2019 Best

Year in Review

2017 on BolivarAs we enter the new decade, we can look back on 2019 as a notable year on Bolivar Peninsula. We have seen new businesses open up, exciting new events starting along with changes to existing ones, the increase of youth sports programs, the expansion of emergency medical services, and a loving community always willing to help others. Although not all of the changes are popular,

Bikes bring joy to local kids

The Annual Christmas Bike Drive brings joy and happiness to many children on Bolivar Peninsula. Now in its 21st year, the tradition of giving continues. Thanks to your generous donations, 26 shiny new bicycles were given to local kids. Shown here are a few of the smiling parents and grandparents picking up the bikes.

New Ambulance Comes to Town

The Emergency Services District (ESD) purchased a new Ambulance for our peninsula. Another example of how your tax dollars are working to keep our community safe. This new vehicle increases the fleet of ambulances on the peninsula to four. They are stationed full time in Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, and High Island. Thank you for the support of the community, ensuring prompt responsiveness.

There’s No Place Like The BIG STORE

By Linda Elissalde
“There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” may be true, but THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE THE BIG STORE for CHRISTMAS! Gulf Coast Market once again thrilled children and adults with a special visit to Santa Claus’s home. Elves abounded everywhere. Elf Patty Stockton welcomed guests as they entered through the front

Young Farmers Giving Back

The Young Gardeners Program at Crenshaw School has been active since the beginning of the school year. The gardeners have learned horticulture and how to cultivate different crops. They also participate in an after-school program giving back to the community. On Friday, under the guidance of Program Coordinator Larry Chapman, and members of Keep Bolivar Beautiful, they cleaned up

Crystaland Christmas Parade


The Annual Crystaland Christmas Parade, sponsored by Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, was last Saturday evening. As one of the largest parades they’ve ever had, it was matched with smiles and holiday cheer from the many participants and supporters. There were decorated jeeps, golf carts, and floats galore, adorned with lights,

Crystaland Lighting Contest

The dazzling lights are shining bright on Bolivar with the Chamber of Commerce sponsored Annual Residential and Commercial Christmas Lighting Contest, as part of the Crystaland Parade weekend.  The lights around town bring holiday cheer and festive greetings to all as the lights guide Santa to town. Only 15 days until Christmas…The judges deliberated and chose the winners for the season.

It’s the most Magical Time of the Year

By Linda Elissalde
Happens about this time every year. Sleighs (aka cars) are filled with song sheets, guitars, ukuleles, keyboard, drums, and music stands. People sporting antlers and wild Christmas attire load up and head out on HWY 87, turn on HWY 124 and arrive noisily at The Arboretum in Winnie, Texas. Ms. Maria McMillen welcomes this riotous group and

Christmas Festival in Bolivar


The 1st Annual Bolivar Christmas Festival was a huge success. The Pavilion At Festival Park in Crystal Beach was joyfully packed as shoppers supported Bolivar on Small Business Saturday. With 40 booths of arts, crafts, clothing, furniture, gnomes, handmade items, make-up, custom signs, baked goods, and more, shoppers were sure to

Children’s Ornament Contest

The students of Crenshaw School were challenged to create homemade ornaments for this holiday season. All grades from Pre-K to 8th crafted 4” x 4” ornaments using bits and pieces found at home plus their wondrous imagination and creativity. Over 50 students participated. Ornaments of all shapes and sizes were displayed on the Christmas tree at the Bolivar Christmas Festival on

Texas Crab Festival Announces 2020 Music Entertainment Schedule


The Texas Crab Festival has just announced the 2020 Music Entertainment lineup, and this year’s headliners include some hefty musical credentials, including Wayne Toups and Mark Chesnutt. The Texas Crab Fest brings together a variety of artists for a Mother’s Day weekend of gulf coast style Music, Art and Crabs on May 8-10, 2020 in Crystal Beach, Texas.

Chamber Elects Board Members

The Annual General Meeting and Board Elections for the Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce was held on Tuesday night at Jose’s Restaurant. Attendees were treated to delicious trays of Jose’s quesadillas and taquitos. Greeting the members at the door were Prim Rennick, Cathy Hammond, and Shanna Hammond. President Brenda Flanagan opened the meeting with a list of

The Flag Draped Coffin

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
When I was less than a year old, my mother was handed a perfectly folded American flag representing my dad’s ultimate sacrifice for his country. I never got meet or know him since he was killed when I was six months old.

When I was given the American flag representing my friend, US Marine Ed Snyder’s service, I was moved

Big Store “BOO TI FUL” HALLOWEEN!

