Thursday, April 24, 2008

Crowning hobos

The Hobo Festival of Kirby is fast approaching, and the royal court has been selected.

Photo by Jeff B. Flinn

From the Northeast Herald:

Jim Mendes and Betty Vaughn are totally foreign to carrying a bindle stick, riding a railcar or eating “big four” — but come May 2, they’ll be wearing sashes and bearing crowns in honor of those who did.

Mendes and Vaughn will be the first-ever Hobo Festival King and Queen in Kirby, as the city celebrates a slice of history with a parade, games, live entertainment, a carnival, a chili cook-off competition and more.

Many decades ago, the hobo made his presence known in South Texas — riding the rail and finding safe haven wherever possible. The Union Pacific railroad and trestles on Kirby’s outskirts provided just such a safe haven in the 1920s and 1930s. And as such, Kirby became known as “the Hobo Capital of Texas” — a moniker that faded decades ago, but caught the fancy of city officials, who thought it might be worth the city’s efforts to pay homage to a piece of its distant past.


Vaughn said she is looking forward to reigning over the weekend. “It’s going to be fun. We’ve been told we’re just supposed to mill around after the parade, meeting people. I’m going to check everything out; I’ll be at the senior center booth, where we’ll have a bake sale and sell cakes, slices of cake.”

Sounds like a grand time is in store for all.

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