limited seating) 3435 Highway 1431 West, Kingsland, TX. The Community of Kingsland reaches out and says Thank You to area Veterans with this special dinner and presentation. The cost is free to Veterans and spouses, but seating is limited. Tickets will be issued on a first-come basis, and can be obtained by calling the church office (325-388-4507) or emailing kingslandveterans@yahoo.com. Be sure to clearly state your address for mailing tickets. Deadline for reservations: June 12th, 2011, or earlier if all seats are filled.

FISH FRY: Saturday, July 2nd 1:30pm-5:30pm at THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, 3435 Highway 1431 West, Kingsland, TX. Come support our Volunteer Fire Department! This long-standing tradition raises funds for much-needed equipment, by serving the best fried fish in the Hill Country. This year will feature more serving lines to reduce wait time.

PATRIOTIC CONCERT: Saturday, July 2nd 6:00pm - SANCTUARY OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH Admission: free. The intense enthusiasm and energy of our Annual Patriotic Concert has become as much a part of Aqua Boom as the fireworks! This year, our combined community choir will be presenting America - We Must Not Forget, a new work that unashamedly proclaims the heritage of our country, and the need to return to what made us great. As part of this concert, we will honor our police, firefighters and veterans.

GOSPEL SING: Sunday, July 3rd 6:00pm AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH (something new!) Admission: free. Part of our wonderful musical heritage is Gospel Music. This year we are pleased to present area singers, quartets and groups in a musical experience that should keep your toes tapping for weeks. You’ll get to sing-a-long with us as we reintroduce timeless favorites. Contact The First Baptist Church (325-388-4507) if you are interested in participating.

AQUA BOOM PAGEANT: The 2011 Miss Aqua Boom Scholarship Pageant will be held on June 25th, 2011 at the Kingsland Community Center. Residents of Llano and Burnet Counties will be participating in the event, girls ages 2 thru 18 and boys ages 4 to 7. Winner of the Miss Aqua Boom division (ages 15 to 18) will be awarded a $3,500 scholarship. Ages 2 thru 11 will compete in on stage question, casual and dressy wear. Ages 12 thru 18 will compete in casual and dress wear, interview, essay and talent. The winners of Teeny Tiny Miss, Tiny Miss, Little Miss, Little Mister, Young Miss and Teen Miss will be awarded a savings bond. Teeny Tiny Miss, Tiny Miss, Little Miss, Little Mister and Young Miss Pageants - 2:00pm; Teen Miss Aqua Boom - 6:30pm; Miss Aqua Boom Pageant - 8:00pm.

FLIGHTS OF FANCY: An exhibition of radio controlled model aircraft for the public to enjoy at Hank Nilsen Model Aircraft Field. This event will be Saturday, July 2nd, 9am-2pm. There will be continuous flight demonstrations by club pilots. Youngsters ages 16 and younger can take the controls with the experienced instructors. There will be a drawing for a free Remote Control Aircraft. Static displays, refreshments available, free admission. The Highland Lakes Flyers, Inc. flying site, named Hank Nilsen Field, is located near Kingsland, Texas. Traveling north on FM 1431, turn right on RR 2545 by the Ace Hardware and Building Supply and drive 1.8 miles to Limestone Street. Turn left on Limestone, go approximately one quarter mile and turn left again. Look for signs pointing towards the field. Street address is 702 Williamette.

AQUA BOOM GOLF TOURNAMENT: This will be a lot of fun, one day of golf. Three person scramble, men’s teams, woman’s team or mixed team. Tee off on Saturday, July 2nd, with a shotgun start at 1:00pm. Food will be provided and cash prizes for winning teams, also closest to the pin on all par three’s and player pool. All proceeds will benefit the fireworks display on July 4th.

SEA-DOO RAFFLE: Here’s your chance to become the proud owner of a 2011 Viper Red GTI ™ SE 130 SEA-DOO™. Not only does it have a 130 HP 4-stroke engine, this year’s model has a braking system and learning key! Enjoy the crowd’s envy as you drive away with you your prize attached to its very own SEA-DOO™ Trailer. Valued at over $9,000 its an investment worth making-raffle tickets are selling for $5 each or 5 for $20 and are available from the Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, Directors and Aqua Boom chair as well as at many local businesses. Tickets will also be sold non-stop at the Aqua Boom festivities. Sponsored by Highland Lakes Watercraft in Kingsland and the Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, proceeds benefit the Aqua Boom Fireworks show. Be the lucky winner and have your name be announced on KBAY 92.5FM, Monday night, July 4th just prior to the fireworks display.

