Anybody can become a Texan on March 2.
As Texas Independence Day is celebrated statewide next month, Huntsville has something special to offer. In what has become an annual tradition, natives of other states — and sometimes other countries — will have the opportunity to be ‘Baptized a Texan.’
Every year, the March 2 event kicks off with a coffee reception at the Walker County Museum Gibbs-Powell House. From there, guests meet at Oakwood Cemetery to honor the life of Sam Houston on his birthday, where an anonymous person leaves his favorite meal of raw oysters and coffee at the base of his grand headstone. Members of the student body, faculty, staff and administration of Sam Houston State University follow the university’s ROTC members in the traditional march to Sam Houston’s grave from the Old Main Pit, located near Austin Hall on the campus grounds.
The gravesite ceremony will also include the SHSU ROTC Color Guard and Rifle Team, special musical selections and speakers, the laying of the wreaths by dependents of Sam Houston and the much anticipated “Baptized a Texan” ceremony. Participants of the “Baptized a Texan” event kneel in front of Sam Houston’s memorial and get dabbed with pond water from the Texas-shaped pond on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum grounds and receive a certificate, t-shirt and gift bag from the city of Huntsville Tourism Department.
Immediately following the graveside ceremony is a luncheon hosted by the Walker County Historical Commission, with a “Toast to Texas” and birthday cake at the Sam Houston Statue and Visitors Center, 7600 SH 75 South, in the William Hodges Educational Building at 12:30 p.m.
For more information, contact the staff at the Sam Houston Statue Visitor Center at 936-291-9726 or VCenter@HuntsvilleTX.gov.