April 27, 2022 119 PM
PRESIDIO — This Saturday, the Friends of Big Bend Ranch State Park will toast the reopening of Fort Leaton and the end of a successful fundraising season with a parking lot party at Big Buddha Bakery. Guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs to take in the festivities and a live music lineup.
Terlingua’s Chet O’Keeffe will open, followed by Alpine’s Calamity Creek String Band. The Big Buddha team will be firing up sourdough pizzas all afternoon, and Marfa’s Cactus Liquors will be providing libations. Midland-based craft beer outfit Tall City Brewing will also be sending some of its wares down to Presidio for the event.
The event is a way for the greater tri-county community to come together and celebrate the state park. The Friends group — a nonprofit that supports the park financially in ways Texas Parks and Wildlife can’t — is celebrating a successful online auction in March that was the organization’s major fundraising push for the year. “We want to keep that momentum going and highlight what we’re trying to do for the park,” said board member Lauren Cecil.
The group’s major efforts for 2022 include promoting the park’s dark sky protections, improving guests’ experiences along the River Road corridor, and revamping the desert garden exhibit at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center. The desert garden project aims to make the interior of the state park — a notoriously remote and rugged place — a little more accessible for casual visitors to the park by bringing plants from the backcountry to Lajitas.
“I am so excited that the event is being held in Presidio,” said Cecil, who owns Rio Bravo Ranch just south of town. The event will be an opportunity for locals to get to know Friends board members as well as people involved in projects throughout the Big Bend parks. “I love the people in Presidio, I love the energy in Presidio and want to help bring the Friends into that.”