As 2024 gets closer, preparations for Victoria’s bicentennial year are really ramping up. My staff and I have been working with other City departments and community organizations to make it a memorable year, and we’re excited for residents to be able to enjoy this celebration of Victoria.
One of the year’s biggest milestones will be the dedication of a bronze statue of Victoria founder Martín de León and his wife, Patricia de la Garza. It has been a privilege to watch this statue taking shape with assistance and input from the descendants of Victoria’s founding couple.
The statue will be formally unveiled at De Leon Plaza on April 13, 2024—the anniversary of the date when Martín de León received approval to found the colony of Nuestra Señora Guadalupe de Jesús Victoria, or “Guadalupe Victoria” for short.
April 13 will be the highlight of the yearlong celebration. The day will begin with a citywide service project, the Victoria Day of Caring, hosted by Keep Victoria Beautiful; imagine one of KVB’s citywide cleanups, only much bigger.
In the afternoon, we’ll all head to De Leon Plaza for the unveiling of the statue and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly expanded plaza, which will feature a performance pavilion, public restrooms, additional seating and food truck connections.
Finally, residents are invited to the Bicentennial Ball at the Victoria Community Center, a ticketed event where residents will be able to dine and dance while enjoying live entertainment by local talent.
We are seeking sponsors and underwriters to help make the Bicentennial Ball a truly special event. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.victoriatx200.com.
Of course, our bicentennial is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration that can’t be confined to just one day. That’s why we’re working with our community partners to plan a year’s worth of iconic events. More information can be found at www.victoriatx200.com.
One event that we think will be very popular—especially among residents who’ve been missing Bootfest—is our community festival Oct. 4-5 at De Leon Plaza. We’re pleased to announce that fall festivals are coming back to stay: After the bicentennial year ends, residents can once again mark their calendars for an annual celebration featuring food, music and more.
In addition to celebrating with our residents, we hope that the bicentennial will be an opportunity for out-of-towners to learn about what Victoria has to offer. That’s why we’re partnering with Victoria Preservation Inc. to host a guided trolley tour each month that will take residents on a guided tour of Old Victoria, including a tour of our historic courthouse, followed by lunch at The PumpHouse. More information is coming soon.
We are offering two opportunities for residents to get involved by sharing their memories of Victoria. One is our public memorabilia displays. Throughout the year, we’ll feature displays at City Hall based on a variety of themes. If you have something you’d like to share, tell us about it at www.victoriatx200.com.
The other opportunity is Victoria Stories, a series of oral histories about life in Victoria. If you’d like to share your tales of Victoria with future generations, please get in touch with us at www.victoriatx200.com.
Joel Novosad is the director of the City of Victoria Convention & Visitors Bureau.