Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Woodlands Texas Wildflower Festival 2011

Development Company booth with butterfly nets

It is time to start planting wildflowers in Southeast Texas. Each year, we have the privilege to enjoy the Fall outdoors at this family event in The Woodlands, Texas. You never know who or what you will see here, but you do know that it will be enjoyable for all ages - the little tots to young teenagers and adults. It has three basic purposes - (1) an outdoor event for the Fall; (2) an opportunity for businesses and organizations to display their products and services; (3) encourage wildflowers in the community. Each year the Woodlands Development Company partners with other companies and residents to sponsor this and to plant wildflowers in The Woodlands.

I brought back about eight specifies of wildflowers to plant both in the garden and in a very sunny location in a nearby green area. Each package of seeds has the name of the company or organization who rented a tent booth and the name of the wildflower, with instructions for planting. One prominent booth was of the Township, to promote the new garbage pickup services which start February 1st, 2012. We will have a full sized garbage can for recyclables, like Austin Texas has, and we will no longer use plastic bags for plant refuse.  I am elated about these changes in garbage pickup. For plant material, we now will use either our own garbage cans or purchase recyclable bags made for leaves and twigs. Examples can be seen in the video. A complimentary bag was given to each household attending the festival.

Children walked away with butterfly nets and other little gadgets; adults walked away with a new garbage bag, brochures, business cards, and seeds among other items. Activities included face painting, with a long line of people waiting, juggling, various costumed characters, air machines,a petting zoo, horse rides, hula hoop contests, a wargame area, and a number of other activities for children. It was a great time for all, maybe a little warmer than we would have liked but not bad at all and certainly not what I would call HOT!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Flea Market in The Woodlands

It is that time again, when you dust off your stuff in the garage or storage and sell it, so you can have space for more stuff. Personally, I need the space for my car. You can find great bargains here also.

The Woodlands Fall Flea Market will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2011, from 7 to 10 a.m., in the Town Center Parking Garage. The garage is located at the southwest corner of Six Pines Drive and Lake Robbins, adjacent to The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Tickets are available at The Woodlands Township Service Center, 2201 Lake Woodlands Drive, directly across the street from The Woodlands United Methodist Church, Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
The flea market is a cooperative event with all The Woodlands’ villages participating. The fees for sellers are $50 per booth space, $100 for a vehicle and trailer. There is no fee for buyers. Any proceeds over cost are funneled back into the community in the form of scholarships, grants and other village association projects.

The Woodlands covenants and deed restrictions do not permit garage sales on residential properties. The flea market provides a means for The Woodlands residents to sell unwanted household goods twice each year, in the Spring and in the Fall. Bargain hunters who buy pre-owned items keep them out of the landfill and lessen their impact on the environment. Buying “recycled” products also preserves the natural resources that are used in the manufacturing of these items.

For booth space information, please call Larry Faith at 281-681-0036. For general information, please call the flea market information line at 281-210-3976 or Pamela Woods at 281-210-3900.

Monday, June 27, 2011

July 4th in The Woodlands 2011

The Woodlands Texas will have its July 4th festivities this year as always, and it just gets better every year. This year we are in a drought that takes away the fireworks show, but everything else will be conducted as planned. This is the first time the fireworks show has been cancelled since its inception, about 35 years ago.

Fireworks are prohibited in The Woodlands. They are also banned in Harris County and Montgomery County this year. This will be strictly enforced by law enforcement in both counties. If someone is selling or firing fireworks in either county, please report them to your local law enforcement agency. We are under an extreme fire warning and signs are posted all over The Woodlands to this effect.

This is the main event, other than the fireworks. This year’s 4th of July Parade will be on Monday, July 4th. The parade route is approximately 1.3 miles and will begin and end at The Woodlands United Methodist Church on Lake Woodlands Dr.. The parade dates back to the 1970’s. It is organized by an all volunteer group. Last year, the parade had approximately 145 entries and 2,000 to 3,000 participants. This year the committee anticipates 20,000 to 25,000 attending. Roads will of course be closed during the parade.

Before the parade starts, Darrel the Fire Juggler, Uncle Sam, Clowns, Spiderman, Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob, stilt walker, balloonist, magician and many more interesting characters will mingle with the crowd. The Woodlands Concert Band will perform from 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. in Market Street’s Central Park. They will play the National Anthem to signify the start of the parade.

We’re honored to have Kevin Saunders, Paralympian and Stacy Brown, Special Olympian, as this year’s 4th of July Parade Co-Grand Marshals.

