TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
New   |   Texas Towns   |   Ghost Towns   |   Counties   |   Trips   |   Features   |   Columns   |   Architecture   |   Images   |   Archives   |   Site Map

Columns
History/Opinion

Counties
Texas Counties

Texas Towns
A - Z
Books by
Michael Barr
Order Here:
Texas | Columns

"Hindsights"

Looking back at:

The Mud Daubers
Return to Luckenbach

By Michael Barr
Michael Barr

On March 19, 1977, at 2:30 in the afternoon, a lone mud dauber flew in low over South Grape Creek, darted around for a few minutes and landed on an empty beer can. The crowd of 8,000 went wild, scaring the daylights out of the nervous little critter who immediately lit out in the direction of Cain City. You know those people in Luckenbach. Any flimsy excuse to throw a beer party.

The idea for the "Mud Dauber Fest" or more formally "When the Mud Daubers Come Back to Luckenbach Day," may have come from a letter Hondo Crouch wrote to Elizabeth Taylor in 1976, inviting the famous actress to come to Luckenbach. For some unexplainable reason, Hondo began extolling the artistic genius of mud daubers.

"If you like mud daubers Liz," Hondo wrote, "you'll be ecstatic. Luckenbach is the mud dauber capital of the world. We've just got mud dauber sculptures everywhere. Some of it is just breathtaking and some of it is a little obscene so we try to keep it out of sight of the children."

"They will really go all out if you come. We're resting them up right now (their daubers get sore) but they'll be out there just daubing away in September."

"I sure hope you can come. A Luckenbach moon can make even an ugly girl look pretty. Think of what it can do for a beauty like you."

When Hondo died later that year, the resident characters at Luckenbach took the mud dauber idea and ran with it.

"Every March 19 the mud daubers come back to Luckenbach," spokesman Jack Harmon explained. "They come back - swarms of 'em - all rested up - ready to put their little daubers to work creating wonderful mud sculptures."

Luckenbach TX Post Office
Luckenbach Post Office
Photo courtesy Michael Barr, November 2017
Luckenbach TX Hondo Crouch Bust
Hondo Crouch Bust in Luckenbach
Photo courtesy Michael Barr, November 2017

It was no accident that the Mud Dauber Fest fell on March 19 - the same day the swallows returned to San Juan Capistrano in California. The motive was revenge. It seems Texans were still bent out of shape because organizers moved the World Chili Cookoff from Terlingua to Hollywood.

"Everything would have been alright if they hadn't messed with our chili." Jack Harmon said.

Luckenbach Mayor Kathy Morgan invited President Carter's brother Billy to the Mud Dauber Fest to serve as Mayor for a Day. A lot of people felt sorry for Billy who had just lost his second bid for mayor of Plains, Georgia.

Opting not to pay the First Brother's traveling expenses "since it might look like influence peddling," the mayor instead offered Billy all the beer he could drink.

If you remember Billy, it might have been cheaper to pay his traveling expenses.

But the mayor withdrew the invitation after calling Billy's home, his service station and his peanut warehouse in Plains and getting no answer.

"That Okay," she declared. "We'll just have that much more beer to drink."

The mayor's office was flooded with offers to take Billy's place, given the same terms.

The Mud Dauber Fest began when the mayor poured a bottle of melted snow from Buffalo, New York into the creek as a gesture of friendship between Luckenbach and its sister city on Lake Erie.

The relationship between Luckenbach and Buffalo came about because of all the publicity Buffalo received from a contest at the Mud Dauber Fest.

It was a song writing competition about the mud daubers returning to Luckenbach. The winner got nothing. The loser got a free trip to Buffalo in January.

Another event was washer pitching on the beautifully manicured playing surface located in the sticker patch on the high ground along South Grape Creek.

Vendors peddled, among other things, leftover bicentennial souvenirs, giving manufacturers "one last chance to rip off the public." Ten percent of all sales went to the Hondo Crouch "I told You So" Memorial Fund.

The Mud Dauber Fest drew a large crowd. Beer flowed like rain water through a storm drain, and there was a funny smelling smoke in the air.

The multitude waited all day for the mud daubers. Only one dauber showed up, and he didn't stay long.

Luckenbach TX Sign
Luckenbach Texas, Est. 1849
Photo courtesy Michael Barr, November 2017

Michael Barr
"Hindsights" March 1, 2020 Column

Sources:
"Luckenbach Mayor Invites Liz To Nonbicentennial Festivities." Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 28, 1976.
"Luckenbach Mud Dauber Fest Saturday," Fredericksburg Standard, March 16, 1977.
"Lowly Mud Daubers To Have Day In Luckenbach," Fredericksburg Standard, February 16, 1977.
"Thousands jam Luckenbach for return of mud daubers," Brownwood Bulletin, March 20, 1977.


"Hindsights" by Michael Barr

  • Gillespie County Goat Becomes Navy Mascot 2-15-20
  • The Hypnotic Power of Television 2-1-20
  • The Magic of Radio 1-15-20
  • Drama at the Tax Office 1-1-20
  • The Mysteries of Buffalo Cave 12-15-19

    See More »

  • More
    Columns

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Texas Escapes Online Magazine »   Archive Issues » Home »
    TEXAS TOWNS & COUNTIES TEXAS LANDMARKS & IMAGES TEXAS HISTORY & CULTURE TEXAS OUTDOORS MORE
    Texas Counties
    Texas Towns A-Z
    Texas Ghost Towns

    TEXAS REGIONS:
    Central Texas North
    Central Texas South
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Texas Panhandle
    Texas Hill Country
    East Texas
    South Texas
    West Texas

    Courthouses
    Jails
    Churches
    Schoolhouses
    Bridges
    Theaters
    Depots
    Rooms with a Past
    Monuments
    Statues

    Gas Stations
    Post Offices
    Museums
    Water Towers
    Grain Elevators
    Cotton Gins
    Lodges
    Stores
    Banks

    Vintage Photos
    Historic Trees
    Cemeteries
    Old Neon
    Ghost Signs
    Signs
    Murals
    Gargoyles
    Pitted Dates
    Cornerstones
    Then & Now

    Columns: History/Opinion
    Texas History
    Small Town Sagas
    Black History
    WWII
    Texas Centennial
    Ghosts
    People
    Animals
    Food
    Music
    Art

    Books
    Cotton
    Texas Railroads

    Texas Trips
    Texas Drives
    Texas State Parks
    Texas Rivers
    Texas Lakes
    Texas Forts
    Texas Trails
    Texas Maps
    USA
    MEXICO
    HOTELS

    Site Map
    About Us
    Privacy Statement
    Disclaimer
    Contributors
    Staff
    Contact Us

     
    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved