|When you think of Texas you don't usually think about alligators. Alligators, it would seem, are something you find in Florida or Louisiana swamp country, right?
That may well be, but a few years back the Texas Legislature declared Annahuac the "Alligator Capital of Texas" because the alligators, it seems, out number the human population by about three to one. And there's more than a couple of thousand people living in Anahuac, so you do the math.
It's no surprise then to discover that a special weekend is set aside each year to celebrate "all things gator," a tribute to the evoluted dinosaurs that inhabit the countryside surrounding the city.
Actually, Texas has a substantial alligator population. Gators can be found along the coastline from Orange to Brownsville and across much of East Texas as well. In fact, while there are no statewide estimates of alligator populations, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department credits 12O of the 254 Texas counties with alligator populations.
Historic Fort Anahuac Park located on the mouth of the Trinity River and overlooking Trinity Bay is the festival’s scenic site. This truly unique festival combines the alligator, family and good old fashioned Texas two-stepping fun! A celebration of the alligator and its wetlands habitat, this family oriented festival has something for everyone. Adult carnival rides, kiddie rides, a petting zoo, assorted vendors and arts and crafts booths offer something for almost everyone. Unique attractions like airboat rides, Trinity River Boat Tours and of course the star of the festival, the American Alligator, offer festival goers a coastal Texas experience like no other!
The Great Texas Alligator Roundup, the premier event of GATORFEST, invites Texas alligator hunters to bring in their “harvest” to compete for cash prizes. The festival coincides with the opening of the 20 day alligator season in Texas and the Roundup sees an average of 10% of the alligators harvested from the wild in Texas annually. Previous years’ winners have been over 13 feet long! The Alligator Education Tent, where government and private organizations that deal with the alligator and its wetlands habitat, along with the live alligator displays throughout the festival provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife and specialty vendors offering alligator products, combine with the Roundup to give guests a rare opportunity for an “up close and personal” look at this fascinating reptile.
There are four stages of continuous entertainment along with a variety of walkaround entertainers to keep guest amused. Our entertainment is as varied as our guests, from rock & roll to country & western to zydeco to rhythm & blues, folk or gospel. Street dances are held Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in front of the stage located in the beer garden. Thursday night’s entertainment includes Django Walker and Charlie Robison; Al Wnite and Chapparel followed by Zona Jones, take the stage Friday night; Saturday’s entertainment includes Micky and the Motor Cars and headliner Roger Creager, with Reckless Kelly and Texas legend Robert Earl Keen closing the show on Sunday.
All of this combined with over 25 food and drink booths offering a variety of fare, including alligator prepared in an assortment of ways, make for a bargain in family entertainment. Ticket prices are Adults: $10.00; Students, 18 and under: $5.00; Seniors over 65: $5.00; Children Under 5: Free; Parking: Free.