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Texas, United States


Helotes...Where the Fabulous Hill Country Begins

In honor of Helotes finally being added to the "official" Texas Hill Country map this past week...thought I would post some more photos of why those of us who call it "home" think so much of it. The area, according to anthropologist, has been inhabited since approximately 5000 B.C., first by nomadic Native Americans. It became a small farming and ranching community about 1830 and several business's were established.

There is the historic Old Town Helotes that makes an effort to retains it's ambiance.
Traffic does get congested during the once a month booming Old Market Days 
but it's well worth the hassle to find a variety of 
local produce, artist's, and craftsmen's wares.

As the urban sprawl of San Antonio expanded and approached the outskirts of Helotes in the 1970s, residents became determined to take their fate into their own hands. After a decade of planning and negotiation, Helotes became an incorporated city in October 1981. Our neighborhood is less than a quarter mile West from the San Antonio city limits and it's such a spread out city we are at least 
30 miles from the East side city limits. It's the 7th largest city in the United States.

In 1946, the manager of San Antonio's Majestic Theater, John T. Floore, opened the now famous landmark, John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, which is actually a dance hall (or honky tonk) that draws top county music talent including Willie Nelson who still plays the venue on occasion. Elvis Presley also played and sang here. They have a large outside music venue in back of the cafe and up and coming musicians as well as the well known still love to play to an always appreciative audience and sellout crowd when
 a "big time" concert is announced.

Floore's is about a mile from our home and is rocking every Saturday night with live music. They host our major annual 4-H and FFA  fundraiser for our local youth livestock show season and it's always a huge success. Lot's of local business's support our youth in all endeavors.
Floore's Outdoor Venue

Texas Hill Country Winery's are becoming more widely known and Helotes has it's own.

The Gardens At Old Town Helotes is a beautifully landscaped  setting very popular for local weddings, engagement photos, and photographers who love a country setting. They have exquisite indoor and outdoor facilities for celebrations.

We quite often have beautiful sunrises and sunsets with some wide views...this one wasn't, I took it out my back door last winter while there were no leaves on the trees. I have to walk up a couple of blocks to get the full view West over the hills because we have so many trees in our neighborhood.
A view of Helotes spreading over the hills. "Country" living at it's best with all the conveniences of a large historical city, San Antonio, on our doorstep. On the East side of sprawling San Antonio the Coastal Plains begin and the Hill Country ends.

Miles and miles and many more miles of  scenic Hill Country Texas highways and wildflower tours in the Spring are a favorite time of year with abundant bluebonnets. Ladybird Johnson, wife of President L B Johnson, had a passion for wildflowers and spread them far and wide throughout the state....especially along highways. 

Some of our creeks and streams are so clear it still amazes me.

There are also some amazing rock formations....supposedly because most of this area used to be under a sea millions of years ago. I believe it...I've found fossilized sea creatures and shells embedded in rocks. It's still a favorite pastime of many...
hunting for those and arrow heads in the Hills.

One of my grandsons found this big fossilized sea shell at scout camp in the Hills years ago I use to prop up a miniature palm tree. An anthropologist might not approve, but I figure if it survived millions of years in a creek bed it will survive my 
lifetime in a useful, sometimes wet and dark, sometimes dry and sunny spot.

There are lots of  well preserved dinosaur tracks and occasionally bones located in the Hill Country and The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country was organized, incorporated and chartered under the laws of Texas as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 1994 by a group of Comal County residents interested in the preservation of the rich heritage of the area.

I keep my pieces of petrified wood I've collected over time that can still be found 
around here outside in the elements that preserved them for millions of years. We are very well aware we live on prehistoric land that's undergone several transformations thru many millions of years and is still providing a wonderful home for much wildlife and plant well as us.

Yes...we do still have real cowboys and a rodeo arena right here in Helotes where the Cornyval  Festival is held every Spring across the road from the local Sandra Day O'Connor high school my youngest granddaughter is starting this week...eager for her new status and another season of raising market swine to begin...4-H for the last six years...FFA in high school beginning this year. She has a nice college fund started and a couple of Jr showmanship belt buckles...and she is beautiful and an honor student.
Her blue ribbon pig last January and "showomanship"
 form that won her another big buckle for her rhinestone studded belts.
She is hands on from Sept to Jan, cleaning pens, feeding, and training her pigs
to walk properly for her in the show ring. She will be getting 
three little piglets to raise for this season soon....lucky little pigs, she loves them.
Cornyval is a week long event in the Spring that includes, a parade, rodeo, outdoor dancing on a covered pavilion to live musicians in the evening, a 5K, and a queens court.....and.....
 ....a roasted in the shuck corn eating contest with the "royal court" rooting the contestants on...and one of the 'royals" participating. Texas girls are no wimps, even in formal wear. We do celebrate corn. The local Native Americans planted corn, actually maize, in the fertile valleys of the area, and feed corn was a major crop grown in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The town name is derived from the Spanish word elote, which can mean "ear of maize", "corncob", or simply "corn", but exactly how the town came to be called Helotes is still a subject of debate.

One of the favorite events at the rodeo is a Mutton Busting contest for the young kids....kinda like bronc riding for the adults but a lot tamer. Girls and boys both participate.

The kids love all the activities, especially all the latest carnival rides and fair food. Cornyval is where I usually get my yearly dose of funnel cake....and lots of folks get their cold beer. It is a fun family social event everyone around here looks forward to.

Heck Yeah Y'all!!!!


Stephanie Faris said...

What a charming little town! I LOVE places like that. I've always lived in a fairly suburban city and I've often wondered what it would be like to have grown up in one of those towns where everyone knew each other. Although I think even now, those small towns aren't really like that. No matter where they live, people seem to spend more time staring at their phones than talking to the people around them!

Anna Maria said...

Steph....I did grow up in a small town but it was nothing like Helotes. There are over 700 students in my granddaughter's freshman class and we are surrounded by San Antonio and sprawling neighborhoods and strip malls. Old Town Helotes remains fairly the same but the rest is just an extension of a huge city. We love it though, a lot of folks here do get to know each spite of constantly having a phone in their hands. :)

DMS said...

What a beautiful town! Your pictures are just stunning and really give us an idea what the town looks like. It looks like a lot of fun too. :)

Anna Maria said...

Thanks Jess...Helotes is a neat place to live and the activities designed to keep it close knit are a lot of we have all the conveniences of a large city close by.