Visit the historic Strand District of Galveston, Texas, and you’re likely to come across a quaint area known as Saengerfest Park. Just like its surrounding city blocks, the park exudes the sort of charm reserved for the locals and their best kept secrets. Here’s a quick look at why you should stop by the next time you meander through the island’s remarkable attractions.
A Brief History of Saengerfest Park
Owned by George and Cynthia Mitchell, the park is one of many Mitchell Historic Properties that came about as a way of revitalizing and preserving The Strand District. The park got its name from a 19th century singing contest by the same title, held by German immigrant choral societies throughout Texas.
In celebration of an 1879 win by Galveston choral group, “The Salamanders,” a torch lit parade was held to welcome 400 singers to the following Saengerfest which occurred in 1881. The present-day park was built in 1994 and, despite its damage from Hurricane Rita in 2005, stands strong today as a reminder of Galveston’s resilience and civic spirit.
Saengerfest Park’s Location and Features
The park is located on the corner of 23rd Street and The Strand (2302 Strand Galveston, TX 77550) and features a large decorative compass upon which to relax if you can’t find a spot on one of surrounding wooden benches. Saengerfest is most notable for its larger-than-life chess set, which is fully functional and perfect for photo opportunities. (Fun fact: The Mitchells brought the chess set over from Europe as a fun way to pass the time while in the park.) Drawing further upon European inspiration, the Mitchells also included old-fashioned phone booths as seen in London. Saengerfest Park features a stage for local vendors and events held throughout the year.
Where to Dine and Shop near Saengerfest Park
Downtown Galveston offers an array of specialty cuisine from delectable bakeries to restaurants of all backgrounds – Italian, Indian, New American, and Mexican to name just a few. If you fancy some Italian cuisine, you have to try Riondo’s Ristorante at 2328 Strand. Should your party prefer dinner in a fine dining establishment, the Strand boasts many steak and seafood restaurants like Willie G’s at 2100 Harborside Drive located at Pier 21. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the 2014 “Restaurant of the Year” winner – Olympia Grill at Pier 21. The chefs at Olympia Grill prepare fresh food daily and have family recipes that go back hundreds of years. Olympia Grill is open everyday for lunch and dinner.
Upcoming Events in 2016
- May 7: Movie Night on The Strand: “Pitch Perfect”
- May 14: Music Night on The Strand: Zach Person Band with Campfire Soul
- June 4: Movie Night on The Strand: “Dr. No”
- June 11: Music Night on The Strand: Blaggards
- July 2: Movie Night on The Strand: “A Christmas Story”
- July 9: Music Night on The Strand: Ruckus
- August 6: Movie Night on The Strand: “Pan”
- August 13: Music Night on The Strand: Almost Endless Summer
- September 3: Movie Night on The Strand: “The Hunger Games”
- September 10: Music Night on The Strand: The Fab 5
- September 23-25: Galveston Island Shrimp Festival
- October 1: Music Night on The Strand: The Michael Hix Band
- October 1: Movie Night on The Strand: “Labyrinth”
- October 8: Music Night on The Strand: Bon Ton Mickey & the Zydeco Hot Steppers
- November 3-6: Lone Star Motorcycle Rally
- December 2: Dickens on The Strand (annual holiday festival)
For the most current information on events, including start times, peruse the Saengerfest Park calendar or follow the park via Twitter. The only thing you’ll regret about a trip to Galveston is not having more time to enjoy it all!