Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


October 4, 2012

Top 20 ‘Rites of Passage’ for growing up in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville residents Whitney Graham Carter, Foster Carter and Ben Peacock compiled this list hoping you will use this as a checklist in order to remember to experience and share these really important ‘local’ things with your family; the things that kids from the ‘big city’ will never know; the things that make us really special; the free life lessons that make us who we are as adults who were raised in the best place in the world: Jacksonville.

1) Attend the Tomato Fest

Tip: Enter one of many  tomato eating, peeling, throwing contests, or enter to win the title of Tomato Queen.   A title from one of these events may not be appropriate for your resume, but it sure brings a good laugh as an adult shared with friends.  

2) Attend Christmas Parade Downtown or any number of downtown events

Tip:  Get there early to get a front row view of the decorated floats and a good spot to grab candy as its thrown into the crowd.

 3) Attend the Tops in Texas Rodeo

Tip: Sit as close as possible, this is as real as rodeo gets.

Forget going to The Houston Livestock show and rodeo; there you’ll never feel the dirt on your skin.  See  and hear country music legends up close and personal like Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn, Lee Greenwood, hometown girl Lee Ann Womack, hometown guy Neil McCoy and many more.


4) Watch the 4th of July Fireworks Show at Lake Jacksonville

Tip:  Get there early enough to get a good spot near concession stands, and look for local legend State Senator Robert Nichol’s fireworks show just to the right of the concession stands. It is so fantastic it rivals the city show.  

5) Enjoy the Jacksonville Athletic Complex

Tip:  Don’t miss the opening day of games at the baseball complex on Byrd Road.  Enroll your kids in little leaque…any sport…and they will thank you for it.


6) Learn to Fish

Baiting a hook is something that most ‘big city kids’ will never learn how to do, but it always comes in handy.

Tip:  Spend a day at the Neches River, Lake Jacksonville, or find a friend with a pond. Bait a hook, cast away, or drop in a cane pole.  Experience what East Texas peacefulness is all about as you watch the little red and white bobber dunk.  Now the trick is to find someone to clean’em.  Nothing tastes better than fresh fish, and best of all its free.


7) We are what we eat. Eat fresh veggies, straight from a farm

Not from a can.

Tip:  Visit any one of several roadside vegetable stands, or plant a garden. Kids in Houston and Dallas should be so lucky as to be a real Jacksonville, Texan, You  have to get your hands dirty: red dirt dirty.  

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