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Central Station Brick & Brew: Breathing New Life Into Old Digs

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By Johnny Griffith

There’s a well known saying about not being able to teach old dogs new tricks, but it certainly didn’t mention anything about old buildings or new businesses, and there aren’t too many buildings around East Texas older than the one on the corner of Pacific and Main in Downtown Gladewater.

Originally a Texaco Station in the 1930’s, the property was a working service station for more than several decades before housing a few different ventures over the next several years. Recently, the address has found some of it’s former glory with the Central Station Brick & Brew, a restaurant and music venue that honors much of the building’s storied past while giving it a new lease on life. Local businessmen Tim Barnett and Dale Rhodes bought the property just over a year ago and spent most of their time over the next several months overseeing the renovation of the property to house the restaurant.

Now one could say the last thing East Texas needs is another restaurant as it seems as if there is a new one popping up every couple of weeks, but the residents of Gladewater might argue that this is just what the Downtown area needed as an anchor to help kick-start a revitalization of the old business district. Not just another pizza and beer place, some of the unique aspects of Central Station include a true brick oven for fresh, handmade pizzas, locally sourced meats for their burgers like the ½ pound “Station Burger,” and more than 32 Texas craft beers at the custom made bar.

In addition to the fantastic menu, when one walks into the business, you are immediately transported back to the 1930’s with renovations that bring out much of the original history of the building and keep the service station feel. Though the exterior received a much-needed modern face lift and the inside was completely re-wired, brought up to current code, and renovated with customers in mind, many of the original features can still be seen throughout the restaurant.

Some of the nostalgia includes the original restrooms, which were preserved and restored with vintage tiles; roll-up garage doors were added to the area that now serves as a music room for local and national artists alike; an original parts bin found off-site sitting in a barn and brought back to the location for display; and various car parts, road signs, and other curios adorn the location.

Not simply dwelling on the past, Central Station has some new improvements on the property that allow visitors to enjoy the entire Downtown experience. In addition to the renovations inside, there was an upper deck added over the music room, which allows a panoramic view of the historic Downtown area as well as an outdoor seating patio complete with “patio games” and a convenient view of the stage when the bay doors are rolled up.

The music room is an intimate setting that puts the musicians and audience in close proximity, but attention to detail in the acoustics and sound system allow the diners to enjoy eating while not being blown away. There is music on most Friday and Saturday nights, with many local performers taking the stage including local regulars like the Darrin Morris Band and Sean Berry as well as the occasional Nashville connection from performers like Neal McCoy or John Berry.

Central Station isn’t simply a place to grab a bite and a brew; it’s a destination for a lazy weekend afternoon, winding down after work on a weekday, or catching music and hanging out with your friends for a few hours on Friday or Saturday nights. Capitalizing on the already laid-back atmosphere of the Downtown area, Central Station encourages wasting away an afternoon on the upper deck, drinking a cold beer, iced tea, or soda, listening to music, and spending time watching the cars and the occasional train roll by.

Within walking distance of the restaurant there are several antique shops, the Gladewater Museum, the Gladewater Opry, and several other shops to occupy your time as you stroll around Downtown, ending back at Central Station about the time the evening entertainment is warming up.

Be sure to visit the bar before taking your seat and peruse the craft beer menu. Some of the taps are even run out of an old car rear end in keeping with the theme. You’ll find breweries from all over the state represented as well as several brews from right here in East Texas.

You’ll also want to be sure to give the menu some special attention, and take in all of the specialty items like “The Whole Hog,” a 12 inch wood fired pizza with house pulled pork, ham, bacon, mozzarella, and topped with a house bbq sauce made with produce from local farmers. If you’re more of a burger person, then by all means go for the “Station Burger,” a ½ lb burger made with locally sourced, grass fed meat from Iron Farms, seasoned in-house, and served on a southern bun with all the proper accessories and your choice of mayo, mustard, or sriracha sauce and topped with a fried egg, bacon, or cheese.

Finally, make sure you save room for dessert with selections like the “Chocolate Stout Cake,” made in-house with #12 Wood Creek Brewery Vanilla Porter, drizzled with a house-made porter chocolate sauce and topped with salted pecans and powdered sugar.

With a great menu, quality staff, and superb location, Central Station is sure to become your next destination point on the weekends. Take the short drive over to Gladewater and step back in time to when things ran a little slower, sit on the patio, and watch the world go by, one song at a time.

The Central Station Brick & Brew is open Thursday 3-10pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm, and Sunday 9am-4pm. It is located at 103 N. Main St., Gladewater.

For more info go to gladewatercentral.com or facebook.com/thecentralstation.

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Around East Texas

August 18th: A Rock ‘n Roll Summer of CESSE Fun

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Visitors of the Center for Earth & Space Science Education (CESSE) at Tyler Junior College will have a lot of fun this month.

