Friday, March 21, 2014

Athens EggFest 2014 Set for April 12 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

The fourth annual Athens Eggfest is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC).

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cooking will end at 3 p.m. Tasting will continue until all the food is gone.

Regular admission to TFFC will be charged. Those who preregister will be allowed to taste for a $5 donation to the Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

Persons who do not preregister can still taste by making a $10 donation to the Friends of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center at the event entrance.

Both cooks and tasters may preregister at http://athenseggfest.wordpress.com/. There is no fee to cook.

This year’s Eggfest will feature guest cook Tyron Smith, known to Dallas Cowboys fans as Number 77. The TFFC Eggfest can be thought of as an ultimate tailgate cookout. Dozens of Eggheads will fire up Big Green Eggs and bake, smoke, grill and serve everything from breakfast casseroles to pork bellies to wild game to blueberry muffins to pig candy. It will all be cooked on the iconic ceramic cookers, and samples will be available for tasting.

The theme for this year’s Athens Eggfest is “Grillin’ and Chillin’.” An Eggfest is not a cooking competition, it’s a tasting frenzy accompanied by cooking instruction. Food will be coming off the Eggs all day long, starting with breakfast-type items in the morning and progressing to heartier foods as the day goes on. While tasting, you can learn how to cook on a ceramic cooker yourself.

“The basic idea behind the Eggfest is to get people outdoors, and what better way to do that than by offering them delicious food,” said Allen Forshage, TFFC director. “And while they are here, we hope they will take time to fish in our ponds, walk our Wetlands Trail and learn about the role TFFC and TPWD play in keeping fishing great in Texas.”

Demo eggs used at this event will be available for purchase at the end of the day. Click on the link above to reserve a once-used ceramic cooker prior to the event. For more information about Athens Eggfest, please click here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Outdoor Fools Day Packed with Fun Activities

Learn a variety of outdoor skills and engage in activities such as archery, fishing and kayaking. Improving your outdoor skills is the focus of Outdoor Fools Day. The event showcases outdoor recreation opportunities in East Texas while teaching some of the skills needed to enjoy them, such as fishing, outdoor cooking, birding, and more.
Staff from Purtis Creek State Park will teach camping and kayaking skills. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department aquatic education staff will teach the basics of fishing. Fly-fishing expert Bob Cappallo will help you catch a rainbow trout from TFFC's casting pond, and then a volunteer will help you clean it and cook it on a Big Green Egg. Volunteers from Project Healing Waters will demonstrate fly-tying in the Anglers Pavilion.
Live animal displays will let you get up close to reptiles and raptors. Wildlife on the Move will present a variety of interesting creatures at noon followed by a see-and-touch session at 3 p.m. The Blackland Prairie Raptor Center will present a raptor show at 1 p.m. and also conduct a walk-around displays on the grounds. Staff from Sea Center Texas will be on hand with their popular salt-water touch tank.
Other stations will let you sample tasty foods cooked in a Dutch oven; see fish swimming in a glass-bottomed stream; see skins, tracks and skulls of predator and prey animals and learn how people lived in the Middle Ages.
Sky Ranch will be on hand with their popular rocket-making and shooting station and the Big Woods Archery Club will be handling the archery range.
Regularly scheduled dive shows in which a diver hand-feeds fish will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Guided bird walks will take place on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Outdoor Fools Day takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 29 and is free with regular paid admission to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fly Fish Texas March 8 at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

Learn to tie a fly, cast a fly and catch a fish all in one day during the annual Fly Fish Texas event on March 8 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

Throughout the day, experienced fly-tiers will be demonstrating and teaching fly-tying in the Anglers Pavilion on a one-on-one basis. In addition, group instruction in beginning fly-tying will be offered in the Hart-Morris Conservation Center beginning at noon. Both are offered on a walk-up basis.

Beginning casting instruction will take place all day in the Conservation Center parking lot, again on a walk-up basis. Scheduled sessions will teach single- and double-hand Spey rod casting.

For a complete schedule of activities and seminars, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffc and click on the Fly Fish Texas link.

Vendors will be displaying and selling fly-fishing gear, and seminars will brief visitors on where and how to fly-fish in fresh and salt waters for a variety of species. The program will include presentations on fly-fishing the Llano River and Colorado’s backcountry canyons and high-meadow streams.

Other sessions will focus on caring for fly-fishing equipment, choosing a fly rod, fly-fishing for carp, tying flies for spring bass fishing, tying trout flies, tying flies to take advantage of fish senses and rigging for trout.