The judges’ stand will be located on the balcony in Market Street across from Central Park, along with the announcers, Nick Wolda, VP Marketing and Public Affairs for The Woodlands Township and Ramon Torres. Two DJ Booths will be located along the route.

Between 7:30 am and 10:30 am on July 4, 2011 all or portions of roads in the parade route will be closed. The 1.3 mile route begins and ends at The Woodlands United Methodist Church from Lake Woodlands, right on Grogan’s Mill, left on Lake Robbins, through Market Street, left on Lake Woodlands and ending at the church.

Senior and Physically Challenged Tent: A tent will be set up in front of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Lake Robbins Drive for senior citizens and the physically challenged to obtain respite from the summer heat.

Parking is available in numerous lots along the parade route in The Woodlands Town Center. Please note, if you park in Market Street and also in some of the other parking areas, you will not be able to leave until the parade is over unless there is an emergency.

BANDASTIC! Annual Marching Band Scholarship Program
What’s a parade without marching bands? To entice bands to march in the parade, the South County 4th of July Committee is hosting the Annual Marching Band Scholarship Program. The committee invites high school and college marching bands throughout the region to participate in the scholarship program. Each band will receive a minimum of $2,000 for their participation. Included this year are: Willis High School, The Woodlands High School, College Park High School and Oak Ridge high school bands!

The temperature is usually in the 90s on the 4th of July. The committee urges all volunteers and spectators to drink plenty of water before and during the parade. This is the information is courtesy of Memorial Hermann Hospital. Probably 1/2 gallon per person is sufficient to drink during the parade. The parade cannot provide water so please bring your own.

Drink plenty of cool water, even more than you think you need, when the weather is hot and humid. (High humidity makes heat injuries more likely, because perspiration does not evaporate from the skin as quickly; this causes the body to cool down more slowly.) Water is best; fruit and vegetable juices are also recommended.

Drink at least a gallon of liquid a day (about 16 glasses) when the outside temperature is above 90 degrees and you are not in air-conditioned surroundings. This may mean drinking as much as 1 1/2 times as much liquid as your thirst signals you to drink.

There remains opportunities to volunteer to assist with the parade.

July 4th Committee’s website:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Woodlands Parkway and Gosling intersection

Sometimes, an intersection is just not designed well. In fact, an intersection can be downright dangerous. This is the case of The Woodlands Parkway and Gosling. It is difficult to understand the reasoning behind this design, except it is to keep traffic flowing without regard to the safety of the pedestrian. Let's see what we are talking about.
Facing north from the south side of the parkway
We are supposed to be a master planned community where pedestrians are provided amenities with safety. During the development of this intersection, something went awry. Walk with me north on Gosling as many in our neighborhood do, to the Panther Creek Shopping Center on the parkway. The shopping center is about three blocks from the homes on the southern side of the Woodlands Pkwy. As we walk along the pathway, we arrive at the intersection above. Automobiles are turning right. The drivers must look to their left to directly merge with the oncoming traffic, because this turn lane has no ramp to it on the parkway. As a result, it is easy to rear-end the car in front of you as you make this right turn. It is also easy to hit a pedestrian in the marked crossing directly in front of us in this photo.

For the pedestrian, the first challenge is to cross the turn lane to get to the button to request a crossing. The right turn lane is not regulated in any way by that pedestrian button on the pole. A pedestrian is on his own to cross that lane.
Crossing six lanes of traffic
Now as we stand on the little island and face to the north, we wait for the pedestrian signal to turn green and give us the number of seconds we are allowed to be in the intersection. This is a challenge also. We feel vulnerable to oncoming traffic from our left.

Now we are nervously watching out for the cars coming at us from the west. One lane is to turn right onto Gosling and the other for traffic to dart a few feet from our feet. This is the pedestrian island. So the light changes and we are cleared to go. We cross. But wait. When we reach the other side, the reverse configuration requires us to watch for traffic turning right from the east onto Gosling. The speed of the turning automobiles is not necessarily slow either!

So we finish our crossing after the cars are allowed to interrupt our crossing. The drivers often assume they have the right of way even though we are in the cross walk.

Coming back with a bag of groceries or other goodies, we now must perform the same crossing in reverse.