By Linda Elissalde
When black cats prowl, and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
Author Unknown
Once again The Big Store cast a spell with their annual GHOST ON THE COAST. All creatures, great and small, hurried to partake in this “BOOtiful” event. Some came in

Gumbo A-Plenty

The 8th Annual Driftwood Charity Gumbo Cookoff started early Saturday morning. Hosted by Jackie and Brian Sticker at their beautiful home on Sandman Drive, the cooks prepared their gumbo dishes and the margarita teams began handing out samples. The gumbo teams competed in two categories: chicken and sausage, and seafood. And the ever popular Margarita competition did not disappoint. All teams

Pumpkins Galore

Every year, the Crenshaw classes compete in the pumpkin decorating contest. This year was equally as spell-binding as the rest. With judging categories being Most Glamorous, Spookiest and Silliest, it wasn’t difficult for the judges to rate 1st, 2nd and 3rd for each category. These students really put their hearts and souls into this project. And the Overall Winner was a unanimous choice.

A Cool, Cool End of Summer Party

By Linda Elissalde
1. Cool: the opposite of warm – chilly
2. Cool: Well done – Done with style

Crystal Canal’s End of Summer Party is always a cool (2) event. Great barbecue, delectable side dishes, stupendous desserts and marvelous music create a perfect finale to the season. This year proved to be a

A Lady For All Seasons

Patricia “Pat” Ann Lowry Vondra
By Linda Elissalde
“A man for all occasions, whether happy or serious.”
Robert Whittington on Sir Thomas More, 1520.

Robert Whittington would surely have changed the gender of his declaration if he ever had the honor of knowing Patricia “Pat” Ann Lowry Vondra. Those of us who did share

Casting for Sports

The 4th Annual Peninsula Sports Park Flounder Tournament was reeling with fun on Saturday. Seventy adult and youth anglers signed up to cast the line for the winning flounder. Both adult and kid divisions began casting for the ultimate weigh-in beginning at 2pm. After weigh-in, Delino announced the winners of the flounder tournament. Then prizes were awarded to include a 50/50 cash pot,

Rollover Pass is Closed!

Workers showed up early on Monday morning to install security fencing around Rollover Pass. There were a few people still fishing by late morning, but the fencing was completed by the end of the day. Sheriff’s Deputies are on site to prevent trespassers. The closure of Rollover Pass was authorized by the Texas Legislature in 2009, but for years, the Gilchrist Community Association,

Art! Wine! Cigars!

By Linda Elissalde
Balmy breezes blowing, musical sounds floating in the air, unique artistic displays, and CIGARS! What more could one ask for on a gorgeous September day? The Bolivar Peninsula Cultural Foundation’s (BPCF) 2019 presentation of local and visiting artist was a resounding success! It all took place under Steve’s

Small Village! Big Heart!

By Linda Elissalde
Everything is BIG in Texas! Wide vistas, longhorn cattle, tall tales, and gargantuan barbecues play a big part in the Texas story. However, there is one community that is small in size, but has a Texas sized heart. It is made up of folk who live along the Gulf Coast on Bolivar Peninsula.  How about The Big Store? When electricity failed, and everything

Lions Club Slam

The Lions Club hosted their Annual Stingaree Saltwater Slam Fishing Tournament on Saturday, under beautiful blue skies. The tournament attracts teams from all over the area and benefits the youth of Bolivar through scholarships. Thirteen teams competed for the top prize of $2000. The anglers started out at 6:00 am in pursuit of the trophy trout, redfish, and flounder. The teams were allowed to weigh in

The Kids Reel It In

The up-and-coming anglers of Bolivar participated in the Kids Hardhead Haul-In on Saturday morning at Stingaree, as part of the Lions Club Annual Stingaree Saltwater Slam. Twenty-five little anglers participated. They cast their lines at 8:30am, fishing off the dock at Stingaree Marina. Lions Club members were there to bait the hooks and remove the catch. The official weigh-in station was busy recording

Playground Fun

The equipment arrived and the long awaited installation of the Bolivar Playground Community Build was set in place at Bolivar Park in Port Bolivar, with the help of community volunteers. One group drove all the way from Vidor to participate. A “community build” is a way to save on installation costs in order to maximize money spent on equipment. William Comeaux, Galveston County

Fitness the Focus for this Crystal Beach Native

Katie Osten Wiseman graduated from High Island H.S. in the late 1970’s. Her passion for movement was nourished on the basketball court as a stand-out Cardinal and as a result she earned a full scholarship to Rice University where she played collegiate basketball and studied to become a health and physical education teacher and coach. After finding herself single with four children, coaching was no longer

Community Support for Our Own

Bolivar has come together to outpour support for the family of Caden Strimple. The community support has been overwhelming. Young Caden was involved in a water park accident two weeks ago and is still hospitalized for his injuries. The Strimple family continues to cope with this tragic incident. The Bolivar community is stepping up with fundraisers to help the family

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