By Forest Riggs
As the song says, “April Showers bring the flowers that bloom in May.” Though April brought very few showers, Galveston Island is ready for the flowers to bloom. May is a big month on the island as tourism really kicks off and several annual events welcome visitors and locals alike.
A drive down Broadway and passing City Cemetery, reveals a brilliant, golden carpet of blooms that surround the tombstones and mausoleums that cover the expansive acreage of the legendary cemetery. It is not uncommon to see folks snapping pictures as tourists, photographers, artists and musicians (to name a few) yearly use the golden scene as a backdrop for creative projects.
The recent turnout for the Tall Ships festival brought huge crowds to the island on both days and the harbor-side venue was packed with paying patrons and visitors. Attendees walked among booths selling everything from goods to nautical items. Those interested were able to board the vessels and take tours inside. Each vessel offered a different style or example of antique, sail-powered vessels of days long gone. A scientific research vessel from NOAA was also docked and open for tours.
Across the harbor, in dry dock is the famed Battleship Texas, brought down from the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in La Porte for repairs and refurbishing. Visitors enjoying the wharf can look across at the powerful piece of American History as she stands and regains her beauty — it’s a very spectacular view at night. There is still some question as to where the ship will eventually find a permanent home. Galveston is certainly in the running for consideration and most feel Pelican Island would make a great new home for the battleship.
Two large events will be happening in May and are sure to draw crowds to the island. The non-profit Clean Galveston, which is dedicated to the preservation and beautification of Galveston Island has revamped and renewed their popular Galveston Backyard Garden Tour. The event will be held on May 20 and is an excellent opportunity to stroll through some of the most beautiful and luscious garden spaces on the island. Tickets are $20 and more information can be found at
Clean Galveston’s Facebook page and on the website at CleanGalveston.org.
Also in May, a very popular event returns. Galveston Historical Foundation will offer visitors an anxiously awaited opportunity to visit ten historic and architecturally significant properties on the island. The Galveston Historic Homes Tour will take place the first two weekends in May, 6 and 7 and again the 13 and 14. This is an excellent time to get a closer look at the gorgeous structures that folks see when walking, biking, or driving through the downtown and old neighborhoods.
A real treat this year will be the 1890 McKinney-McDonald home at 926 Winnie. This restored beauty has quite a history and after a much costly and lengthy restoration, has been bought back to life after a devastating fire nearly destroyed it several years ago. This house is a must see! Tickets to tour the ten properties are $45 prior to the event and $50 after the opening day. (Note: If you go, bring water and sunscreen as waiting in lines to tour a property can be a little long and hot). For more information or to purchase tickets, check out their website at GalvestonHistory.org.
These are just two of the events happening in May. There are numerous events and happenings as summer approaches. For more information and island happenings, check out websites VisitGalveston.com and Galveston.com.
Things are picking up and fast around the island. With the pandemic in the past and folks’ desires to get away and not have to travel far, the island is an excellent destination choice. Great food, nightlife, sandy beaches, shopping and special event are always in the offering.
The rumor of Rumors was true. After a successful run, Todd Slaughter closed the doors on the popular Seawall club. Now the rumor is that another Rumors will eventually open downtown. Stay tuned.
Not one to sit idle, Richard Cotton, owner of the 3102 Seawall Boulevard location that was originally a KFC has known several club incarnations under a rainbow flag, has announced there is a new tenant, Island Time. The new bar has been completely redone and is fabulous. More to come on this new club.
Though dear old icon Robert Mainer has passed on, Robert’s Lafitte continues to draw a nice crowd. Patrons can enjoy the lush garden in the back, swim in the pool. Great libations and of course the hottest drag shows on the island.
23rd Street Piano bar continues to pack ’em in. The musical offerings, along with the tropical patio bar and great drink prices, keep locals and visitors coming back for more. The crowd is a delightful mix of islanders and guests. The club hosts several events such as comedy contests, “Island Idol” competition and numerous fundraisers. Check it out.
Kudos to Todd and Tommy because once again, the dynamic duo has created a fantastic friendly club right on the Seawall. You cannot miss the John Deere colored building and witty signs. The reborn Lucky Lounge, at 904 Avenue M (Seawall), offers great views, the coolest bartenders on the island and a large patio behind. Tito is back with his food truck and serving up delicious, made to order delicacies. A big thanks to Todd and Tommy for creating such a space and bringing so much joy to the community. LL hosts Backyard Parties on Sundays, special events and fundraisers, Trivia Night on Thursdays and much more. Plan a visit. If recent crowds are an indicator, LL will be the “summer spot.”
As always, the island is ready and waiting to make your visit a wonderful experience. Come see us! Be safe and be kind to one another. Happy May.