NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - East Texans looking to get their sweet tooth fix at the annual Sugarcane Festival in Nacogdoches will have to find another way.
City officials have been forced to cancel this year's event after the crop failed to develop. The festival has been held the second weekend of every January at the Durst Taylor Historical home since 2009.
"It's one of those things," Nacogdoches Assistant Historical Site Manager Jessica Sowell said. "If the crop fails then the event goes with it."
Sowell said the staff at the Durst Taylor house has known for a while that the cancellation was a possibility.
"We harvested what we had in November before the first frost and we freeze it and put it up until January," Sowell said. "We got just enough to use for seed for next year, so we started looking around. We were kind of hustling around town trying to figure out if anyone had any we could press or if anyone had anything they could donate. We then realized recently that we exhausted our resources and would have to cancel."
Sowell said the Sugarcane festival is important because it was a staple of the Nacogdoches area in the 1800s.
"Farmers would have grown this in the 1800s," Sowell said. "It was their only form of sugar. It was an easy crop to do. You could grow a lot depending on the square acreage you had. It was very important to our economy. If your crop failed then you could go to a neighbor and buy some or trade for some. Unfortunately for us, we are one of the few that still does it so we had limited options."
Sowell said her staff is still investigating the reason of the failure and said it could be one of several factors including the record amount of rain the city saw back in May and June.
"It could be several factors that lead to this," Sowell said. It could be too cold. too much rain, or not enough rain. Our weather this year has been kind of crazy. At the same time it could be that this plot of land that we have has sucked all the nutrients out because we have grown cane from it for several years, or just pure bad luck."
Sowell said the site will still be open this weekend just without the sugarcane demonstration. Sowell hopes luck is on their side for next year. The staff has plans to redo the sugarcane crop and start over in the garden.