Friday, September 24, 2010

Oktoberfest 2010 in The Woodlands Texas

South Montgomery County has a new annual German festival starting this year at Town Green Park. It starts today, Friday September 24 from 5PM until 9PM. Saturday: 12:00-9PM, Sunday: 12:00 - 9PM. There will be plenty of beer, dancing, live music and other festivities. This is sponsored by the Woodlands Rotary Club for their local student scholarship grants.
Town Green Park

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Walk down the Woodlands Texas Waterway

Water Taxi
Here in The Woodlands we are known for several things. Unfortunately or not, we now have an image of a commercial center stradling a canal built to mimic in some ways the San Antonio Riverwalk. It is done with a different style, but one with a tourist flavor. When taking a walk down the waterway, it has a unique look and feel. The Woodlands will in turn be mimicked by Sugarland soon, unless of course the economy is not good for them to do so. I have heard that they might pull out of their venture to keep their taxes low in these tough times -a very different approach than of those trusted with tax dollars here. This article is not to criticize that venture nor politics here. It is just the contrary. This is really to point out that we have something that can be enjoyed in the outdoors here. Taking a walk down the waterway can be enjoyable even for those who do not like paying taxes to build this commercial and tourist zone.

The waterway is actually a long linear park. Its paths are part of the pathway system of The Woodlands parks. This Mallard might as well be in one of the major parks. He enjoys his life right where people walk and run.

Early mornings are good for a run even in the summer here. The concrete is not shaded like most of our parks, so it gets very hot on the path in the heat of the summer, these ducks have families and are especially evident in the evening. Sitting out on an outdoor restaurant sitting area, you can watch them follow their mamas

Pleasing to the eye, the shoreline is filled with landscaping that presents itself as a garden park in the backyard of large buildings, over concrete and steel.

My walk on this day took me from the Marriott Hotel across to the southern side of the waterway. Then west under bridges, to the Koi Gardens and to the Riva Row Kayak rental. I did this without much effort during the lunch hour on a fairly hot day in August.

The architecture of these new buildings are pleasant as well. One thing that is apparent to me. It took hundreds of years for the giant Cypress trees along the San Antonio Riverwalk to mature. I don't recall a single Bald Cypress here along the waterway. We do have some Pine trees which grow and mature much much faster, but that does not seem to be the goal here either. Vegetation is more like what is planted in some place like Sugarland. Turning a prairie into a garden makes more sense to me than turning a forest into one. So to me it is apparent that we have a creation that doesn't belong here, but I do inject that it is a nice addition nevertheless - just is disregarding the ecological intent of the area. Gone are the days of placing homes and businesses in the forest. Now the strategy is more about displacing the forest with homes and businesses.

There is no denying that this walk was pleasant. Maybe you want to get out early some morning and run or walk along the waterway. You'll be glad you did! 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Woodlands Trick or Treat Trail 2010

BBVA Compass has signed on as the anchor sponsor for the Trick or Treat Trail at Waterway Square on October 10, 2010.

The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau is introducing this new event as part of the Waterway Square Programming. This is the first year for this company to be the presenting sponsor of a Woodlands event.

“BBVA Compass is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor for the 2010 Trick or Treat Trail at Waterway Square. We look forward to seeing the community get involved and show off their Halloween Best at this year's event,” said Amos McDonald, Senior Vice President and District Retail Executive for BBVA Compass.

Trick or Treat Trail is scheduled for Sunday, October 10, 2010 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Waterway Square. This free event will have fun for the entire family and attendees are encouraged to dress in their Halloween best and “Trick or Treat” from booth to booth. This is an opportunity to have a safe Halloween for your children. There are other events such as that in Panther Creek to help bring Halloween in safely for our little goblins. 

Other Trick or Treat Trail sponsors at the event include Flaherty’s Flooring America, The Woodlands Development Company, Ace Parking, Munday Chevrolet, Kyle Sherburne – State Farm Insurance, University of Phoenix, Moon Water, and Berripop.

Free parking is available at the Waterway Square Parking Garage located between Fountain Plaza and Woodloch Court.

Located along Waterway Avenue, Waterway Square is a one-acre public plaza with unique water features and green spaces that serve as the “centerpiece” of The Woodlands Town Center.

Come experience the excitement of earth, wind and water in a synchronized choreography of motion and sound. For more information on the event and Waterway Square, visit or call 281-363-2447. Also, follow us on Facebook,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Koi Garden on the Waterway in The Woodlands Texas

Nestled among the tall buildings but along the waterway is a little place people often miss. Koi Garden is intended as an amenity for people living in Town Center but is available to anyone walking the paths along the waterway.

On the outside as well as inside, you will find bamboo and water. One of the clues to where the garden is located is to watch for water on both sides of the walking path. The you will also see bamboo growing on the land side of the path. For a tranquil moment at lunch or any other time, this is a good place to stop. Running water bubbling up from a pump-driven "spring" makes the garden more inviting than a pond.