Most shows offer tickets for $5. Tickets for All Day passes are $12 for adults and $9 for students, children, and senior citizens. Exhibit only tickets are $3. Tickets can be purchased at sciencecenter.tjc.edu.

CESSE is open Tuesday-Friday 9:30am-4:30pm, and Saturday 10am-4:30pm. CESSE is located on the Tyler Junior College campus at 1411 E. Lake St., Tyler.

Rock ‘n Roll Saturday

Rock ‘n Roll Saturday is fun for the entire family! Two shows will be presented. July 21st “SpacePark360” will be shown at 7pm and “Rock on Demand” at 8pm. August 18th the two shows will be shown again.

“SpacePark360” takes audiences on a wild, immersive ride through the solar system, recreating the experience of amusement park thrill rides – roller coasters, pendulums, inverters, and more. Seen from the rider’s perspective, “SpacePark360” combines full dome technology with thrill rides to create a heart-pounding experience.

“Rock on Demand” fills the entire 40-foot domed theater with vibrant graphics, completely enveloping visitors in a 360-degree view while the 16,000-watt, digital surround sound system plays rock hits ranging from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to The Doors and Aerosmith.

Tickets are $5 for each show. This is fun for the entire family!

Dome Shows

CESSE offers a variety of Dome Shows. Call for availability in the event field trips may have been scheduled. Daily show schedules are:

10am – Children’s Show

11am – “SpacePark360”

12 noon – “National Parks Adventure”

1pm – “Dream Big: Engineering Our World”

2pm – “Extreme Weather”

3pm – “Space Next”

4pm – “Moons: Worlds of Mystery”

New this month is “Extreme Weather.” Weather has always been one of the most dynamic and complex forces shaping our planet, but now it’s intensifying in varied and complex ways. “Extreme Weather” takes us to the front lines where few have gone. Among the melting tidewater glaciers of Alaska, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Dr. Erin Pettit leads a young team of researchers into the splash zone at the face of Dawes Glacier aboard a boat custom-designed to get as close as possible to the calving ice. Using a variety of instruments, her team works to measure the rate of melting to help build a more accurate model of global ocean level rise.

A FREE Star Party Saturday

June 2nd (ongoing the first Saturday of each month), you can see a Star Party in a live presentation in CESSE’s 40-foot planetarium dome. This is a unique opportunity for families to view the beautiful heavens of east Texas. Best of all, it is completely FREE!

Learn all about the stars, the planets, and the constellations as you take a tour of the night sky and travel to distant planets and beyond. There will also be a TJC astronomy professor with telescopes set up outside (weather permitting) for you to gaze at the astronomical objects with your own eyes until 10pm.

Live Sky shows will be at 8pm, 8:30pm, and 9pm. Telescope viewing will be 8-10pm.

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Around East Texas

Amy Holden Concert Benefiting Children’s Miracle Network, Aug. 24th


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For one night only, east Texas singer-songwriter Amy Holden is set to perform live in concert at Liberty Hall on Friday, August 24th at 8pm.

Amy’s friends, Cole Risner, Meredith Crawford, and Milo Deering are also set to perform.

Fresh off her single release, “Best Time” on Texas Red Dirt Radio, Amy brings a new soulful twang with her style and flavor of upbeat country music to Tyler. Amy, a Nashville and Texas recording artist, has performed from New Zealand to the House of Blues. Bring the whole family to this family-friendly event and be prepared to be thoroughly entertained.

100% of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. This fundraising event is sponsored by Texas Strong Promotions, Fire Dog Records, and Amy Holden Music Group.

Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin, Downtown Tyler. Tickets are available at libertytyler.com.


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East Texas State Fair Returns Sept. 21st-30th!

East Texas State Fair to Bring Lots of Festivities!

The 2018 East Texas State Fair takes place September 21st-30th in Tyler.

The annual East Texas State Fair is set to host an estimated 250,000 visitors during the ten-day event to enjoy concerts, shows, rides, food, exhibits, and much more. Here’s a look at just some of the festivities to come:

Sheldon Casavant, Magician: World-renowned magician Sheldon Casavant takes the stage in the historic Mayfair building for an amazing show full of laughter, thrills, and impressive illusions. The show is featured each night during the fair at 8pm. The show is set to be as impressive as the 100-year-old building it’s hosted in. The historic Mayfair building was built in the late 1920’s and has seen musicians such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and so many more. While the building hasn’t been used in many years, fair organizers are opening it up once again for this spectacular show. Every Day.

The Craft Beer Tour: New to the fair this year the craft beer tour is an event you don’t want to miss. Craft breweries from all over Texas will gather in the upscale venue to present their beers to the public. For just $15 you can purchase a passport to sample up to 24 different beers from all over the State of Texas. So gather your friends and embark on a craft beer adventure. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the Fair.

The Summit: The ultimate party in the heart of the Fair! The Summit is an all-new venue for live music, beer, margaritas, and a great place to hang out with friends and family. The Summit stage will feature live local music from artist such as Ray Johnston Band, Billie Jo Sewell, Holly Tucker, Sabrina Toole, and many more. Every Day.

