My family, having never been out of the stratosphere crazy for the Halloween tradition, decided to visit the little city of Keene, Texas, which is only two miles up the road from La Puerta del Cielo (my piece of earth). They put on an "alternative" celebration for Halloween, as do most small towns. I heard about "Starfest" in Keene from a friend that lives in Keene and he recommended it highly. So, my wife, daughter and two granddaughters decided to head into town and check out the festivities.
Now remember Keene is a small town with less than 4,000 or 5,000 people and about 3/4 of them attend Southwest Adventist University (SWAU) as students. So when we arrived we were amazed at the turnout, because it looked like all 4,000 residents showed up!
They had an acrobatic group performing, games for the kids, helicopter rides for the bigger kids, a small train for the youngest ones along with all of the games that children enjoy, like throwing the football through the hoop, shooting baskets and Skee-Ball. They also had paint ball shooting put on by the Fire Department and some of the city employees dressed up in costume for the occasion.
Before we ate, all the girls wanted to get their face painted. The Keene Police Department did a great job and they obviously did a lot of painting as evidenced by the number of little girls and not so little girls that were sporting colorful applications applied by the local policemen and women.
For a small town, the food selection was out of this world. They had egg rolls, BBQ sandwiches, nachos, pizza, empenada's, taco's, burritos, and a whole selection of desserts and drinks. The wife and I opted for the chicken and cheese empenada's. They were fantastic. The daughter and her children went for the empendada's and chili-cheese fries, minus the chili and onions.
After we ate, the granddaughters caught a ride on the little buggy train. It took them around the campus of SWAU and back to where they started about 10 minutes later. The girls were giddy with excitement when they returned and obviously enjoyed the ride.
It was going on 8:30 and it was time for the girls to get to bed and ready for school the following day. They left and my wife and I walked around a bit more and being the music fanatic that I am, my ears picked up on some pretty lively live music being played. We walked over and sat down in front of the stage and began listening. The Jesse Jennings band was tight and the sound was reminiscent of the music I grew up with in the '70's, but it had a country twist to it. Sort of like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Cross Canadian Ragweed with a side of Shooter Jennings thrown in for spice.
We listened to the band until they completed the set and started packing up. I walked over and introduced myself to front man Jesse Jennings and told them how great I thought they sounded. They are a local group out of Fort Worth and worth the visit should you go and see them. And what surprised me is that Jesse grew up in Dublin, Texas, home to the only Dr Pepper plant that still uses Pure Cane Sugar in their recipe and a stones throw away from my hometown of Comanche, Texas.
In closing I'll just say that we had a great time at Starfest and we plan on being back next year, especially if they bring out another band like Jesse Jennings. I've included a link for them so you can check out these guys. So go give them a listen, I think you're gonna like what you hear.
"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...