Towering over Interstate 45 just inside Huntsville city limits stands the 67 ft. American hero, General Sam Houston.
“Big Sam” will be celebrating his 20th anniversary this Saturday on Oct. 25 from 12-3 p.m. The event will be held by the statue and visitor center located at 7600 State Highway 75 South.
The monument is the world’s tallest statue of an American hero and was dedicated to Huntsville on Oct. 22, 1994. The center celebrates annually, with birthday cake available to the public, every Oct. 22.
However, every five-year anniversary, the group hosts a larger, more involved event.
Some of the events planned for this upcoming Saturday consist of a short program where Mayor Mac Woodward will give a proclamation about the statue and its importance. In addition, Jarrod Sterrett will be a musical guest. There will be hotdogs and games on the porch and a picnic in the park. Door prizes, such as gift cards of various values, will also be given.
The Sam Houston statue is one of the biggest attractions in Huntsville and construction on it began in 1991 by artist David Adickes. Adickes was born and educated in Huntsville from which his love and appreciation for Sam Houston stemmed. The statue itself was a three-year project and a gift to the city from Adickes.
“Sam Houston was a great hero and one of the most interesting people,” Adickes said. “He died in my hometown.”
Adickes also said he felt that by being surrounded by that history and growing around it fueled his desire to give back to the community later on in life.
The city provided funding for the visitor center and Adickes funded the statue along with 13 city friends who also donated funds for the project. The land was donated by an old schoolmate and fellow Boy Scout of Adickes, Thomas Gee.
Director of tourism and cultural services at the visitor center Kimm Thomas said they are expecting a few hundred people at this year’s event. The visiting center has had more than one million signatures in their guestbook and more than 120 visitors from foreign countries. Among these visitors were a few celebrities such as NBA players and Kermit the Frog.
To help fund the event, the center is receiving donations from organizations and companies like Sam’s Club, Whataburger and HEB, to name a few.
Thomas said she believes that the event is a nice way to celebrate the history in Huntsville and to do so as a community.
“The event helps in recognizing Huntsville as a home to Sam Houston, and the history that surrounds our great city,” Thomas said.
For more Information, contact the Statue and Visitor Center at 936-291-9726.