Chili Cook-Off: Come enjoy samples of chili from over 30 different teams as they compete for the prize of “Grand Champion.” It’s going to be a great place to hang out with live music, cold beer, and plenty of delicious chili. Interested in having a team of your own? Gather your friends, family, co-workers, etc. and register to compete. Sunday, September 23rd beginning at 9am.

Sea Lion Splash: Sea Lion Splash is a unique show that will have crowds cheering and laughing. It’s an educational show with a “splash.” The sea lions will amaze the crowd as they balance balls, shoot hoops, dance, perform stunts, and show their pretty smiles. This is the only show in the U.S. to feature both California and South American sea lions.

Timberworks: You’ll love this fast-paced thrilling show as two authentic lumberjacks go head-to-head in a variety of competitions. These include log rolling, cross-cut sawing, hot sawing, axe throwing, chainsaw carving, chopping, and speed pole climbing. Timberwork’s Lumberjack Show offers spectators a unique blend of logging history, world class competition, and plenty of hilarious comedy. Every Day.

The Sound Exchange: The Sound Exchange is a five member a cappella group bringing dazzling harmonies, and wise-cracking audience interaction together in a whirlwind a cappella experience that is not to be missed. Whether you love soulful ballads, blistering rock anthems, jazz standards, or chart-topping singles…. or, perhaps you just love to laugh and have fun. Then, you’re in for a treat with the hijinks & harmonies of The Sound Exchange. Every Day

That’s not all! The Fair will be full of a variety of exhibits, attractions, rides, games, and more. From fair favorites like the petting zoo, pony rides, and the legendary food row to a variety of exhibits like AgriWorld, Creative Arts, and The Marketplace there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

This impressive lineup of all things new to do at the Fair will not disappoint- there’s truly something for everyone. And let’s not forget all the favorite returning attractions:

The Great American Petting Zoo: This petting zoo is unlike any other- held within a 1,200 square foot enclosure, each animal runs freely with the public once inside. A favorite among kiddos, these friendly animals- all hand raised here in Texas- make for a ton of fun in this barrier-free petting zoo. The space is kept immaculately clean, and trained petting zoo staff are always available for any questions. Open every single day of the Fair, find more info here: etstatefair.com/events/2018/great-american-petting-zoo(17)/

The Pony Rides: Your kid will thank you for this one! Come let them experience a real live pony ride, carousel style. For $5, these beautiful, purebred Welsh ponies will take your kiddos for a ride they won’t soon forget. Presented by Pony Express of Texas, these local ponies are safe, clean, and a whole lotta fun. Happening everyday of the fair, find more info here: etstatefair.com/events/2018/pony-rides/

Carnival Rides and Games: As always, the Fair won’t leave you hanging if you’re in need of some thrill or friendly competition. You’ll find tons of exciting rides like The Freak Out, The Tornado, and The Ring of Fire, along with plenty of gaming fun this year at the Fair. For detailed schedule and pricing info, head here: etstatefair.com/p/entertainment-/carnival-rides

Legendary Food Row: Mac & Cheese Fries, Chocolate Covered Fried Bacon, Chili Dogs, Turkey Legs, 4 Meat Baked Potato, Fried Cheesecake…need we say more? The options available at Food Row are endless- wear your comfy pants and your maybe belt a tad loose, because everyone knows there’s no such thing as a diet during the Fair. This is the real deal, folks- find a list of all the different vendors and food offerings here (it’s crazy long!): etstatefair.com/p/entertainment-/food-row

A Ride Share: a special new drop-off lane for coming and going to the fair, made for guests who use a Rideshare service for transportation instead of driving themselves. That’s right folks: this is the year that Fair parking woes and hassles will finally come to an end, leaving you with more important things to worry about (like whether to order a smoked turkey leg or funnel cake..or both.)

“Our goal is to take some of the strain off of our parking lots and make it easier for visitors to come and go safely. The lane will literally drop you off right at the North gate. You’ll step out of your car and walk right in!” -Cody Rosenbalm, Director of Marketing at Park of East Texas.

The drop-off lane is located at the intersection of Front St. (Hwy 31) and Fair Park Dr. The lane is only accessible when traveling eastbound on Front St. (Hwy 31) from the Loop towards downtown.

It’s hard to believe how much there is to offer at this year’s Fair- the organizers have gone above and beyond to ensure an unforgettable experience for each and every guest.

And don’t forget- there’s still SO much more to see and do at the Fair in addition to this incredible curation of attractions. Whether it be the Photography Contest, the Livestock Show, Senior Day Bingo, or the countless exhibits in The Marketplace, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Gear up, everybody- The East Texas State Fair plans to blow it out of the water for 2018. See you there!

For more information or to get tickets go to etstatefair.com.

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