Kayaks and instruction on how to use them for fly-fishing will be available on the casting pond. Do-it-yourself fly-fishing for rainbow trout, sunfish and catfish will be available all day in TFFC’s ponds and streams. Bass and rainbow trout fishing will be available in the fly-fishing pond at the end of the Wetlands Trail.

Food service will be available onsite, or attendees may bring a picnic. TFFC’s regularly scheduled dive shows will take place in the dive theater at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and will be followed by tram tours of the hatchery.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All Fly Fish Texas activities are free with regular paid admission to the center. For more information, please click here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spring Break Fun in Athens

Conveniently located within a few hours drive from most major cities in Texas, Athens offers the perfect place to get away and spend quality time with your family without breaking your pocketbook.

Athens is known for its natural beauty with lush, rolling hills, expansive ranches and nearby lakes, including Lake Athens. The outdoors is the major draw for Athens with opportunities for fishing, golfing, bird watching, biking, boating and water skiing.

The City of Athens Department of Tourism offers a few suggestions on how families can spend time together in Athens this Spring Break.

Day 1
Henderson County
Historical Museum
Get in touch with your cultural side. Spend time downtown while in Athens and stop by the Henderson County Historical Museum to learn more about the history of Athens and Henderson County. Exhibits on the first floor continue to emulate a turn-of-the-century dry goods store while the second floor is a re-creation of an early law office, parlor, bedroom, bath, kitchen, and schoolroom. Take a step back in time and experience life the way it was at the turn-of-the-century.

Next, visit the art galleries in downtown Athens, located one block east of the museum and go shopping in quaint boutiques and antique stores. Stroll through downtown and stop for lunch at one of Athens' downtown restaurants.

Did you know that Athens is home of the original hamburger? Athens native "Uncle" Fletcher Davis introduced this wonderful new sandwich at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. A historical marker on the downtown square pays tribute to the originator of this all-time favorite American food. In honor of Athens' hamburger history, enjoy an old-fashioned hamburger while in town.

Day 2
Texas Freshwater
Fisheries Center
Take the family to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center for a day of fun. The 1.2 acre lake is stocked with plentiful numbers of catfish and sunfish year-round and rainbow trout are stocked from December through March. The friendly TFFC staff will provide a brief orientation to fishing and choice of bait. The staff will also untangle a fishing line and replace lost hooks or bobbers or any other equipment problems, leaving visitors free to concentrate on fishing.

In addition to fishing, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center offers 300,000 gallons of aquariums with native Texas fish, a daily dive show, an alligator exhibit, tram tours, and the interpretive wetland trail where kids can go turtle-spotting, see bees at work and walk off stream. Join the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, the second Saturday of the month, for a Bird and Nature Walk and expect to see 25 or more different species on the outing. These outings are perfect for both beginning and advanced birdwatchers.

Day 3
Head out to New York, Texas for an adventure at NY-TX Zipline Adventures, the "Best Adventure Tour in Texas." Located 15 minutes east of Athens, NY-TX Zipline Adventures is atop the highest point in Henderson County. The zipline offers guests a panoramic view of the beautiful rolling hills and trees of East Texas and they have the longest zipline in Texas at over 900 feet. NY-TX Zipline offers six lines and nine lines for a thrilling zipline experience.

Day 4
East Texas Arboretum
Discover one hundred acres of wooded beauty, trees, flowers, and wildlife at the East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society. Stroll through winding, spring-fed streams connected by a 115-foot suspension bridge. Experience life in early Henderson County at the historic Wofford House museum, built in 1850. Visit the newly constructed Henderson County Veterans Memorial Wall and Plaza honoring more than 9,000 military veterans from Henderson County beginning from the Civil War to present.

In March, it's still a little too cold to swim outdoors but visitors can still swim in Athens at the Cain Center. Guests staying overnight in Athens hotels are offered complimentary access to the fitness center and indoor junior Olympic swimming pool, simply by showing their hotel room key to the front desk attendant. The kids will enjoy jumping off the diving board and parents can relax nearby in the hot tub, dry sauna and steam room.

The Cain Center sits nestled in the heart of the beautiful 85-acre Cain Park, surrounded by beautiful oaks and pines. Cain Park is a great place to walk or jog, or even ride a bike. There is a playground, fishing pond, and tennis courts for guests recreational enjoyment.

The Henderson County Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library will have a Movie Marathon during Spring Break, March 10-14. The free movies begin each day at 2 p.m.