There are a few lily pads and blooming lilies at a cross bridge in the garden.

They are worth a moment to to examine them with the visiting bees.

Of course the main menu are the Koi. There are some large and small ones to sit and watch meandering in the pools of water.

Please make sure you follow the rules which keeps this place beautiful and tranquil.

Then the fish and vegetation will continue to thrive.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Riva Row Boat House on the Waterway in The Woodlands Texas

Kayak rentals can be found right in the woods! It is a service provided by the Woodlands Park and Recreation department of The Woodlands Township (government). Rentals are by the day or by the hour.
There are basically two types of renters - (1) Recreation, and (2) Fishing. Those who fish usually want to rent the boats for more than an hour and start early in the morning, For that reason, the 9-10 rentals must have reservations. After 10am, it is first come, first serve.  Renting for a fishing excursion can be fun, but the kayaks are not equipped for fishing (no rod holders). It is cost effective in that the entire day is rented for only $35 and the boat house is open for 11 hours. For recreation paddling, it costs $15 for the first hour and $5 more each additional hour, but no more than $35. If you are asked to wait for a boat, the attendants will call you when a boat is ready and hold it for you, providing you can return to the boat house within about 20 minutes after the call. If not, they will release it to the next person on the list.
The boat house also sells drinks - water, soft drinks and a few caffeine helpers. On weekends you can expect the place to be quite busy, especially in the summer and holidays. On weekdays, usually about half of the fleet is out at peak times.  Remember fishermen: 9-10 reservations only.

Now we have something new! You can take your dog out in the kayak and protect him from drowning by using one of these new pet vests. Thanks to the generosity of The Woodlands Dog Park Club, "we now have the these canine life vests so that kayakers may bring their dogs along for the ride."

The closest place to park would be the Green Parking Lot or on Riva Row road itself.  The boat house facility is not handicap friendly. There is no ramp to get onto the boats that I could see, although it seems one could use the grass to get there if needed. The walkway is purely walkable, definitely not wheel friendly.

Map to parking(P) and Riva Boathouse(R) : (there is an error in this map. It appears to be  Google Earth issue - soon to be fixed). You can find the facility directly across from Town Green Park, on the south side of the Waterway.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Sports Event may be coming to The Woodlands - Memorial Herman Ironman

Today, Nick Wolda of The Woodlands announced a proposed international Ironman competition event right here in The Woodlands to the Woodlands Board of Directors. Memorial Herman Ironman would, if approved next week, become a major international event with participants from all 50 states and 23 countries. $100,000 would be raised for local charities, mostly for those organizations that provide volunteers to help put on the event. The race would be televised and viewed by some 1.5 million persons over the world. The proposed competition would be held on the third Saturday in May. The run would be here; the swim on Lake Woodlands; and biking in Montgomery County. 

Its economic impact on the community will be $16 million at the event in hotel, services and sales. It will generate more money with the preparations, trials and visits by competitors and news media. This is a great opportunity for The Woodlands, and will give us considerable advertising all over the world.

It will cost us $30,000 per year for five years. Bret Strong (a triathlon competitor) and Nick Wolda (CVB) helped to negotiate the deal. Hotel room tax and local sales taxes would more than offset the cost.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Waterway Nights in summer of 2010

From outdoor movie screenings to live music, Waterway Square in The Woodlands, Texas will once again become a gathering spot for families as “Waterway Nights”. It will be an entertainment series debuting Friday, July 2 from 6 pm – 8 pm and continues through August 27th, 2010.  There will be a variety of entertainers including live musicians, jugglers, face painters, balloonists, caricaturists, and more! Picnics, chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome.

Waterway Nights is free and open to the public, thanks to sponsors such as The Woodlands Development Company, University of Phoenix, State Farm Insurance – Kyle Sherburne, Munday Chevrolet, Ace Parking, and Berripop.

Located along Waterway Avenue, Waterway Square is a one-acre public plaza with unique water features and green spaces that serve as the “centerpiece” of The Woodlands Town Center.

For more information on The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau, please visit or call 281-363-2447.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

July 4th Weekend is just around the corner

Before we know it, here in The Woodlands Texas, the sizzling fire of mid summer will reach into our midst and we will want to be outside to be part of it. July 4th promises to be better than ever this year. South County's theme this year is “Only in America”. The Grand Marshall of this July 3rd event will be state senator Tommy Williams.

The parade begins at 9:00 AM on Saturday, July 3rd and runs through the Market Street area of The Woodlands Town Center. Family members of all ages will enjoy fire engines, clowns, horses, and parade floats. Also featured will be participants in the 5th Annual Marching Band Scholarship Program. Band entries will receive at a minimum $1000 in support of their program.

