Hearing great music, visiting historical sites, exploring a nature preserve, and experiencing a total eclipse of the sun. That’s what we have planned for everyone April 5 – 8, 2024.

The Marshall Regional Arts Council (MRAC) organized the collaborative efforts with the Harrison County Historical Commission, Texas Sounds International, East Texas Council of Governments, and GoBus to bring you a weekend of rich cultural heritage experiences that climax on a Monday bus trip to experience the total eclipse of the sun. The weekend of events blends the history and culture of East Texas with fun and engaging activities perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

A History & Music Friendly Weekend, as it’s been dubbed, explores the influence that the presidential actions of Abraham Lincoln have had on the music we love to listen to today, and why the influence of Lady Bird Johnson on her husband Lyndon B. Johnson brought about the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Photo courtesy of Marshall Regional Arts Council

On our music side, Texas Sounds International is bringing Pameal Rooney back to Marshall for her first appearance here since being named 2023 Entertainer of the Year in the Country Music Awards that took place last October.  Pamela will be pairing off with locals that know our history well.  She will be attending and performing at each days’ events.

Photo courtesy of Marshall Regional Arts Council

On Saturday, visitors can take a guided walking tour of downtown to visit museums and sites and learn about East Texas historical events. The walking tour will begin at 10 AM at the Harrison County Historical Museum. The tour moves next to the Services & Sacrifices Museum where all Veterans of Harrison County, Texas are honored. The museum honors the servicemen from the Civil War to present day. The tour also encompasses the Site of Confederate Capitol of Missouri, and the Inez Hatley Hughes Research Center. All locations are within walking distance of the historical downtown Harrison County Courthouse.

Photo courtesy of Marshall Regional Arts Council

Just before breaking for lunch at one of the Main Street restaurants, the tour will continue with visits to Texas Historical Markers that include James Farmer, Jr., The Birthplace of Boogie Woogie, The Joe Weiseman Co., and to the site of the First Telegraph in Texas.

After lunch on Main Street, the Saturday walking tour will take visitors to the Texas & Pacific Railway Museum as well the Boogie Woogie Museum all located in the still active Marshall Depot Amtrak train station. This location also serves as the location of Marshall’s fine dining establishment the Ginocchio, which is housed in the station’s original train station hotel.

Photo courtesy of Marshall Regional Arts Council

The Sunday morning bus tour still counts as attending church! “Caddo Lake is my church. I spent Sunday morning out here. It’s…uhh…where I’d prefer to be…”, says music legend Don Henley in a video interview where he talks about growing up around Caddo Lake. The area native helped co-found the Caddo Lake Institute to protect the unique treasure that is Caddo Lake.

Our guided tour takes you on a journey through hundreds of years of the Real People and Real Places of Harrison County history. We will discuss the people and the land from the Caddo Indians, to the Lady Bird Johnson family, to the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant, and the now Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Photo courtesy of Marshall Regional Arts Council

The bus tour will take you past the high school Lady Bird Johnson graduated from at age 15 and past her birthplace with stops at relevant Texas Historical Markers, on a ride-through the 8,500-acre refuge, and to the edge of Caddo Lake at the Starr Ranch Pavilion. This tour also provides guests will the opportunity to take a boat ride around a prime area of the lake.

Photo courtesy of Marshall Regional Arts Council

The Caddo Lake National Wildlife Refuge bus tour guide will be Harrison County native Steven McFarland who grew up in the 70’s hunting and fishing at Starr Ranch when it was still LAAP. His parents both worked there, and he worked there until just before the plant closed. The boat ride portion of the tour will feature Aaron Applebaum, another Harrison County native who also grew up around the lake.

While the Sunday bus tour provides people with a way to experience nature and history at its best, the Monday bus tour is set to provide a total eclipse of the sun experience. Plus, this Monday bus tour really does take you to church! The College Mound United Method Church in Terrell will be hosting the bus tour guests for this event. This site was selected because it is directly in the center path of the eclipse and offers guests an optimal viewing location. With great weather on April 8, you, your friends, and family will be together for an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit MarshallArtsCouncil.org.