Last weekend, thousands of people were supposed to gather at the San Jacinto Museum of History in La Porte, Texas to reenact the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto. For only the second time in almost 35 years, the reenactment and the festival surrounding it were called off.
The annual reenactment is the largest of its kind in the state, with more than 250 people portraying the Mexican Army and the Republic of Texas Militia.
The San Jacinto Battle Museum and Monument has been closed for almost a month. Larry Spasic is the president of the museum and says the closure and canceling of the reenactment are a result of the chemical fire at the ITC plant in Deer Park in March.
“We are respecting the decisions of the legal authorities and law enforcement in this area and working with them to make sure that everyone is enjoying a safe environment… We are drawing down to the close of this particular accident,” Spasic says.
But park authorities don’t think the fire resulted in damage at the historic site.
“It looks like… once the incident is over with we’re fairly certain, because of the readings that have already been taken that the site, we’ll be in good shape,” Spasic says, of the historic site that is home to more than 1,200 acres of natural grasslands, restored marshlands, flora and fauna. “People will be able to do everything they were able to do before this incident.”
Spasic says the response of the public to the cancellation of the reenactment has been understanding and some disappointment.
“There were folks that were disappointed. But I was surprised at the level of support. I think everyone knew we did not make this decision lightly. Along with our sponsors, we’ve been doing this event for over 35 years, and it’s the highlight of our educational program… it takes 5-6 months to plan,” Spasic says.
Being closed for a month will be expensive for the private, non-profit educational association.
“We do not receive state or federal funds for our budget. Our mission is so important and what we represent is so important that I really feel like Houstonians and Texans will help us through this,” Spasic says.
The San Jacinto Battle Museum and Monument will be closed until at least April 21. Spasic hopes it will reopen soon, thereafter.
Written by Brooke Reaves.