Comanche County Pow Wow

By: Brandon Mangan

If you live anywhere near Comanche County, you’ve probably heard about the annual Pow Wow. You’ve likely attended it and come away better for it. You’re likely going to be going again this year (for good reason). If you haven’t been, this article is for you. I’m going to tell you and show you a few of the many reasons you should make your way to Comanche, Texas for the last weekend of September.

The Comanche County Pow Wow is  a weekend event held at the Comanche City Park, now going on it’s 38th year. The vivid and colorful figures you see in the photo above are members of a performing group from Uvalde known as the Sahawe Indian Dancers. The group was founded in 1950 and has performed in over 200 cities across Texas.

The group reenacts traditional native ceremonial dance to the beat of leather drums. These young men and women move with a purpose that makes evident the time and passion they have invested in the show. 

You’ll find yourself captivated by the rhythm and movement. If this was the only event held at the Pow Wow, it’d be reason enough to get yourself there, but it’s not.

There’s so much more……..

Do you enjoy checking out classic cars? Custom trucks and cycles? Vintage tractors? If so, you’ll be in luck at the Pow Wow. I don’t want to spoil it, so just take my word that some sweet rides make their way there each year.

While walking around all of these fine examples of machinery your nose might pick up something that tells you that you’re suddenly very, very hungry. It’d be forgiven. Not far from this car show there’s a state sanctioned BBQ cook off and the smell permeates the grounds. Not far from the pits there’s one food vendor after another, with everything from street tacos to turkey legs. So,bring your appetite. 

Have you ever seen a cannon fire? Have you ever waited with ever growing anticipation and suspense as a fuse slowly makes its way to a historical weapon of war? No?

Well you’ll find that at the Pow Wow. If you watch closely you’ll see the wadding fly. I’ll give you a preview.

Also, did I mention there are camels? Because there are definitely camels.

The camels can be ridden, which everyone deserves to do at least once in their life. They come from the Texas Camel Corps, a group whose mission is to educate about the camels role in the expansion of the west. Alongside the camels you’ll see the Chuckwagon, with a group of folks sporting pioneering duds from times long past. They’re with the Fort Griffin Living Historians, who give a living example of the way things were done back then.

Pardon them for partaking in modern conveniences.

There’s live music galore at this Pow Wow, and you can dance if you want to. You can leave your friends behind, but if you do, you won’t be able to climb into an inflatable ball and run into them.

There’s activities galore for kids and adults alike at the Pow Wow. There’s not a more family friendly event to be found. There’s also an art and photography exhibit with hundreds of entries, many of which are for sale. There’s bounce houses and wildlife exhibits, including an exhibit on reptiles from the people of Gator Country, traveling all the way from Beaumont. You might’ve seen them on CMT, or the Discovery Channel. The folks from Gator Country educate and bring living specimens for us see and learn from. There will be a wading pool for you to interact with the smaller gators. You can get to know them a bit more in the video below.

This year’s event will be September 28th and 29th. Although this years schedule has yet to be released, most of the events take place on Saturday (BBQ, car shows, Sahawe dancers). You can keep up with further updates at Me and the camels hope to see you there!


The Peach and Melon Festival in De Leon, Texas

One of the oldest festivals in Texas….

By: Brandon Mangan

For nearly one hundred years, the first week of August has meant the same thing in De Leon, Texas.

For one, it means that thousands of pounds of watermelons are about to be devoured. Peaches too. There’s going to be a parade. Beauty pageants. Judging and auctioning of delectable desserts. Live music and dancing. A fairground full of vendors, a carnival boasting whirling rides and kaleidoscopic lights. Tractors spool and spin their tires, pulling giant sleds as their exhausts erupt with smoke. Sounds and scenes of joy in small town Texas. This bevy of attractions are part of an event that’s come to be called the De Leon Peach and Melon Festival, one of the oldest festivals in Texas, and it’s taking place from August 6th through the 10th this year. I don’t think you’ll want to miss it.

The festival has a storied history, originally taking place under the name of the “Free Fall Fair” in 1914. A few years later the town began growing watermelons commercially, only to realize that the melons the town grew were white hearted and of little value on the market. A committee was formed and a meeting was held. The town sent local resident L.B. Patterson to Weatherford to find good seed and to learn how to make it prosper. While there Mr. Patterson was invited to and later attended a social gathering centered on the slicing of copious amounts of melons. Mr. Patterson must have enjoyed himself. He was struck by it.