POKER RUN: Play poker Aqua Boom style-from your own boat! This very popular event begins Sunday, July 3rd. Bring a boat load (must be over 21), and enjoy the fun. Early registration is encouraged at the Kingsland Community Park, just off Euele Moore Drive. Registration begins at 10:00am, and no registration after 3pm. Armed with a map, a number and a wish of good luck, players take their boats and travel the lake looking for the winning hand! There are five water front locations; this is not a race, so proceed at your leisure and enjoy the lake. Return to Kingsland Community Park before 4pm with your best 5 best card hand. Payout is high-hand and low-hand cash prize. For more information contact, Chris Carl at 325-423-0567, or at the Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, 325-388-6211.

Parades

Childrens: Monday, July 4th - Children’s Parade will start at the HairWay 1431 (corner 1431/2900) Farmers Insurance Agency and will end once the child has passed ‘May I Help You’. The children may go all the way to the school if they wish to join the Land Parade. Registration is from 8am until 8:15am-each entry will be given a registration slip to fill out. When they turn in the slip they will be given a number and a participation ribbon-one per child area. After 8:15am no more registration slips will be handed out. All those showing up after this point will have to stand in designated area away from the line up (behind caution tape). Judging will start at 8:30am. Please watch for the pull through area to drop off your children. Only those children who have registered will be judged. Celebrate 4th of July by decorating bicycles, wagons, golf carts and yourself! All children will receive tickets to the Children’s Activities at Packsaddle Elementary. For more information contact Sharon and Frank Willingham 325-388-0207 or Linda and Bill Tumlinson 903-571-4426.

Land: Let’s show the community what we can do for the 42nd year of the Aqua Boom celebration in Kingsland by entering the land parade scheduled for 10:00am on Monday July 4th. Lineup at Packsaddle Elementary School(Please follow designated parking areas), begins at 8:00am, with judging of the entries starting at 9:00am. Categories will be (1) non-profit organizations; (2) commercial; (3) vehicles; and (4) animals. Lineup for the parade will be a one-way in off Hwy 2900, follow the signs. From the school the parade will exit out Pioneer Drive on to Euele Moore with the parade route continuing up Euele Moore Drive back to Hwy 2900 down to red light on 1431 and back around Euele Moore and entering up Pioneer (one way) and you can leave out onto Hwy 2900.(Just reversed from parade start) We ask for break down of floats to pull back in parking lots to break them down. Please DO NOT BLOCK main roadway. So decorate your puppy, golf carts, floats and vehicles; or line up along the route and wave the flag to the support of the celebration of the 4th of July. If you have any questions, please call Charlotte Dilworth, 512-755-4865 or 325-388-0733, or Kingsland Chamber of Commerce at 325-388-6211.

Boat: Boat owners show their colors and creativity during the Aqua Boom Boat Parade. Lineup is at the Kingsland Community Park at 5:30pm on July 4th, with the parade waving their pride along the shores of the Llano River. Spectator viewing will be anywhere between the Kingsland Community Park and past the 2900 Bridge. For more information, contact Willie Fry 830- 385-9092 or Kingsland Chamber of Commerce at 325-388-6211.

COW’OGRAPERS WILD WEST SHOW: Cow’ographers Wild West Entertainers will once again be a highlighted event for Aqua Boom 2011. The Good, The Bad, and the very Pretty In the Spirit of the Old West will arrive at Packsaddle Elementary grounds to set up their Old West town. The Brazos Bottom Cow’ographers is one of the largest gunfighter groups in Texas, and the only traveling group that brings 40- 50 performers, over 100 feet of street front, and literally hundreds of props to every show. The actors vary in age, from babies to wise life experienced men and women. The performers are sincere in their mission and great to know personally. The shows consist of historic, comedic, and fictional sketches, all performed in the spirit of the old west. This year they will include some of the Kingsland History in their performances. The Cow’ographers are busy most weekends of the year traveling throughout Texas performing the very best of Old West story telling and gun fights, along with a gun safety program for the children. This well sought after group for festivals all over the state have been recognized by the Texas State House of Representatives for preserving the history of the Old West. Performers will stage three shows Saturday, July 2nd and Sunday, July 3rd at 12 noon, 2pm, and 5pm; Monday, July 4th performances are at 12 noon and 2pm. In between shows, actors will be available to sign autographs and talk to the audience. Part of their Mission: “If we have sparked an enduring memory of times gone by, or planted a seed within your children or grandchildren for their own warm memories, then we have done well.” For more information, contact the Kingsland Chamber of Commerce at 325-388-6211.

