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Bash Festivities Begin in Commerce This Weekend

The 27th Annual Bois d’ Arc Bash kicks 0ff with live music starting at 5 p.m. Friday on the downtown square.

Four bands take the stage that night, with the Texas A&M University-Commerce Steel Drum Band Panimation to open the festivities. A performance by Graham Wilkinson beginning at 9:30 p.m. will conclude the first night of entertainment.

A 5k run begins Saturday morning, with live music continuing throughout the afternoon and evening, plus dozens of food and craft vendors, a pageant, kids zone and wine tasting.

The 3-day event, presented by the Commerce Chamber of Commerce, concludes Sunday with the 17th Annual Bois d’ Arc Bash Classic Car and Truck Show.

Learn more at the event website.

The yearly event is to commemorate the bois d’ arc tree. The Texas Legislature has designated Commerce as the Bois d’ Arc Capital of Texas, and the area is developing a reputation for its crafts and research related to the tree.

According to Dr. Fred Tarpley, professor emeritus of Literature and Languages at A&M-Commerce, several bois d’ arc craftsmen will be discussing their enthusiasm for the native tree and exhibiting their creations during Saturday's festivities. He tells us what's in store:

Decorative and practical crafts created from bois d’ arc and other wood will be on display at the Commerce City Hall from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Among the crafters will be Dr. Jerry Lytle, who grew up on a farm near Commerce intrigued by the grain, contours, and mystique of bois d’ arc. In segments of bois d’ arc, he recognizes potential designs to accentuate with his chisel by cutting through bark, sapwood, and heartwood. The results are what he calls unique décor pieces. The craftsman also has paper weights, walking sticks, walking canes. Popular among children are “forever sticks,” short lengths of polished bois d’ arc accompanied by a laminated greeting card explaining how the wood will last forever, just like the donor’s love. Members of the Lytle family have donated a seventy-foot length of a bois d’ arc tree trunk for a new park in the downtown area on Main Street in front of the City Hall. Jerry Lytle prepared the specimen for display. Dr. Jim Conrad, recognized as “the man in the bois d’ arc suit, will demonstrate how he makes flowers from horse apples, paper from different parts of the tree, and dye from roots and bark. Art Hendrix, a member of the Hunt County Woodturners Association as well as a bois d’arc crafter, has a variety of wooden creations, many of them made from bois d’ arc. On his lathe, he has turned pens, pencils, vases, bowls, key rings, ring holders, bottle stoppers, Christmas ornaments, and cheese board mice. Kent and Jay Garrett have designed tables, chairs, stools, kitchen utensils, oversized pencils for children, rolling pins, attitude adjusters, herds of reindeer as lawn decor, name plates for desks and a variety of signs, many expressing traditional Texas attitudes. Dr. Fred Tarpley will have copies of Wood Eternal, a comprehensive book about the history, lore, uses, and botanical uniqueness of the bois d’ arc tree, also known as Osage orange, hedge apple, and horse apple.