The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival starts this weekend. The festival takes place April 15-17 in downtown Ennis and features arts and craft vendors, live entertainment, kids activities food and much more.

“The festival really draws people from all over the state. There is something about the Texas Wildflowers that brings people from all over,” said Gina Rokas, Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau tourism director. “We have Australians in here, people from Japan and China. It is our biggest tourism month.”

The festival runs in conjunction with the Ennis’s annual Bluebonnet Trails event that takes place throughout the entire month of April and there will be lots of live music through this year's event, Rokas said.

“The one thing that we are doing new at the festival this year is that we are getting a big stage this year. Of course you come to the festival and enjoy the music there is no charge. We have limited seating so we are asking people to bring their lawn chairs. We have a lot of great entertainment,” Rokas said. “We also are doing a special hastag and it is #Ennisbbtfes. That is going to be something that our main street coordinator wanted to step it up this year. So now we have got an Instagram and twitter feed that is going to have all of that so people can post pictures. That is going to be a really fun addition to the festival this year.”

The festival starts on at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. There will be arts and craft vendors all over the downtown area. Musical performances will include singer songwriter Rhea Marshall, Texas bluegrass band from Kaufman County the Acoustic Sound Hounds and the 2nd String Band from Telico who play a mix of traditional country, Texas County, and classic rock.

The Saturday activities begin at 8 a.m. Activities will open with a farmers market and the classic car show will begin at 10 a.m. There will be musical performances throughout the day along with arts and craft vendors. Some of the groups performing on Saturday includes the Acoustic Soundhounds at 10 a.m., the All Around Czechs polka band at 12:30 p.m. and the bluegrass band the Purple Hulls 3 p.m.

The festival starts at 8 a.m. on Sunday with a church service. Vendors will open up at 9 a.m. There will be a motorcycle show hosted by the Cherokee chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Clube of America. The show will be located on northwest Main Street and west Baylor Street in downtown Ennis. Some of the musical performers include the bluegrass band the Sherman Mountain Boys at 10 a.m., The Gatlin Band featuring Waco Thompson at moon, a performance from the University of North Texas Green Tones a cappella ensemble and the Gladys and Maybelle at 3 p.m.

According the Bluebonnet Trail website from April 1-30, Ennis showcases over 40 miles of mapped driving Bluebonnet Trails sponsored by the Ennis Garden Club. These trails are the oldest such trails known in the state. This event has take place in the city for the past 65 years. At the festival Garden Club members will be passing out free maps of the trails and maps will be located at the festival headquarters booth. Maps are also available throughout the week at the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau building located at 2 E. Ennis Ave. in downtown Ennis. Maps can also be downloaded from the CVB’s website at www.visitennis.org by clicking on the download Ennis Bluebonnet Trail map link on the home page. The maps are free.

“The Ennis Garden Club has supported this project for 65 year. This is our 65th year and every year is different. We have some the most beautiful fields in the state of Texas and we are the official bluebonnet trail of Texas,” said Sandy Anderson, Chairman of the Ennis Bluebonnet trails and member of the Ennis Garden Club. “Every year when winter comes and winter goes we start to seed to bring the bluebonnets out. We watch them over a three or four week period as they progress into full bloom and peak around the April 21, which is the best time to see the Bluebonnets in Ennis.”

Anderson said the maps highlight the best places to see bluebonnets so everyone can enjoy them.

For more information about the festival got to www.bluebonnettrail.org. for more information about the trails event go to www.visitennis.org/bluebonnet.htm.

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