HORSESHOE PITCH & WASHER TOSS TOURNAMENT: Close does count in Horseshoes and Washers!! Ringers are welcome!! Bring your friends out for the 6th Annual Horseshoe Pitch and Washer Toss Tournament hosted by Kingsland Municipal Utility District and Kingsland Water Supply Corporation, Sunday, July 3rd, 2011 at Kingsland Community Park. Sign-up begins at 11:30am and the tournament will start at 12:00 p.m. There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams. ARTS & CRAFTS: 3 Days of Arts & Crafts vendors from near and far will gather to help celebrate Aqua Boom 2011. One-of-a-kind items, including jewelry and cross-stitch pieces, unique and unusual handmade products that reflect talent, creativity, and skill will be displayed. Saturday, July 2nd and Sunday, July 3rd from 10:00am - 6pm, Monday, July 4th from 10:00am-3:00pm - located at Prosperity Bank on the corner of Hwy 1431 & RR 2900. For more information call: Kimberly Pollock 512-971 - 6740, or Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, 325-388-6211.

BAR-B-Q/CHILI/STEAK COOKOFF: The 3rd Annual Aqua Boom Lone Star Bar-B-Q Society State Championship cook-off will be held on Saturday, July 3rd and the 2nd Annual Chili cook-off. NEW this year is the 1st Annual Steak cookoff! Do you have what it takes to beat the professional cookers? Come out and give it a try. Anyone can cook as long as you don’t have GAS! Bar-B-Q Entries include 1/2 chicken, spare ribs, brisket and beans, with the smokin’ on Saturday morning and judging Saturday afternoon. Payout is $500.00 of Grand Champion of BBQ and $500.00 payout of Steak Grand Champion. Payout to top 3 places in each category. Trophies for top 3 places as well. 1st , 2nd and 3rd Chili Showmanship Trophies Awarded. Join us for a fun day of food and who knows maybe you can beg a bite from a cooker. Also come out and be a judge. Doesn’t pay anything but you do get to eat! The Bar-B-Q/Chili/Steak cook-off will be in Kingsland Community Center. Contact Ron Woodson for more information at 325-956-9912.

CHILDRENS ACTIVITIES: Come, play and win prizes! Age appropriate station/booth games with a water theme involving water activities, prizes, face painting, entertainment and more. Bouncy House, marble pick-up, water slide are just a few of the fun times to be had. Saturday, July 2nd and Sunday, July 3rd, from 10:00am to 4pm at the Packsaddle Elementary School. For more information - Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, 325-388-6211. (events subject to change)

RUBBER DUCKIE RACE: It’s Aqua Boom’s 5th Annual Rubber Duckie Race! The Aqua Boom Committee will be selling tickets right up until the exciting race. Tickets are currently available at our local Businesses. So, wherever you see the ‘Duckie’ signs, you will find your winning ticket! There are only 1,000 tickets to be sold. These little ducks will be dropped from the top of the 2900 bridge on to the water and they are off to the great race Your rubber duckie could be the lucky winner! There will be cash prizes to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners right after the race. What fun!!!

WACKY RAFT RACE: Gather your friends! Sign up your family! Enter your business or place of employment in the Wacky Raft Race. Come join the fun as teams compete for two categories, “Wackiest” and “Fastest”; 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each category. Must float but can’t be a boat! Crew members must remain in the vessels at all times, wearing U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest. Of course, there will be no alcoholic beverages aboard. $10.00 entry fee. Race begins and ends at 2900 Bridge on Sunday, July 4th, 2011. For information contact Drew Gerencer 512-636-4075 or the Kingsland Chamber of Commerce at 325-388-6211.

SKI SHOW: Come see professional and local skiers and wake boarders perform tricks and amazing skiing acts. The show begins at 7:00pm after the Boat Parade on the east side of the 2900 bridge on the Llano River arm of Lake LBJ. This year, Aqua Boom Ski Show will be featuring Malibu Boats as the show tow boat sponsor. Other sponsors of the show will be recognized at the event. Throw out your blankets and chairs, enjoy the action on the water!

