Hallsville Residents Celebrate Heritage

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HALLSVILLE - Thursday evening marked the start of Hallsville's 16th annual Heritage Days festival at the Hallsville Fairgrounds.

About 2,000 visitors attend the three-day event each year, with Saturday being the busiest day, said festival co-coordinator Elaine George. George said the same amount of visitors are expected this year, although an exact count cannot be taken since tickets are not needed to get into the festival.

Heritage Days is free, open to the public and features a line-up of family focused events, George said. She is an active member of the community and has been instrumental in organizing the festival each year.

"I love my community and I've lived here all my life," George said. "It's very important to me to have a successful community and I've been a big part of that, so it's very rewarding."

The Hallsville Community Development Association organizes the festival. About 30 events will take place at the fairgrounds between Thursday and Saturday, such as a sheep show, rodeo, beauty pageant, fish fry and barbecue contest.

Festival goers will not find any carnival rides at the fairgrounds, and George said that's the way community members like it. The goal of Heritage Days is to show younger generations of Hallsville residents how many Hallsville residents used to live, George said.

"Our kids do not realize the importance of their heritage," George said. "When I was young, these [events] were some of the things we did - the frog jump, the turtle races, the sack races, waterballoon toss, watermelon eating. All those things are older games that we used to do, and the kids just absolutely love them."

Throughout the year, the some community members work to raise money to fund the annual festival, allowing free admission.

For a schedule of the Heritage Days events, go to hallsvilleheritagedays.org.