Crape myrtles are in full bloom this summer as the City of Waxahachie prepares for the 21st annual Crape Myrtle Festival and Parade. 

Residents from all over Waxahachie and Ellis County gather each year to celebrate with a two-day event alongside friends and family.

“We were named the Crape Myrtle capital of Texas in 1997. Our first Crape Myrtle festival was in 1998,” said Bonney Ramsey, who is in her 15th year as the chair of the Crape Myrtle Festival. “We paired it with the Fourth of July because crape myrtles really start blooming in June.”

Presented by the Crape Myrtle Council, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Waxahachie, the Crape Myrtle Festival begins with a “Pink Petals and Patriotism” tailgate party at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 3. The festivities take place at the Waxahachie Sports Complex, located at 151 Broadhead Road.

At the tailgate party, M.A.D.N.E.S.S. Entertainment will serve as the disc jockey and is sure to amuse the crowd before the concert, teaching dance moves to the newest dance songs. Later in the night, Memphis Soul – a DFW Motown band – will perform. Following the concert, a fireworks show sponsored by HEB will begin at about 9:15 p.m. Attendees may tune into KBEC at 1390 AM to listen to patriotic music as they watch.

“With the crape myrtles in full bloom, the American flags, everybody coming together as families and friends on the lawns and taking time to celebrate our freedom, celebrate each other, celebrate our veterans and spend time with each other – it’s really a cool thing,” said Laurie Mosley, director of the Waxahachie Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For the second straight year, the festival includes a newer feature – The Kids’ Zone – where children can enjoy many free activities. Originally, parents would have to pay for their children to participate in these activities. However, Bryan Wooten, a pastor at Remedy Church, helped the festival committee partner with Baylor Scott & White Medical Center — Waxahachie last year.

“They completely sponsor the children’s’ area,” said Ramsey.

Additional sponsors for the two-day celebration include InterBank, Carlisle Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Crape Myrtle Council, Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, the City of Waxahachie, and a new sponsor – Chick-fil-A of Waxahachie.

With the new sponsor comes more features and excitement.

“They’ll have their Chick-fil-A cow at the festival, so all of the kids are just going to go crazy over that cow,” Ramsey stated. “We will also have HEB’s Buddy.”

Day two of the celebration begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 4 with a hometown parade, sponsored by Citizens National Bank of Texas. The parade will start on College Street, heads west on Main Street and finally end in Getzendaner Park.

Each year, though, one section of the parade brings the couple hundred in attendance to their feet — the veterans. 

“The veterans are actually the parade marshals,” Mosley said. “That parade is centered on stressing the importance of the veterans, so we kind of feel like we’re putting the best last.”

After the parade, Remedy Church will host a picnic in the park with free hot dogs, water bottles, snow cones, old-fashioned games, a bounce house and a whiffle ball home run derby.

“That’s another cool thing that we didn’t have before that Remedy Church saw a need in the community that they could fulfill by doing this picnic,” Mosley said. “Getting families to put down their devices, come together and interact with each other.”

As a large crowd is anticipated, Ramsey recognizes the determination of the community to pull this event off.

“I think the reason I love this festival is it takes a total village of people to put all this on,” she said. “It just generates so much goodwill for how we feel about Waxahachie and how we feel about America.”

Made possible by the entire community of Waxahachie, the festival is an excellent opportunity to truly honor America and those who serve it and see what it really means to be a Waxahachie family.

“The Crape Myrtle Festival is like that slice of American pie,” Mosley said. “It makes me emotional because it’s such a Norman Rockwell moment that paints the Americana scene.”

“Everything is so perfect, from the flags out on the lawns of houses to the families on their blankets all coming together,” she added. “It’s what you all want to achieve nowadays.”

If you would like to know more information, you can contact the Waxahachie Convention and Visitors Bureau at 469-309-4040 or visit www.waxahachiecvb.com.