This year marks the 180th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo and several local organizations have teamed up to honor the iconic battle with commemorative events with events starting this Tuesday, Feb. 23 through Sunday, March 6.
“It’s going to be a nice integrative approach (to) teaching the history of the Alamo,” said Brittany Eck, press secretary for the Texas General Land Office.
Daily events will take place in front of the Alamo and will include living history reenactments and readings of news stories, historic speeches, and letters that took place on that day 180 years ago. For a complete list of events and more information, click here.
Each actor will be dressed in period clothing and assume a historical identity that they’ve previously researched.
“The living history folks that provide those demonstrations really enjoy interacting with children and families of all ages and being able to answer their questions about what it was like to live back in the 1830s,” Eck said.
Other interactive demonstrations will feature letter writing with quill and ink, popular children’s toys and games from the period, and an opportunity to learn about and view firearms of the Texas Revolution.
Participating organizations involved in the events include the Texas General Land Office and the San Antonio Living History Association among others.
The 180th anniversary programming also includes five special events. You can read more information on the events below.
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m.
During the first night of battle in 1836, William B. Travis wrote the now-famous “Victory or Death” letter, calling for reinforcements to be sent to the Alamo, and sent courier Albert Martin across Texas to deliver it. The event on Feb. 24 will not only recreate the writing of the letter, but also the letter handoff, beginning Martin’s journey.
Scott McMahon, director of Presidio La Bahia in Goliad, Texas, will reenact the event by actually retracing Martin’s journey across the state by horseback, ending at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site.
Event attendees will hear remarks from Mayor Ivy Taylor, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and State Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst.
Saturday, Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m.
A free screening of the 2004 film “The Alamo” starring Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jason Patric will take place in Alamo Plaza. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own folding chairs and blankets.
Friday, March 4, 6:30 p.m. – Tickets Required
Friday’s interactive event will involve small groups “touring” between seven different scenarios and conversations at the Alamo, each a recreation of events that occurred the evening just before the attack on the mission, Eck said. All reenactments will be lit by candle or fire light.
Tour groups will leave every 10 minutes with the first leaving at 6:30 p.m. and the last leaving at 10 p.m.
Tickets are required and there are only 500 available. Tickets for adults and children over 12 are $20. Tickets for children ages seven to 12 are $10 and children under seven are free. To purchase tickets, click here.
Saturday, March 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The free festival will feature western swing, bluegrass, and old time country music from world renowned artists on the Alamo grounds. Performances by Tennessee Valley Authority, RJ Smith, Mario Flores and the Celtaire String Band will take place throughout the day and food trucks will be parked along Crockett Street for festival-goers. Folding chairs and blankets are encouraged.
Saturday, March 5 at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
A recreation of the Battle of the Alamo will be put on by the San Antonio Living History Association (SALHA) at Valero Plaza. Attendees will witness a narrated dramatization of the event with historically-accurate battle clothing and prop weaponry. The reenactment cannot take place on the Alamo grounds, Eck said, beceause the space cannot accommodate the large crowd of actors and their battle equipment.
Sunday, March 6 at 6 p.m.
The final event will be a brief ceremony honoring the fallen Alamo soldiers in front of the Alamo Church. The ceremony commemorates the lighting of the funeral pyres of the Alamo defenders that burned through the night of March 6, 1836, as ordered by General Antonio López de Santa Anna.
*Top image: The Alamo Rangers bow their heads in prayer. Photo by Scott Ball.