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Tyrrell Historical Library Digital Collections

About this collection

The Neches River Festival in Beaumont was first purposed by Caldwell McFaddin and Clarence DeBusk, both members of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, in the spring of 1947.  These two men saw the need for an annual spring festival in Beaumont like those celebrated in the Texas cities of San Antonio and Tyler, and that of New Orleans, Louisiana.  Out of their initial discussion followed the seed of what became the Neches River Festival.  The festival's intent was to focus upon the Neches River and to publicize its beauty and importance to its local populace as well as other citizenry located throughout the United States.  After considerable planning a non-profit organization by the name of "The Neches River Festival, Inc." was chartered in the State of Texas on May 12, 1949.  Later in that same month, the first festival was held in downtown Beaumont.  Since that time the pageant has come to include:  a coronation ceremony that selects a king and a queen annually for the event; a social ball and dance; street parade with commercial floats and musical bands; and riverfront activities that have featured fireworks, water ski shows, boat parades, and speedboat regattas.  The Neches River Festival Records consists of scrapbooks that have been created by the organization annually for the pageant and span a time period from 1949 to the present.

 
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