Bee County residents and visitors alike will have several opportunities over the upcoming holiday weekend to mingle and enjoy the company of others who share their interests – whether they be politics, art or history.

First, a reception honoring outgoing County Judge Stephanie Moreno will be held Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the courthouse. 

All are invited to join her colleagues and friends for the come-and-go event hosted in the commissioners courtroom where they can say farewell in person to Judge Moreno and offer heartfelt messages of appreciation.

Next, Trace Morrill will be sworn in as the new county judge at 9 a.m. Monday in the courthouse rotunda. County commissioners unanimously appointed him at last week’s meeting.

Morrill, a knowledgeable, personable, young attorney from a respected family, is a community leader and problem solver. He’s already served on the Coastal Bend College board of trustees but must resign to become county judge.

Community members should offer Morrill their support and encouragement as he assumes this difficult leadership position. Like the outgoing judge, we hope to see his name on the November ballot.

On Saturday, Beeville Art Museum will open its newest exhibit with a reception from noon to 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend and meet the artist, Raul Gutierrez, a master painter of Western art. He was born in Laredo and grew up in San Antonio.

The exhibition, titled “A Texan’s View of Yesterday’s Texas,” with more than 30 pieces, will primarily feature Gutierrez’s oil paintings, with evocative titles including “The Chase,” “Cowboys in Trouble,” “Pony Express” and “Comanche,” but also will include some of his luminous watercolors and delicate charcoal drawings.

The authenticity of his paintings, featuring cowboys and Indians and indigenous Texas wildlife, evoke an earlier, almost-mythical time in Texas. His work has appeared in galleries across the country and they are included in private collections by iconic Texans, such as President Lyndon B. Johnson, former Gov. John Connally and country music star George Strait.

Concluding these events is the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom March which will be held Monday morning at 10:30 at the courthouse grounds.

Participants will gather there for a short patriotic program, then march to Bethlehem Baptist Church for a commemorative service. The keynote speaker will be Pastor Michael Brown, senior pastor of the True Vision Baptist Church in San Antonio. 

We encourage parents to bring their children to this inspiring gathering, as attendance at the march has declined over the years and it is disappointing to see, according to local pastors.

We thank Martha Stovall and event organizers for helping keep the memory of King, and his timeless message of equality, alive in our community.