KAYAK RACE: It may not be the olympics, but it is time to get your YAK on and paddle to victory! Monday, July 4th, 3:00pm... Enter a family fun kayak race for the athletic, not-so-athletic, young or old. It is a short and fun race sponsored by Just Yakin Kayak rentals. Kayaks will be provided for the race and there will be multiple heats and a cash prize for the winner. The entry fee will be $10. Participants will be required to fill out registration at the event site or at the Kingsland Chamber of Commerce prior to the event. Forms and money will need to be turned into the event center 1 hour prior to race. Race will take place at the property owners park by the 2900 bridge. Just Yakin Kayak rentals will be at the 2900 bridge throughout the weekend renting kayaks, so come enjoy the water!

STREET DANCE: Two Street Dances are planned for this year! Saturday, July 2nd-country with The Shyler D Band, 8:30pm-11:30pm and Sunday, The Instigators with a mix of rock/blues/ country, 8:30pm-11:30pm at American Bank of Texas. Bring your chairs, blankets and your dancing shoes! Music and entertainment will be on stage at the Arts/Crafts event located at Prosperity Bank. Everyone from the young to the younger will enjoy the music from 60’s, country to today.

Fireworks and Music - The Grand Finale

42 Years of Aqua Boom will celebrate in a blaze of glory-literally. The 15 minute fireworks spectacular is just plain awesome and the largest in many years. A professionally orchestrated pyrotechnic display that rivals the best of ‘em and is one of the very few over water. At approximately 9:15pm, on Monday, July 4th, the skies over Kingsland will light up as thousands of admiring spectators watch this technically complicated show launched from the shore of Bridgepoint near the 2900 Bridge. Enjoy the fireworks from land or your boat, tuning in your radio to 92.5FM with synchronized patriotic music for the display and finale. The best place to watch the show is from the 2900 bridge. If that gets too crowded, Kingsland Community Park is another excellent place to watch the show.

All About Kingsland: A Town Full of History

By John Hallowell. This article previously appeared in Texas Hill Country Magazine.

People have always wanted to come to Kingsland. Archaeological evidence shows that for thousands of years before Martin King bequeathed his name to the scenic valley, Indians had regularly visited the banks of the Llano and Colorado Rivers. A Spanish explorer named Bernardo de Miranda led a party of 23 treasure-hunters down the Llano River to “Kingsland” in 1756, but for more than a century thereafter, the rugged hills and fierce inhabitants kept all but the most adventurous from even seeing, let alone settling, this remarkable place “where rivers flow and bluebonnets grow.”

The Texas Hill Country experienced a flood of pioneers in the 1850s and again, after the Civil War in the 1870s. Small settlements sprang up quite close to the junction of the two rivers, including Hoover’s Valley to the east and Packsaddle (also called Gainesville) to the west. According to Joseph Carroll McConnell’s book, The West Texas Frontier, a Methodist preacher named George Wolf lived about a mile west of the Colorado on the Llano River during the 1860s. Wolf’s teenage sons, Hiram and Washington, were attacked by Indians while they were out hunting wild hogs in what is now downtown Kingsland; Hiram was killed, and Washington was held prisoner for quite some time before a posse was able to rescue him. After the famous battle with an Apache raiding party on Packsaddle Mountain in 1873, there were no major Indian depredations, but it was 1879 before the beautiful valley was claimed.

In her book, “Families of Early Kingsland,” Muriel Barnett Jackson tells how Civil War veteran Martin Daniel King and his wife, Nancy Jane (Trussell) left Mississippi for Texas after the war with their three children and a herd of cattle. They eventually settled in Hoover’s Valley, but “when he spied the beautiful land in the cove where the Llano River meets the Colorado, he dreamed of establishing a town there.”

King and his brother-in-law, James Trussell, formed a partnership, bought the land, and began clearing in preparation for building a town. But King himself would not live to see his dream come true; he died in 1883 from injuries suffered two decades earlier during the war. His very capable wife, Nancy Jane, carried on her husband’s dream, forming Pacific Survey Company in 1884 to lay out streets for the town she called “Kingsville.” There were soon forty people living there in fifteen crude houses, served by a small store and a saloon. The first school was a rough log building. A post office was established in 1885.

In 1886, a merchant named William Kenneth Murchison built a large rock building for his mercantile store. After it burned in 1890, it was rebuilt by newcomer John Franklin, who ran a store of his own there for many years. Franklin was an ambitious man who wanted the planned railroad to come through Kingsland. He purchased the store, cotton gin, and blacksmith’s shop which comprised the business district of rival Packsaddle, and moved them to Kingsville. The railroad was built in 1892.

