Spring has come, and all over the state, people are celebrating spring holidays, the change of seasons, and the beautiful spring weather. In Galveston, annual Easter and Earth Day festivities are underway, as well as the annual County Fair and Rodeo and the return of the Food and Wine Festival. Whatever you have to celebrate this spring, consider taking your merry-making to the jewel of the Gulf—Galveston Island.
If you’ll be spending Easter on the Island, Holy Week and Easter services will be held in Galveston’s many beautiful and historic churches, including First Lutheran on Ave. G, First Baptist on 23rd St., First Presbyterian on Church, St. Mary’s Cathedral on Church, and St. Patrick’s on 35th St. If you will be visiting from out of town and are looking for a place to worship during the holiday, you can visit www.galveston.com/religion to browse their directory of houses of worship and find a place that is right for you and your family.
You may also want to take the kids to Moody Gardens for their annual Easter in the Gardens festivities on Easter Sunday. Easter egg hunts are scheduled for 1 pm and 3 pm, and kids age 12 and younger are welcome to search for colorful eggs all around the Oleander Bowl and to participate in a variety of holiday games with prizes—the Easter Bunny himself may even make an appearance! Easter in the Gardens includes a variety of other activities including games for prizes, face painting and a petting zoo featuring chicks, bunnies, miniature ponies and other exciting animals. The event is free to attend, and all ages are welcome. Even better, Easter buffet feasts will also be available for the whole family at the Garden Restaurant and the Moody Gardens Hotel on Easter Sunday.
For additional examples of inspiration and grace, you may be interested in Galveston’s Tree Sculpture Tour. When Hurricane Ike hit in 2008, many of Galveston’s formerly majestic trees were destroyed; rather than leave them as symbols of tragedy and destruction, however, several artists decided to transform them into art pieces evoking beauty and rebirth. The artists–Earl Jones of Galveston; Dale Lewis of Richmond, IN; and Jim Phillips of Houston–used chain saws, chisels, and their own ingenuity to transform the broken trees into lovely sculptures, which now grace front, back, and side yards, as well as private gardens, throughout the city. The Galveston Historical Foundation offers guided tours of the sculptures in its solar-powered shuttle, and brochure guides for self-guided walking tours are available throughout the city and at www.galveston.com. The sculptures are an eclectic mix, with subjects ranging from angels to local wildlife to musical instruments; many of them have special significance to the residents of the properties on which they were carved (as with “Pod of Dolphins and Mermaid,” a sculpture located at 902 Bell, in which the dolphins symbolize the children in the home and the mermaid symbolizes their mother) or to the histories of the houses themselves (as with “Tin Man and Toto,” a Wizard of Oz-themed sculpture that can be found on the grounds of the childhood home of King Vidor, one of the film’s directors).
If the weather is fine on Easter Weekend, a walking tour of the sculptures—most concentrated within a four- or five-block radius in the city’s downtown area—would be a fine way to conclude your Easter afternoon. Being in Galveston can always make you wish you were a kid again, but no day will be more exciting for the tots in your life than The Grand Kids Festival hosted by The Grand 1894 Opera House. This fun-filled event is a celebration of the arts, featuring a Saturday festival with music, live performers, face painting, stunt teams, story tellers, crafts and more in downtown Galveston. Friday’s activities will take place at the preview event “Where the Wild Things Are,” featuring a petting zoo, carnival activities, a bounce house and dancing. For details, visit www.thegrand.com/TheGrandKidsFest.asp .