Oncoming traffic towards the pedestrian turning just in time
First we cross the turn lane to get to the island requesting a crossing towards the south. Now on the island we are confronted with autos coming straight at us and then turning. We press the button. Hurry up! Cars fly by us and more turn into the lane. We hope everyone is paying attention.
Traffic whizzing by as we wait
The wind of the autos moving at 45-60 mph shake our bodies. Sometimes there is even a honk as a driver is nervous about us being so close to the cars as they move by us at high velocity. That makes us even more nervous. Finally, we cross the six lanes to the other island and then cross the other turning lane. Whew, we made it safely once more. A kid on the bicycle passes by us to cross. I am thinking, I bet he is quicker than us and is able to more confidently cross the 8 lanes. Ah ... maybe not.
Those cars can make anyone nervous, pushing their wall of wind.

The commissioner has been asked to look at this intersection to see how it can be made safer. What has happened to the hometown feel anyway? It feels more like a amusement park arcade with the noise, hustle and bustle, not exactly a country setting anymore.  Although I have not attempted the Kuykendahl crossing for a while, I suspect it is designed the same. Perhaps it is not used much by pedestrians.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

July 4th 2011 Red, Hot and Blue Festival in The Woodlands Texas

Fireworks over the Waterway 
The Woodlands will celebrate the July Fourth weekend this year in an even more grand style than ever, in the tradition of a growing community and town center. As usual, there will be one of the largest firework displays in the greater Houston area, with hot dog and watermelon eating contests, live entertainment, and much more!

This public event will be the 14th year for the Red, Hot & Blue Festival by The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau. It will be presented by Ellis & Ellis on Monday, July 4, 2011 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Town Green Park and Waterway Square, both located along The Woodlands Waterway®.

As part of the festivities, organizers of the Red, Hot & Blue Festival will announce winners of the University of Phoenix Little Firecracker Essay Contest, a writing competition for participants ages 5-18. For more details on submission deadlines, contest rules and eligibility, visit the related website. 1

One of the Largest Fireworks Displays in the Houston Area

Thousands are expected to gather at dusk for the fireworks extravaganza presented by BBVA Compass. This will be a 23-minute colorful choreographed show. This show also will be simulcast on radio Sunny 99.1.

Organizers suggest viewing along the The Woodlands Waterway, which offers the best view of the fireworks. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome; however coolers, outside food, and drinks are prohibited in Town Green Park and Waterway Square.

“What better way to celebrate America than with a community event that just gets bigger and bigger every year!” says Nick Wolda, president of The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are excited to be involved in such great activities for our residents and visitors.”

Make It A Weekend In The Woodlands
The Woodlands will celebrate America’s Independence with a complete line-up of events throughout the weekend.

+ Saturday, July 2: visitors will find live music and strolling entertainment at Waterway Square from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

+ Sunday, July 3: gather the family and enjoy an evening under the stars when the Houston Symphony performs its Star Spangled Salute, a free concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion starting at 8 p.m. You don't want to miss the canon salute either!

+ Monday, July 4: Red, Hot & Blue Festival and Fireworks Extravaganza! In the morning,  head over to Market Street for the South County Fourth of July Parade at 9 a.m. This year the theme is “Celebrating the American Dream,”. After the parade, beat the heat by visiting one of The Woodlands’ 13 swimming pools for Splash Day from Noon to 4 p.m. at no cost. Later in the evening, go to Northshore Park, located just west of Lake Front Circle on Lake Woodlands Drive, for the "Things That Bike Parade" at 5:30 p.m. Children 14 years and younger are encouraged to bring their patriotically-decorated bike, scooter or wagon and parade around the park. Awards for the most creative entries will be awarded throughout the afternoon. A $5 entry fee is required to participate in the "Things That Bike Parade". Additional decorating materials will be available on-site. Afterwards, enjoy a free live music concert from the local country band Troy Hess & Texas Heartbreakers in the Park. Then before dark, stroll over to the waterway to view the fireworks display.

“We are turning Town Green Park and Waterway Square into The Woodlands largest community entertainment venue to celebrate our nation’s Independence,” says Nelda Blair, chairman of The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors.

Those visiting The Woodlands for the weekend can choose accommodations to suit any taste and budget, including: The Woodlands Resort with its Forest Oasis Waterscape, The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel  (four-diamond property), or the chic AVIA Hotel at Market Street. A number of limited-service and select-service properties also are available nearby.

Waterway Cruisers will operate throughout the day on July 4, 2011, however service will stop for the fireworks display. Services will resume after the fireworks have completed.

