Tuesday’s rededication ceremonies for the newly restored Comal County Courthouse will be open to the public, Comal County Judge Sherman Krause said Thursday.
The ceremonies had been previously announced as by-invitation-only because of the capacity limits of some 200 in the courthouse’s District Courtroom, where the ceremonies were to be held.
But Krause said the large numbers expressing interest in attending and the expected pleasant weather allowed officials to open the ceremonies to the public. The festivities have been moved to the front steps of the courthouse facing Main Plaza.
“We want to allow people to participate, so we made the decision to do that,” he said.
Main Plaza and its traffic circle will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon to better accommodate the expected crowd, Krause said.
The 10 a.m. ceremonies will feature dignitaries, speeches, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the ringing of the courthouse’s bells — even the firing of a cannon.
Krause said the bells in the courthouse’s refurbished bell tower “have not rung in quite some time, but they’ll ring again on Tuesday. Some local churches in the area will be ringing their bells as well.”
The cannon-firing pays homage to the cannon blasts that accompanied dedication ceremonies for Comal County’s original courthouse back in 1860, as well as the opening of the current courthouse in 1898.
“We wanted to continue that tradition,” Krause said.
The date on which the ceremonies are to be held, Jan. 22, is also a nod to tradition, Krause said. That was the date the courthouse was originally dedicated in 1898 — and the date on which the 100th anniversary of the courthouse was held in 1998, he said.
Other events planned
The judge said the completion of the $8.6 million restoration will be celebrated with a week-long series of events.
Among them will be:
• An open house from 2-4 p.m. Sunday for county employees, who will be working on Tuesday when the rededication ceremonies are held.
“The restored courthouse is beautiful,” Krause said. “I encourage all county employees and their families to come out and see it.”
• A “Media Day” will be held on Monday.
• Tuesday’s observances will include a VIP Breakfast at the courthouse at 8:30 a.m. Officials from New Braunfels, Garden Ridge and Bulverde, as well as area school districts, chambers of commerce and civic groups are among the invitees.
“This is the Comal County Courthouse and all of these organizations represent areas of Comal County, so we wanted them to have the chance to participate,” Krause said.
• Also Tuesday, a public open house will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., during which docents from Comal County Historical Commission will lead tours of the courthouse.
• On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, New Braunfels ISD second-graders who have been studying about the courthouse and have made paper models of the historic structure will tour the facility.
Comal County Historical Commission docents say they expect some 500 second-graders.