From County Progress Editor
“Well, that’s 14 months away,” I thought. “Surely the judge just made a typo!” I did not want to be impolite, but I had to ask:
“Do you mean April 2012, as in three months from now?”
“No, we mean April 2013,” the judge responded. “We like to plan ahead in Real County!”
The judge went on to say that Real County had already formed a committee, and plans were underway: The Real County Centennial Steering Committee went to work in 2011 and would continue on in 2012, preparing for a yearlong celebration in 2013!
Such advanced notice gave County Progress the opportunity to chronicle this experience with stories and photos, and share this journey with you. Every issue from April 2012-May 2013 included an update on planning efforts and celebratory events. I was especially thrilled to be invited to Real County’s 100th Birthday Bash on April 6, 2013, in the county seat of Leakey, where I was privileged to meet the creative, industrious, energetic crew of volunteers who worked so hard to honor and celebrate their county’s rich history.
We promised our readers we’d return to Real County one more time and recap the closing months of their yearlong salute. As part of this final chapter, we also invited Willis Springfield, chairman of the Steering Committee, to summarize this unique experience.
From Chairman Willis Springfield:
Although Real County’s 100th birthday was in 2013, the Real County Centennial Steering Committee was named in early 2011. Eight enthusiastic individuals representing the Frio and Nueces canyons along with new County Judge Garry Merritt decided immediately to plan a series of events to be scheduled throughout the year that would embrace existing events and add once-in-a-lifetime activities for residents of and visitors to Real County. We agreed that these activities should be varied, educational, and, above all, entertaining.
Our logo, created with the professional assistance of Suze Sarto Design, was our first major triumph. A rigorous fundraising campaign yielded more-than-ample capital to underwrite the expenses we encountered, and, in the end, even allowed us to make contributions for scholarships to our ex-students associations.
Publicity was greatly enhanced by our “Where In The World Did You Wear Your Real County Centennial T-Shirt?” series, along with County Progress Magazine’s year-long countdown stories every month and articles in the Texas Hill Country Magazine, as well as articles in local newspapers and other publications.
Several individuals with artistic talent produced items that are destined for our historical museums. Hard-working citizens stepped forward volunteering their expertise and muscle to make every event a tremendous success.
Looking back, we believe, and trust you will agree, that we accomplished our goals. The events were varied, different foods were served, and a variety of music was provided. Indeed, we think we set a benchmark for such celebrations.