Tens of thousands of people are expected to pack the streets of Tomball this weekend, for the 13th annual Tomball German Heritage Festival, March 22-24.
"I keep saying this every year, but we are expecting to get bigger and we are adding more quality events," said Grady Martin, president of the Tomball Sister City Organization.
The three day festival will consist of four stages, with more than 400 performers, including bands, musicians, singers and dancers.
"We also will have a bluegrass stage all weekend at the Depot, over by the gazebo," Martin said.
The Alex Meixner Band will be performing all three days, at the Ziegenbock stage. Meixner is a Grammy nominated accordion performer, known worldwide.
"This will be the only performance he has where the public can see him for free," said Martin.
There will also be booths filled with more than 100 vendors, peddling everything from cigars to candy and beer to homemade bratwursts.
"Of course the carnival will be there like always," Martin added.
There will also be a petting zoo, street performers, arts and crafts, a heritage center and a special church service Sunday morning at 10 a.m., near the gazebo.
Martin also said that Saturday morning, at 10:45 a.m., the head of the German Consulate in Houston, Klaus Gluecke and Tomball Mayor Gretchen Fagan will lead a short walking parade from City Hall to the Depot Plaza, where a ceremonial keg will be tapped in honor of German heritage.
Martin said that the event last year drew close to 40,000 visitors and he expects more this year.
"The city took pictures from Michael 1 (the police department's air unit) last year," he said. "They studied them and then used a state formula and came up with an estimate of 40,000 people last year."
"If we have good weather, then we expect an even bigger crowd this year," Martin added.
The event schedule includes Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with events all over the downtown Tomball area. Admission is free.
"Each year we keep getting bigger and I think it's all because we have shown how great of a place Tomball is to visit," Martin said.
For more information visit www.tomballgermanfest.org.