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Gladewater holds ‘living history’ weekend

Tyler-Longview KLTV logo Tyler-Longview KLTV 9/16/2022 Bob Hallmark
The event will provide hands-on activities for children and adults, showing how the pioneers who founded these towns lived and what they did for entertainment. © Provided by Tyler-Longview KLTV The event will provide hands-on activities for children and adults, showing how the pioneers who founded these towns lived and what they did for entertainment.

GLADEWATER, Texas (KLTV) - The effects of the pandemic are still being felt by many communities, but one East Texas town is now trying to revitalize its tourism by holding a weekend ‘living history’ event.

Marketed for decades as one of East Texas antique destinations, old downtown Gladewater streets were mostly empty during the Covid pandemic.

For many East Texas towns who market their small town charm to get visitors to spend money with them, the pandemic was a substantial revenue loss.

Memori Ruesing, working through the non-profit group called Gladewater Tourism & Downtown Association, plans to revive downtown tourism starting this weekend.

“We’ll launch a living history event that of course will bring tourists, but also will educate the community about the history. There’s people that don’t know about this town and it’s wonderful history,” she says.

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The main goal is to raise funds to support a billboard on I-20 to advertise Gladewater.

The event will provide arts and crafts, period focuses on 1850 to 1915, and will feature performances by the Dalton Days re-enactors, along with a Civil War battle demonstration.

Marilyn Johnston will demonstrate bread-baking from scratch.

“That bread right out of the oven with butter on it is so good. I hope that people get back to that, and they may have to with prices of everything going up,” Johnston says.

And they hope the people come back.

“Bring in more tourists to support our mom-and-pop shops that make this town,” Memori says.

Organizers will also hold a ‘period dance’ in ‘period clothing’ Saturday evening on the grounds of the historic ‘Walker house’ on Commerce Street.

Organizers hope to have an even bigger event next year to celebrate the 150th birthday of Gladewater.

This event also kicks off Walker Manor Bed & Breakfast’s 10th Anniversary and is hosted by the Manor, which is located at 214 E Commerce in Gladewater.

The activities will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 17-18. For tickets and more information, visit the manor website.

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