For more information about Athens including hotel accommodations, coupons and upcoming events, visit www.AthensTX.org or call 1-888-294-2847 to request a free visitor's guide.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best Of the Upper East Side of Texas winners announced

Now in its tenth year, County Line Magazine features a Best of the Upper East Side of Texas to uncover the best in the region. Several popular places in Athens made the 2013 Best Of list:

Best Catfish - Lake Athens Marina
Located on beautiful Lake Athens, the Marina restaurant serves up "some mighty good hand-battered catfish with all the trimmings." Let's not forget their homemade desserts such as cherry, apple, coconut and chocolate pies or their famous Italian cream cake that is available by the slice or by the whole cake. Located at 5401 Marina Dr., 903-677-8774.

Athens Farmer's Market
Best Produce - Athens Farmer's Market
Open every Saturday May through October, the Athens Farmer's Market offers everything from baked
goods and produce to local artisans handcrafted items. "Visitors will find chemical-free peaches, gourmet heirloom vegetables and melons, squash, onions, watermelons, cantaloupe, tomatoes, fresh bread, cheeses and more. The Athens Farmer's Market is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. during market season in the city parking lot at the corner of N. Palestine and Larkin streets.

Best Sandwich - Railway Cafe, runner up
Chef Justin Boswell offers a variety of items to please the most discerning tastes. In additional to traditional items, the menu at Railway Cafe includes sandwiches such as grilled portobello on sourdough with roasted bell pepper, grilled onions, herb pesto and provolone or try the pan seared daily fish on open face sourdough with remoulade and red onion jam. Located in downtown Athens at 210 N. Palestine St., 903-264-7245.

Best Winery - Tara Vineyard & Winery, runner up
Tara Vineyard & Winery

Tara Vineyard & Winery is the oldest winery in Henderson County, established in 2004. Upon entering the grounds, visitors immediately notice the stately Murchison home, constructed in the 1880's. Tara's unique selection of premium wines are available for tastings. Tara's tasting room and wine shop is open daily during regular hours or take a guided tour of the winery, offered at 2:30 p.m. each Saturday. Located at 8603 CR 3914, 903-675-7023.

Best Nature Walk - East Texas Arboretum, runner up
East Texas Arboretum
One hundred acres of wooded beauty, trees, flowers, and wildlife await your discovery at the East Texas Arboretum. The forest appears to come alive as you meander along two miles of woodland trails. Make your way along winding, spring-fed streams connected by a 115-foot suspension bridge. Stroll through gardens and experience life in early Henderson County at the historic Wofford House museum, built in 1850. The East Texas Arboretum is also home to the newly constructed Henderson County Veterans Memorial Wall and Plaza. Located at 1601 Patterson Rd., 903-675-5630.

For more information about Athens, including the places mentioned above, please visit our website at www.AthensTX.org.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Athens Christmas Parade slated for December 7

Plans are in full swing for the annual lighted Christmas Parade, Christmas Around the Square, sponsored by the City of Athens.

The annual lighted Christmas Parade will kick off at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Athens on Saturday, December 7.

Parade winners will be announced downtown at the judges’ staging area 30 minutes after the parade.  Prizes will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners, sponsored by Republic Services and Kevin Lilly’s McDonald’s. The first place winner will receive $500, second place $300 and third place $200.

The fun doesn't end yet; stick around for the After Parade Party, sponsored by local churches, which will be bigger and better this year.  The After Parade Party will feature 17 inflatables including slides and bounce houses, booths and music in downtown Athens.

Come early for Holiday on the Square, sponsored by the Light Up Athens committee, that will take place downtown on the Courthouse Square from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature a Holiday Market, arts and crafts for children, visits with Santa, and the lighting of the Christmas Tree.  Keep Athens Beautiful will have a food booth with pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs and Frito pie, while supplies last.

Other holiday events that will take place in Athens the day of the Christmas Parade include the Cain Center’s Breakfast with Santa at 8 a.m. and there will be a special showing of the “Polar Express” at 3 p.m. at the Henderson County Library.

Bring the entire family and join us downtown for Christmas Around the Square.

For more information, please visit our website at www.AthensTX.org.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Newly constructed Veterans Memorial Wall to be dedicated November 11

The East Texas Arboretum & Botanical Society is home to the newly constructed Henderson County
Veterans Memorial Wall and Plaza, that will be dedicated at 11:30 a.m. on Veterans Day.

The memorial wall honors more than 9,000 military veterans from Henderson County beginning from the Civil War to present.

The two red brick curved walls, located within an open plaza with a bronze eagle sculpture overlooking the plaza, are embedded with names of veterans engraved on granite panels.

Visitors to Athens can see the new memorial wall daily from dawn to dusk at the East Texas Arboretum, located at 1601 Patterson Road.