2016 Galveston Heritage Festival

The Galveston Historical Foundation celebrated its rich heritage with the second annual Galveston Heritage Festival, which recognized the people and cultures that came to Galveston in the 1800’s and beyond. Known as the “Ellis Island of the West,” Galveston’s port was the point of entry for many immigrants settling in the western United States. The Texas Wends arrived at Galveston Harbor on December 15, 1854, bringing the largest group of Wendish immigrants to come to Galveston Island at one time – and on one ship! The Wends journeyed inland and founded Serbin, Texas on land that later became part of Lee County, Texas.

The heritage event utilized historic Kempner Park, as well as the 1880 Garten Verein in Galveston, and featured a craft beer garden, live entertainment on the outdoor stage, numerous lectures and hands-on workshops, exhibits and vendors. Many of the nationalities that originally immigrated through Galveston’s harbor from the 1800s to the mid-1920s were on hand throughout the park, sharing their culture through vendor tents, exhibits and lectures.

Texas Wendish Heritage Society hosted a lecture by Executive Director Joyce Bise for festival attendees to learn about the unique history of the Wends. Texas Wendish Society also hosted a booth during the event on Saturday, August 6 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sandra Matthijetz demonstrated the art of decorating Wendish Easter Eggs throughout the day, and Raymond Matthijetz was a booth volunteer. It was an honor to be invited to participate in this celebration of the early Texas pioneers.