The experience brought him to send not one, not two, but three letters to the De Leon Free Press Editor about having a carving that year in De Leon. So, in 1922 the town had a watermelon slicing of grand proportion. Local melon growers made a deal with the City of De Leon. They’d provide the fruit if the City would get the word out about it and clean up after the event.

The rest is history.

In 1923 there were 1,000 melons set to be consumed and the town hasn’t looked back.

This year promises to build upon the past and put on the biggest festival yet. Featured food vendors this year will offer everything from brisket, donuts, to kabobs, fair classics like turkey legs and sausage on a stick. Cajun offerings will be available, as well as kettle corn, snow cones, fine mexican, afro-fusion and fire cooked pizza. There will also be boutiques and various merchants on the grounds each night.

The week begins Tuesday with pageants in three classes, culminating at 9:00 PM with the selection of the festival Queen. Wednesday brings judging of cakes, peach desserts, as well as melons and fruits. The Triple T Amusement carnival arrives, with rides beginning at 6:00 PM. That evening there’s a parade downtown (7PM), the kids tractor pull and the queen’s coronation (8:30PM), with the Cake and Melon auction taking place at 9:00 PM. Thursday the carnival begins at 6:00 PM, with an acoustic performance by famed Texas songwriter Walt Wilkins at 8:00 PM. Friday the carnival opens back up again at 6:00 PM, with the tractor pulls beginning at 7:30 PM. There will also be DJ David C and karaoke starting at 8:00 PM. 

Golden Saturday is a full day event, starting with the Watermelon Crawl 5K downtown at 7:00 AM. A Texas 42 domino tournament will be held at the City Hall auditorium at 8:00 AM. The seed spitting contest is downtown at 1:00 PM, followed by the free watermelon slicing the festival is named for taking place at 3:00 PM. That night the carnival is open again at 6:00 PM, with another night of tractor pulls beginning at 7:30 PM. Singer-songwriter Van Darian kicks off the music at 7:30, followed by Matt Hillyer of 1100 Springs and Phill Pritchett performing at 8:30 PM. The announcement of Miss De Leon rounds off the evening at 10:00 PM. The carnival sells arm bands each night, $30.00 at the grounds and $25.00 on pre-sale, available at the festival headquarters, located at 5401 Hwy 6, De Leon, TX 76444 and online at We hope to see you there!

The History Of The Peach And Melon Festival

The Peach and Melon Festival By: Sierra Dyson

           Originally called the Free Fall Fair, the Peach and Melon Festival takes place in De Leon, Texas, a small town located in Comanche County, the first full week in August. The festival originally began in 1914 only a month after the start of World War 1 as a way to celebrate the town’s cotton, peanut, and watermelon harvest. The festival has grown tremendously over the past one hundred years since it began and has slowly evolved into what is now known as the Peach and Melon Festival. The name change is due to the vast amounts of peaches and watermelons that local farmers have continued to grow year after year and donate to the event.  The festival boasts a variety of different activities for locals and visitors to be a part of if they so choose. The week kicks off with a carnival that is set up in a field on the edge of town complete with its own Big Top Fun House, Ferris wheel, Tilt-a-whirl, Zipper, and other rides that run all week starting at 5 p.m. During that time span, the town also holds a pageant where young women from the area can run for the honor of becoming Miss De Leon and the Peach and Melon Festival Queen. The winner of the pageant gets to ride on a float and represent the town for a whole year at various events held throughout the surrounding counties. Additionally, there is a parade on Wednesday night where spectators can see beautiful floats from nearby areas go by as well as antique cars, bands, trick riders on their horses, and so much more all for their viewing pleasure. Afterward, spectators can walk over to the First Baptist Church parking lot to have free peach tea, peach ice cream, and peach cobbler all while listening to local musicians play their music on a stage set up nearby. Other activities that are held throughout the week that people can attend is the watermelon slicing, seed spitting contest, spaghetti luncheon, watermelon crawl (5K run), a 42 tournament, Texas swing dance, Spanish dance, Karaoke night, and finally a huge tractor pull which has the largest consecutively running pulls in Texas, featuring dual tracks. The festival ends with Golden Saturday, an event where all of downtown De Leon is closed off and vendors set up their food trailers, crafts, jewelry booths, and other things of that nature for people to look at and buy. It is basically a huge trade fair where children can get their faced painted and play games while their parents shop around and try all kinds of yummy treats. Today, people from all over Texas come to enjoy everything this week long festival has to offer. With that being said, I highly encourage you and your family to come to De Leon to see this cute little festival for yourself the first full week in August, you won’t regret it.