The grounds of Mission Espiritu Santo will be filled with presenters, demonstrators and re-enactors ready and willing to answer visitors’ questions.
The event focuses on the influence of the mighty San Antonio River on the Goliad area. Through endless, eons-long cycles of drought and flood, the ancient San Antonio has worked its magic on this land, providing homes for all living things through the presence of water. Whether plants, animals, or people, all are part of the interconnecting web of life with water acting as the thread that draws all.
Visitors attending Rio! Rio! will get to experience many activities taking place inside the compound of Mission Espiritu Santo. They will be able to encounter and learn about the river and the many native plants and animals that call the water, woodlands and limestone bluffs around the San Antonio River “home.” They will discover the ways of our ancestors as well, because just like our wild neighbors, we humans have also always been drawn to create our homes along the river.
The grounds of the mission will once again resound with the ringing of hammers striking anvils as blacksmiths toil over hot coals just as they did in Mission Espiritu Santo’s courtyard over 200 years ago. The “tink, tink, tink” of hammers and chisels will be heard as stone masons carefully sculpt beauty from cold, hard stone.
The pinging sound of flint being carefully fashioned into arrowheads will also fill the air just as it did so long ago when Native Americans lived here at Espiritu Santo. And as visitors continue to wander through the mission compound, they will hear explosive booms and catch a whiff of gun powder and smoke as re-enactors and demonstrators fire black powder weapons into the air.
That’s not all. For children (and adults who are children at heart), there will be hands-on activities. Strings and cords were always needed in the 1700’s for one thing or another and event attendees will have the opportunity to learn this skill and take home their own newly made cord. And then there’s corn grinding - after a turn at the mano and metate, perhaps children will better appreciate what it takes for modern-day, hard-working parents to prepare family dinners at home.
Visitors will also get to test their roping skills to prove themselves worthy of being a vaquero.
Rio! Rio! has something for everyone, so come spend the day at Goliad State Park and learn more about the mighty San Antonio River, the plants and animals that live there and get a glimpse of how our ancestors lived their lives. Entry fee for the event is $5 per adult and $2 for children 12- and-under.