Texas State Forest Festival boost East Texas economy
source: KTRE Staff
Once upon a time the timber industry was the backbone of East Texas.
Back in 1938 Angelina County officials showcased the timber industry by hosting an annual festival. By the 1950s enthusiasm had withered,but in1984 residents revived the celebration honoring their roots.
Angelina County Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Huffman said the timber industry may not be as strong as it once was, but the festival continues to draw a large crowd.
"Whatever we are today is because we started as a timber industry,” said Huffman. "We had people that came from 6 states and 108 Texas cities."
Over a five day span roughly 20,000 to 30,000 people attended the festival. The economic impact is about two million dollars.
"We got a lot of people coming from different places, eating here, shopping here, spending gas here," Huffman said.
Pam Wieseman was one of those people. Wieseman traveled all the way from Victoria Texas just to get a history lesson on the timber industry.
"I really like the events that are here,” said Wieseman. “ I think it is a lot of fun to see the lumber jacks and I have also really enjoyed the forest museum."
She said this isn't her first trip to the festival. Her daughter lives in the area and she likes to plan her visit right around this time. As far as attractions go well there was tons to keep her and other occupied. Huffman said the festival showcase six shows, a carnival, a kids section and east texas foods. John Faber was one of 14 venders that set up shop. Faber drove all the way from New York to showcase his business and do some networking.
"The southern states and the northeastern states produce the timber for the world," said Faber.
After decades the timber industry is still standing tall in East Texas.