This parade dates way back to the 1970’s . The South County 4th of July Committee is a volunteer-based organization and is designated as a 501(c)(3) corporation. This year’s committee is headed by Ms. Kelly Dietrich, the Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation for The Woodlands Township.

Last year, there were approximately 145 entries with 2,000 to 3,000 participants. This year, the committee anticipates 20,000 to 25,000 in attendance. The parade route is approximately 1.3 miles; it will begin and end at The Woodlands United Methodist Church on Lake Woodlands. Roads on the route will be closed during the parade. To participate in the Parade or to sponsor this great annual event, you can find additional information on-line at the 4th of July Committee’s website: The parade will be accompanied by other community events in The Woodlands to also commemorate this patriotic holiday: + Star Spangled Salute at the Cynthia Woods Michelle Pavilion, July 3rd starting at 8:00 PM. + Splash Day at the 13 community pools in The Woodlands, July 3rd from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM. + Concert in the Park at North Shore Park, July 4th at 7:00PM. + Red, Hot and Blue Festival™ at Town Green Park, July 4th at 6:00 PM. + Fireworks Extravaganza at The Waterway, July 4th beginning at dusk, approximately 8:30 PM

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Creekside Outdoor Adventure Park

This facility in The Woodlands, Texas, is quite a leap to something different than the other YMCA's. Today, the "Y" had its debut or grand opening of the new facility in the woods. Phase 1 of 2 has been completed and is available for camp adventures. The facility is designed for families, children and adults. Adults might want to schedule the main room for banquets, meetings and the like for business, community events or for various age group socials or meetings. Children will engage in day camp and special interpretive nature outings. Today's festivities are presented as a slide show. 

This climbing tower is really huge. Today, they were limiting it to three children at one time, heavily supervised.

The camp has several cabins elevated by a railed boardwalk high off the lowlands that are subject to flooding.

There are nine tepees, three separate camps slightly elevated off the ground.

An amphitheater is quite spacious for seating. Today, a young lady was singing for the visitors.

A mist was really cool (literally) on this hot day!

The main building is without sectioning, designed for meetings or banquets. Today, it was full of vendor booths and free food and drinks. It has a capacity to hold 250 adults or 500 children. It is available for day rental.

This facility fits into The Woodlands very well. It has been part of the vision, the master community plan, from the very beginning. Today's opening is however only phase 1. Next to this facility is room to build phase 2 - a complete gymnasium with two sports fields. Akk theyneed is the money to start phase 2. That will come in time. I'm sure residents in the Village of Creekside Park would love to have an exercise facility in their community. All of it is part of the South Montgomery YMCA, so there will be discounts on activities at the adventure park as well as the gym, when it is built. Membership will be shared and interchangeable among the three gymnasiums in The Woodlands.   

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Woodlands High School Graduation 2010

It seems each year that the summer bears down on us at this event. Walking from the orange parking lot, I was certainly glad I wore a short sleeve shirt this year. And water! The ice cold water was very popular. Imagine a grade point average of 120. The valedictorian superseded all the rest of his peers in a class of more than 900 with a GPA of 5.20. The salutatorian was not far behind.

As each graduate filed one by one into the pavilion, some were ready with a smile.

Teaching staff were enjoying the occasion like Mrs Garcia, a counselor.

Some felt the accomplishment and its significance with a thumbs up.

Some were even relaxed and enjoying the moment.

Whoever you were in that mass of graduate city, you were just following the person ahead of you! That gave many the time to look up with a sweet smile.

I caught a Vice-principal or two heading into their huge chamber with their students. After three and sometimes four years with these students, one gets to know them pretty well. Goodbyes are said right here.

By now, many had their seats in the pavilion as the tune of the graduation march continued.

Some were precocupied with what was to come, finding their names in the list.

Some were multi-tasking. Congrats and hi just being some of the tasks at hand. Let's get on with it!

Introduction of the Salutatorian Amanda Frank.

Valedictorian Kevin Wang

Then one by one, each graduate recieves their diploma.

The ceremony proceeded rapidly as two were in process at the same time.

Many nationalities were represented. This young lady getting her photograph taken is from Venezuela.
Graduates sat in the front rows of course. We were in the back. The video screens help a lot to see what is transpiring. Some guests sat on the grass.

This could be the last time some of the graduates ever sing the song of their Alma Matar with the excitement of the Scottish beat and bagpipes.

So ended an excellent class of seniors who broke records, who achieved great feats in sports.  Now on to the lock down graduation night, a long standing tradition of a fun filled night and being safe inside all night long, without the risk of alcohol or party drivers on the road. There has never been a loss of life on this night since this tradition began about 1988.

Put your hands together to celebrate the accomplishments of this class. On towards the next phase of life - college for most.