Henderson Texas Syrup Festival

Every year in Henderson Texas, they hold a syrup festival. Last year we missed going, having just moved here, but this year we decided we wanted to know what this was all about, so we got up on Saturday morning and went, wondering what kind of festival could they design around syrup.

Well, it didn’t appear that anyone else had any doubt that it would be a blast because it looked like the entire town of Henderson turned out.  And while downtown was full of antique cars, we were headed to the depot museum where the main festival was taking place.

When we got there we found that they were having a classic tractor rally too. Old tractors of every make and model were present.

An old International Harvester appears to be having a good time, grinning through its grill.


And of course, you can’t have a tractor show without the old green and yellow making an appearance. This is a 1948 Model M and looks like it still runs.


Along with the farm tractors was also a 1928 American LaFrance tractor that was used as a fire truck.


They even allowed the little ones enjoy the driver’s seat so a good time was had by all.


Next to this was a old hay bailing machine and two guys showing how it works.


Of course, by the time I got around to taking their picture, they were done with the bailing and were just sitting back and taking a break. The old machines certainly don’t look like they were as easy a job as the new ones. We have it so good today.


But where is the syrup? Finally we get to the part where they are showing how it is made. They take cane sugar and using a press operated by a mule, squeeze the juice and pulp out of it into a big barrel.


Next, that goes into a big vat where it is heated and cooked down to the desired consistency. That looked like a hot job. You can see the steam coming up from the juice as the lady stirs it.


Okay, that question was answered. And of course there were plenty of booths where you could actually buy some of the syrup. But they have other artisans here showing how they apply their craft. There were a couple of blacksmiths.



A couple of broom makers…


Funny story here. While watching them work I heard a man in the audience say “My wife wants to know how high they will fly.” He was a pretty tall dude, but she still managed to put her boot up side his butt! Color me impressed.


And even a couple of ladies spinning yarn.


It was also nice to see that these ladies were interacting with young members of the audience letting them get up close and see how the machinery actually work.

And of course, what would be a festival without some good folk/gospel music from live bands?


As we were leaving we passed by a Native American exhibit with a teepee and a young man in character, showing other young ones how to play the ceremonial drum.


All in all, it was a good time. Plenty to eat (I had some of the best BBQ brisket I’ve had since moving here) and of course there were rides and plenty to keep the young ones entertained.

This was the 27th annual festival. Now I can’t wait for the 28th.

All photos copyright 2015 Michael Hampton/MHampton Photography