Deep in the last of the "R months," oyster season's coming to a close, and though it's not yet stiflingly hot, breezes off Galveston Bay are getting warmer by the day. What better time to head down to San Leon for a beer and a day of "icehouse rock," blues, jazz, folk and alternative rock?
That's why for over 12 years now, the wild-and-wooly citizens of the Texas Gulf Coast's realest-deal "quaint little drinking village with a serious fishing problem" have been hosting their annual "Where In The Hell Is San Leon" festival this time of year.
It's also their annual mayoral election. Incumbent Keith Heinz has lost only one time in 11 previous elections; organizer "Gator" Miller says it was because he had spent some of the previous year in the pokey.
In contrast to pretty much everywhere else in America, where there is some subterfuge involved, in San Leon, all votes in this election are bought forthrightly. Each dollar donated counts as a vote for your candidate of choice. (All proceeds go to charities like San Leon VFD, Save Our Shores, the SPCA, and another called Steve's Organized Bunch, also known as the "S.O.B.'s")
Events at this civic-minded affair include a wet T-shirt contest, a, um, tobacco-rolling contest, Jackass-style stunts, and an appearance from the Bay Area's roller derby squad - the Texas Dolls. Bands on the two-day bill include Scruz Loose, Slide Effect, Texas Gunz, Los Vertigos, Texas Devils, Electric Soul, Smiling G-Spots, Mike Elliot, GBA Band, Richard The Drifter, and more. (That's the Smiling G-Spots, not to be confused with Max G and the Spots, the Ink Spots, or the Four Tops.)
Saturday and Sunday's shindig takes place in Wayno's in downtown San Leon, a stone's throw from Gilhooleye's world-famous oyster shack and an Ellis Valentine warning-track-to-home-plate peg in the other direction from the Raileann Distillery, the Texas Gulf's only rum manufactory. (Wild parrots roost in the palm trees nearby; you can't beat San Leon if you are looking for an unaffected modern-day pirate vibe.)
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To get to Wayno's, exit the Gulf Freeway on either F.M. 517 or F.M. 646 and head east until the roads converge. That's when you get to Downtown San Leon and can start working on seeing double. Once again, the dates are this Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and April 17. First-time visitors to the area would do well to study up on Gator Miller's three tips on safe partying in San Leon.
1. Don't put on airs. You ain't no better than nobody else.
2. Don't "mack" on another man's woman. There are plenty to go around, and your turn will come up soon enough.
3. We don't care how y'all do it "up north" and we ain't interested in any schemes to turn our little slice of paradise into the next Woodlands, so keep your brilliant ideas to yourself.