These things could be done easily by the Park Board of Trustees, most at minimal expense, and would define the island’s ethos in a way that is both fun and sophisticated attracting that sort of visitor.
Trebuchet demonstration, contest: These machines were once used to annoy the defenders of besieged cities and fortress by propelling into their midst dead cows, severed heads, combustible materials and rocks. Even without the use of dead cows and Greek fire, the seldom seen machines offer a striking spectacle.
A contest involving target practice and prizes for accuracy, authenticity and innovation and, perhaps, size would be a unique event. It would appeal to both the NASCAR crowd and to engineering geeks.
It could be sponsored by the engineering department of Texas A&M at Galveston, who could issue a challenge to other engineering departments — University of Texas, Texas Tech, MIT, Cal-Tech and Carnegie-Mellon. The Park Board should underwrite its cost and hold it at Apffel Park. This should produce national press coverage.
Fireworks: Shoot fireworks from a different groin or pier each week, every Friday or Saturday. Moody Gardens has done this in the bayou, in summer, but there’s room to do it on the seawall, as well.
Monthly or weekly sailboat races in front of seawall: There are few sights on the seawall as striking as watching the sailboats, with spinnakers set, begin the Harvest Moon Regetta.
Hold sailboat races in front of the seawall on a course that would allow them to be visible much of the day from different seawall venues.
To assure participation, give a silver trophy and a donation of $1,000 to the charity of winner’s choice, and a large silver cup and $10,000 to winner of the most races each year. Start with monthly races as most of the contestants will have to travel from Clear Lake, their being insufficient infrastructure here.
This would help develop the sailing community here and would certainly fill enough hotel rooms to pay for the relatively modest cost while generating positive public relations.
Island walk and seawall walk: A walk or run the complete distance of the seawall, another the complete distance of the island. These races would be unique and would call attention to the island’s geography and history, the way marks could be historical or topographical landmarks. This would be easy for the Park Board to do, perhaps a project for the Beach Patrol in the winter?
Battle of the bands: Invite high school bands to compete in Kermit Courville Stadium, or at Moody Gardens, and end with a parade down seawall boulevard.
Give substantial cash prize to the winning school. This would be independent of the state’s bi-annual band contest.
Moonfest Galveston: The city could turn off the street lights on a portion of the seawall so the harvest moon could be better viewed. This could be done several nights during October and September. This is reminiscent of the practice viewing the cherry blossoms in Japan. It will emphasize that Galveston is sensitive to the environment.