Groves Pecan Festival nears with new Worship Night, Cornhole Tournament, beer garden and more

Published 12:16 am Tuesday, October 10, 2023

GROVES — The 54th Annual Groves Pecan Festival features a lot of firsts as well as old favorites this year.

Festival fun runs Thursday through Sunday.

New additions include an info booth, Faith-Praise and Worship Night, a beer garden, Cornhole Tournament and a gumbo Cook-Off.

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Groves Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau Executive Director Letha Knaus and board members put their heads together to create a fun, family experience for festival goers this year.

The food

Festival food is always a favorite, and this year there will be Greek food from a Houston-based business. Dishes such as stuffed grape leaves, hummus and gyros are on the menu, Knaus said.

Old favorites will be on hand such as Byrd’s Stuffed Turkey Legs and Piggin Out Pork-A-Bobs. Locals such as Touch of Cajun, My Tribe Nutrition, Taco Rey, Old West Smoke Company, Pit Side BBQ and “fantastic desserts” from La Real Michoacana with ice cream, Mabels, and more are planned, according to Knaus.

Beer garden & music

For the first time in festival history there will be a beer garden.

Chamber vice-president Bert Lamson, who is also a local businessman and has ties to Neches River Wheelhouse, has seen the success of the beer garden that was added to Port Neches RiverFest and wondered if a beer garden would work at the Pecan Festival.

“I wondered, why not Groves? It’s time for Groves,” Lamson said.

He asked around in the community and businesses and said he received positive input.

From there he brought the idea to the board, who also felt it was a good idea. Then he brought the idea to the city council for their blessing; a majority of the council approved the issue.

The beer garden, which will be staffed by the Columbus Club, is going open Friday and Saturday during the festival and is located across from the pavilion.

The area will be fenced in with a police officer on duty. Patrons enter and present their ID to show they are of drinking age, then purchase a token. They will take the token to the next area and purchase a beer.

The area can seat approximately 100 people, so families can enter, the adults purchase an adult beverage and they can sit down and eat and/or listen to the bands performing live.

The beer garden is the only area where a person can consume beer on the festival grounds.

This year’s headliners for Friday and Saturday are Running On Credit and Catalina Wine Mixer, respectively.

Lamson said the chamber stepped up on the musical entertainment this year, paying a little more for the bands.

Lamson said patrons can sit at the beer garden and have a beer while listening to the music.

Knaus said they will have large screen TVs so patrons can watch PNG football on Friday, college football on Saturday and NFL games on Sunday.

“It will be amazing this year,” Knaus said.

Organizers also want to find out where patrons are coming from, hence the information booth.

The information gleaned will assist the chamber and tourist bureau.

“We are not just Groves Chamber but a tourist center as well. When dealing with hotel/motel money, you need to be spending that money getting people from outside the county,” she said, adding patrons from inside the county are important, too.

The Chamber has billboards and advertising in other areas and needs to see who they are reaching. In addition this can better estimate the size of the crowds that go to the festival each day.

The information booth will likely be used by adults and its as simple as scanning an app at the booth and putting in your zip code.

This, Knaus said, helps get more of an average of the number of patrons.

The newly added Faith- Praise and Worship Night will be held Thursday at the festival.

Local musicians Matt and Ashley Lewis headline with Christian music.

Other

The First Annual Gumbo Cook-Off brought out the cooks.

The event was held Oct. 7 and judging was done at the chamber office, which is off site.

Winners include: 1st place – Sundara Coffee House & Grill, 2nd Place – The TAMS Team, 3rd place – REMAX One-Beaumont, and People’s Choice Award went to Roux, Booze, & Tattoos.

The new Cornhole Tournament is replacing the washerboard tournament. This decision was made due to the popularity of cornhole.

It’s set for 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday in Lion’s Park.

For more information on the festival, call the chamber office at 409-962-3631.