For more information, you can find a complete schedule of activities and parking  information, maps, or a listing of hotels and pools in the area, visit Facebook or the website. 2,3

About The Woodlands
Located just 30 minutes north of Houston, Texas and minutes from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, The Woodlands is an emerging destination for leisure guests, individual business travelers and groups of all sizes. Visitors to The Woodlands enjoy more than 5 million square feet of world-class shopping, dining and entertainment options, more than 190 miles of hike-and-bike trails, the 1,700-acre Mitchell Preserve, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, which is in the top 5 of outdoor amphitheatres in the world, and kayaking on The Woodlands Waterway, Lake Woodlands and 121 parks. The Woodlands features world-class golf and was the home of the Shell Houston Open for 17 years. The Woodlands also is home to more than 1,500 guestrooms in upscale and boutique properties, select service, limited service, conference and convention centers and a resort.

1  University of Phoenix Little Firecracker Essay Contest
2  Red, Hot, Blue Event website
3 Red, Hot and Blue facebook

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ironman debuts in The Woodlands, Texas

World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is preparing for their inaugural 2011 Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas race scheduled for Saturday, May 21, 2011, in The Woodlands.  More than 2,500 athletes are expected to compete in the state’s first ultra-distance event.

Saturday’s race will not only bring an impressive pro lineup featuring well-known athletes in the field like Americans Chris Lieto and Linsey Corbin, but also a list of age-group competitors with a range of backgrounds and experiences, offering spectators an incredible look into the sport.  While Texas is the most represented state in this race, there will be athletes from 47 other states and 33 countries from around the world, ranging in age from 18 to 70.

WTC has been engaged with title sponsor Memorial Hermann, The Woodlands Township and The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau to make sure this inaugural Memorial Hermann Ironman event is one for all to remember.  Over the course of 17 hours, athletes will test their physical and mental limits as they race through The Woodlands. As with all competitive sports events, spectators push them on by cheering for them on along their quest to finish the race successfully. Cheer "zones" will be available throughout the course. Parking will be available near the swim start and in parking garages along Waterway Avenue and Lake Robbins Drive.

In addition to the actual race, WTC will host a world-class event expo at the Ironman Village in the northeast parking lot of The Woodlands Town Center.  All athletes, residents and visitors are invited to stop by on Wednesday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Friday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.   There will also be a special Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas Pre-Race Press Conference that is open to the public at the same location on Thursday, May 19, at 11 a.m., featuring top professional competitors and local athletes.

Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas offers a total professional prize purse of $100,000 and 75 qualifying slots for the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship, to be held on Oct. 8 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. 

About Memorial Hermann
Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. Their health care system, with its exceptional medical staff and more than 20,000 employees, serves southeast Texas and the greater Houston community. Memorial Hermann’s 11 hospitals include three hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, with a level 1 trauma center, a children's hospital and a rehabilitation hospital. Also included are three heart & vascular institute locations and eight suburban hospitals. The system also operates an air ambulance, cancer, imaging and surgery centers, sports medicine and rehabilitation centers, outpatient laboratories, a wellness center, a chemical dependency treatment center, a home health agency, a retirement community and a nursing home. 
About World Triathlon Corporation

World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is a Tampa-based company recognized for athletic excellence, distinguished events and quality products. WTC's portfolio includes Ironman, Ironman 70.3, 5150 Triathlon Series, Iron Girl and IronKids brands, which have a combined total of more than 180 events worldwide each year. Supported by partners including Ford, Timex, Foster Grant and PowerBar, Ironman is the No.1 user-based sports brand in the world and has been a respected name in triathlons since its inception in 1978.

About The Woodlands

Located 42 minutes north of Houston, Texas and minutes from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, The Woodlands prides itself as a preferred location for residence, leisure, and business. Within the boundary of The Woodlands,  there are more than 5 million square feet of world-class shopping, dining and entertainment options, more than 185 miles of hike-and-bike trails, the 1,700-acre Mitchell Preserve, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, one of the top 5 outdoor amphitheaters in the world. Lake Woodlands, and 115 parks provide a variety of outdoor opportunities. The Woodlands features world-class golf. It is home to more than 1,400 upscale guest rooms, conference and convention centers and a resort. 

About The Woodlands Township
Located 33 miles north of downtown Houston, Texas, The Woodlands Township is the local government for one of the country’s leading master-planned communities.  This 28,000-acre residential and commercial development is home to nearly 100,000 residents, more than 2,500 businesses, 185 miles of hike and bike paths, 121 parks and millions of square feet of shopping, dining, entertainment venues and commercial office space. The Woodlands Township is committed to supporting a genuine quality lifestyle for its residents, businesses and visitors.

Other sources of information: 
1. - Township Government Website
2. - Memorial Heath Care System
3.  Texas Ironman Race Event