Celebrating the start of dove hunting season in the south zone, as many as 8,000 hunters and their families attend the festival.
“The showing of support for this event is to benefit the youth in our area and continues to grow each year,” said Karnes City Rotary Club Member Charlie Thompson.
“Having a family-oriented event with a lot of people working together is what the Lonesome Dove Fest is all about,” Thomspon added.
In its third year will be the Black Gold Shootout scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 19, beginning at 1 p.m. The shootout will consist of a five-member, five-stand clay target competition between representatives of companies related to the oil and gas operations that have moved into the area.
The fun continues Friday with a Youth Day that offers educational mini-seminars on a variety of different topics to more than 250 high school youngsters from area schools. Youth Day events in the morning are closed to the general public, but the grounds will open up to everyone Friday afternoon after the conclusion of Youth Day activities. Raisin’ Kane will provide musical entertainment Friday evening.
Funds from the main events of the Lonesome Dove Fest have allowed the Karnes City Rotary Club to award 12 scholarships to seniors from each of Karnes County’s four high schools, including two scholarships specifically dedicated to vocational students.
Food and merchandise vendors from across the area will operate booths and there will also be bounce castles and other kids’ events. For the adults, beer and other beverages will be sold under a 14,400 square-foot air-conditioned tent as there will be Karaoke and other musical entertainment.
Saturday events start with a Lonesome Dove Fest Parade that will kick off at 10 a.m. in downtown Karnes City. Parade floats, bands and other participants will travel along Calvert Street through the heart of downtown Karnes City, weather permitting. The Lonesome Dove Fest Parade has become a traditional annual event enjoyed by folks of all ages.
One of the main attractions at the festival, a team sporting clays competition, will be held Friday from 5 p.m. until sundown and again on Saturday from noon until sundown. The team shoot provides an opportunity for participants to compete for prizes and bragging rights and, for those interested in hunting, includes a dove hunt with area landowners. A celebrity challenge five-stand clay target event pitting the shooting skills of media members against local and state officials will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Heart of Texas DockDogs organization will present a canine aquatics competition and shows where trained hunting dogs will display their extraordinary talents in retrieving from a large water tank set up on the Youth Show grounds. Competitions happen ay 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday and then 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday. More info at heartoftexasdockdogs.com.
Exhibits will also be on display to entertain the kids on Saturday. Longhorns from the Kimble Longhorn Ranch in Karnes City will be on display and the A&J Snake Handlers will perform shows Saturday featuring rattlesnake showdowns between rattlesnakes and their handlers. The annual Stickhorse Rodeo will happen at 1 p.m. and Kid’s Camo Contest will happen in the early afternoon. Doug Whitaker will present a quickdraw and roping tricks performance Saturday afternoon.
Musical entertainment is always a big part of Lonesome Dove Fest. Saturday evening will feature entertainment by Cactus Country from 6 to 8 p.m. and Legendary Country Music Artist Gary P. Nunn will perform after the live auction about 9:30 p.m.
Admission is free before 8 p.m. Saturday, $10 after 8 p.m.
“This is not just for hunters,” Rotarian Randy Witte emphasized, “but for families - for everybody!”
For more information on the 21st Annual Lonesome Dove Fest, including schedules and applications for the team shoot, parade, vendor, Black Gold Shootout and cook-off, go to www.lonesomedovefest.com, www.facebook.com/LonesomeDoveFest or call Randy Witte at 830-780-3314, Benny Lyssy at 830-583-5775, or Charlie Thompson at 830-620-8815.