The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History is bringing Texas history back to life for a day with its 13th annual Boonville Days event.

This weekend, families can kick their feet back and enjoy some southern style food, watch live performances or take a stroll through the museum to cool off. The event will take place on Saturday, starting at 7:30 a.m. with the Buffalo Stampede Half Marathon followed by a 5K race in which all ages are welcome to participate. The festivities will take place across Boonville Heritage Park, the Brazos Center grounds and the museum, with a shuttle bus provided to each location.

In addition to the weekend races, the free event will include a cook-off, live shows, demonstrations of pioneer skills and other family-friendly activities. The Museum itself will be open free for visitors to see current exhibits on display, which include Texas History, Dinosaur and Ice Age Fossils, the Discovery room and Fossil Fever: The Legacy of Mark Francis.

Deborah Cowman, executive director of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, said planning an event of this caliber and making it free to the public required commitment and significant fundraising.

“Boonville Days is the largest free family event we do for Brazos Valley every year,” Cowman said. “We showcase Texas history by featuring an authentic Chuck Wagon Cook-Off so that visitors can experience a living piece of Texas history.”

Despite her limited staff, Cowman said everyone that comes together to volunteer and participate in the Boonville Days makes it a success.

“Most of our demonstrators and performers are local folks who participate for the sheer love of their craft or local history,” Cowman said. “But that is what makes it such a great festival - our local community really comes together to participate.”

Board President of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History Doug Pederson says that because it will be hot on Saturday, there are both indoor and outdoor activities that families will be able to enjoy.

“We love to see everyone having such a great time, and we expect a very large attendance,” Cowman said. “We will also show some football scored on the big screen in the afternoon for football fans.”

The event will include several food options to go along with the other activities. Lunch tickets to the Chuck Wagon Cook-Off will be sold for $12 in the museum and Chuck Wagon area from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“Longhorn steers, Chuck Wagon’s cooking, jugglers, ironworks, big screen TVs and dance shows — the parking lot is filled with food, entertainment and artisans, and it’s phenomenal,” Pederson said.

The event is essentially three events put together in one, Cowman said. She hopes Boonville Days will offer the community an outing filled with family fun and rich, Texas history.

“Don’t miss storytelling, vintage and cowboy music, great food, fantastic exhibits and even a chance to get a selfie in a beautiful stagecoach,” Cowman said. “There is something for everyone at Boonville Days, the best living history festival in Brazos County.”

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