QUITAQUE (KYTX) — Caprock Canyons State Park invites the public to celebrate and support the official bison herd of Texas and its 1000-acre habitat at the Third Annual Bison Festival fundraiser on Sept. 28.
The festival will kick off with the Buffalo Stampede 5K/1K color run, an arts and crafts show, and wrap up with a six-band music festival with Texas' own nine-time Grammy Award-winning Western-swing band Asleep at the Wheel.
The craft show will include artisans who will be selling everything from jewelry to furniture made out of mesquite. The show will open at 10 a.m. and continue throughout the afternoon until 6 p.m.
At 2 p.m., the music festival will begin and feature bands such as Casey Berry and the Live Texas Mosquitoes, Zac Wilkerson, Brandon Adams & the Sad Bastards, No Dry County, Caleb Allemand and the 9 Volt Band and close with Asleep at the Wheel. There is no seating, so bring chairs and blankets, or purchase a folding chair at the event.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 at the park, online through TicketRiver, or at the gate the day of the event for $25.
During the festival, visitors will be able to donate directly to the Texas State Bison Herd Restoration project or purchase merchandise to support prairie restoration efforts. Donations can also be made online by visiting www.caprockpartnersfoundation.com or by calling (806) 455-1441.
The festival is being held at the Quitaque Cotton Gin on FM 1065, a quarter-mile south of Quitaque.
Donald Beard, Park Superintendent, says the bison were released into the 700 acre restored prairie in the front of the visitor's center in September 2011, including the Lake Theo area. He said the visitor's response has been extremely positive.
Held to raise funds to help restore the Texas State Bison Herd to its historic range at the park, the event celebrates the cultural and natural history of the Panhandle with the remnant of the great Southern Plains Bison that once roamed the Great Plains by the millions.
"The goal is to have a ‘semi' free ranging herd within the boundaries of the 14,000 acres of Caprock Canyons State Park," says Beard.
"Once the restoration work is completed, the herd size should be around 200 or so. Just imagine driving through the canyons and seeing a herd of bison grazing on the hilltops or down in the river."
Beard says the money that is raised by the festival provides funds that are directly spent on restoration work such as fencing, invasive plant eradication, prairie grass restoration and other bison related items.
The First National Bank- Quitaque, the Texas Bison Association and Ray Lee Equipment are helping to support the event.