Franklin’s foresightedness paid off enormously for the tiny town. Kingsville’s climate and scenery, along with its excellent hunting and fishing opportunities, turned it into a tourist mecca almost as soon as the railroad arrived. Excursion trains from Austin brought vacationers and cattlemen to the new “hot spot,” and soon the town was known for its live music, dancing, carnivals, and shows. The town’s popularity drew attention from the postal service, since another town already had chosen that name. In 1893, Nancy Jane’s town became Kingsland.

Kingsland rapidly became a center of commerce for a large surrounding area, and many new businesses had arrived by the turn of the century. Camp Pajama was a popular resort, and the Houston & Texas Central Railroad built a fine hotel called The Antlers, complete with annexes and riverside camping facilities. Kingsland had several stores, two barber shops, two blacksmith shops, two cotton gins, and even two weekly newspapers, the Kodak and the Rustler. There was also a busy meat market and a flourishing “granite shed,” run by stonecutter Henry Benton. Four local churches were built and the Baptists, Methodists, Christians, and Pentecostals held joint two-week camp meetings each summer. A new bungalow-type school was built in 1901, at which time the town’s population had reached 750. The King family installed telephone lines in Kingsland shortly thereafter.

It was another technological marvel, the advent of the automobile, that ended Kingsland’s golden era. The first car arrived in Kingsland in 1915, just a year after a wagon bridge had been built next to the railroad bridge across the Colorado River. Two more cars arrived in 1917, but the trickle soon became a flood. As if signaling the beginning of the end for Kingsland’s railroads, a train came off the tracks at “Harwell Shoals, across the river at the rock quarry” in 1919. The ensuing wreck killed the engineer and shocked the town.

While the nation’s economy boomed through the 1920s, Kingsland’s economy nearly shut down. Most of the town’s businesses, including Camp Pajama and The Antlers, were closed (The Antlers was purchased by Thomas Barrow in 1923 for use as a family retreat). The population dropped to just 150 in 1925.

Muriel Barnett Jackson, who was born in Kingsland in 1910 and spent summers at her grandparents home there during her growing-up years, recalls hard times but good lives during those years. “People were poor, but didn’t know it,” she wrote decades later. “The whole town was like one big family. Most everyone owned their home and a little plot of land. Everybody had a cow and chickens and a hog to butcher in the winter; everybody had a garden and a few fruit trees. The rivers were full of fish, and the woods were full of deer, cotton tail rabbits, dove, quail, and wild turkeys. Everyone shared, and nobody went hungry. Our entertainment was simple, but fun; Sunday School and church on Sundays, community singings, box suppers, play parties, and an occasional dance at someone’s house who wasn’t a regular church-goer. We had picnics on the slab, we had ice cream suppers and watermelon parties, we went swimming and rode horses out at the Murchison Ranch. We often ran races and sometimes we had goat ropings.”

Construction of Buchanan Dam provided work during the thirties, and Kingsland enjoyed a brief period of prosperity then, but it was the construction of the Wirtz Dam and the creation of Granite shoals Lake (now Lake LBJ) in 1951 which truly marked a turning point for Kingsland’s economy. Kingsland once again became a popular resort community; Lyndon Johnson himself owned a ranch on the other side of the lake, and could often be seen boating on the lake with his family.

Today, Kingsland is a thriving community of nearly 10,000 people, and all kinds of modern improvements make the town a very comfortable place to visit or live. The old Antlers Hotel was purchased by Dennis and Barbara Thomas in 1993, and re-opened as a luxurious resort along the rails (complete with restored railroad coaches and cabooses for overnight lodgings). Meanwhile, the town is still bordered by water and ringed with beautiful hills, so recreational opportunities and scenic vistas abound. This truly is a land fit for a king, and well worth the short trip for any Texan. Be sure to visit Kingsland this summer!

More from the June 2011 issue More from Kingsland, Texas
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The Texas Hill Country, sun splashed hills rolling into the distance, is home to historic towns bursting with character, personalities, and great things to do.
Looking for a fun weekend with festivals, fairs, shopping, food, sightseeing, and more? The Hill Country Current is full of articles, advertising and special events.
© 2014 Hill Country Current
Phone 830-598-6740 • Fax 830-833-4246
P.O. Box 429, 714 4th St. #102, Blanco, TX 78606-0429
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