Gainesville is indeed the “Front Porch of Texas” with neighbor helping helping neighbor, strangers lending a hand, kind words for all. In Gainesville, the Fourth of July is a time for BBQ’s and spending time with family & friends, reserving the fireworks displays for Veterans Day to honor those who served our country.
We enjoyed great food, enlightening conversation and as much red, white and blue enthusiasm as we could soak in. Big Texas Wake-up calls, fried pie, a parade,an ice cream social for which the entire town came out! It’s all very understated in an enormous kinda’ way.
We went to the Frank Buck Zoo where we also saw the children’s park and play area that the entire community came together to fund and build with their own hands and tools. We ate fried apricot pie. We went to the museum where there is an exhibit featuring the Gainesville Community Circus. Years ago when the city was in debt, they needed to raise funds so they came up with the idea of a circus. Statistics showed that from 1930 to 1952 the circus troupe gave 359 performances in fifty-seven different cities and canceled only one performance, after a tornado destroyed the big top in 1939. In the twenty-five years of the circus at least 1,500 Gainesville citizens took part in performances before 500,000 spectators. Uniquely, the circus was put on entirely by amateurs who were residents of Gainesville AND had full-time jobs. They had no professional circus experience, received no compensation, made their own costumes and most of the rigging. Gainesville still has that resourcefulness and spirit today.
Gainesville is a a Medal of Honor Host City, the ONLY one in the US. They are all volunteer and was established to provide residents with a more interactive connection with America’s history, the military, and veteran community. Their mission statement says it best, “It shall be the privilege and responsibility of the City of Gainesville Texas to welcome our Nation’s Medal of Honor Recipients at every opportunity. In so doing we pay homage to the principles which the Medal of Honor represents… Duty, Honor, Country.” and that’s what they do…..