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In 1890, Waco, Texas was larger than Dallas, Fort Worth and El Paso due in part to the Waco Suspension Bridge, the largest single span bridge in the United States. Also contributing to Waco ‘s large population was the Waco Tap Railroad which tapped into the Houston and Texas Central Railroad from Houston to Dallas.

Waco aspired to have a Fall Festival which would promote the city. In 1894 Waco residents raised the money to build an exposition hall with seating for 5,000. On November 8, 1894, Governor James Hogg was guest of honor on opening day of the month-long festival. The event included a parade, agricultural exhibit, amusement area, orators, and musicians. The first Exhibition was a grand success, bringing visitors from all over the state. Unfortunately, six weeks later the building burned.

In 1970, the Texas Cotton Palace was revived by residents of Waco. Today, The Festival on the Brazos is an energetic stage production that recounts the history of Waco. The colorful two-hour stage show features local residents who use drama, song and dance to chronicle and celebrate the history of the city.

The mission of Festival on the Brazos is to educate our citizens and visitors about our city’s history and to celebrate Waco and Texas.

The Mission of the Festival on the Brazos