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Henry III cur­rently serves in this of­fice. He is a beer drink­ing goat – third in a line of oth­ers of his breed – who was elected mayor of the town. His slate of op­po­nents in­cluded a three-legged dog and a wooden In­dian. The elec­tion was “bought,” as in or­der to vote, you had to pay a buck for the can­di­date of your choice. Story has it that Clay Henry reg­u­larly breaks out of his pen and cor­ners his con­stituency in pur­suit of his fa­vorite bev­er­age. When we vis­ited the em­i­nent mayor, he was eat­ing and not avail­able for in­ter­views! The nearby town of Ter­lin­gua is an­other quirky and fun des­ti­na­tion that of­ten flies un­der the radar. Many folks are un­aware that the town is the site of two dis­tin­guished chili cook-offs; the Chili Ap­pre­ci­a­tion So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional and the Frank X. Tol­bert/wick Fowler World Chili Cham­pi­onships. Over 10,000 “chili­heads” par­tic­i­pate in these com­pe­ti­tions. In ad­di­tion to its chili con­test rep­u­ta­tion, Ter­lin­gua also gets props for hav­ing its own ghost town. The Ter­lin­gua Ghost Town has the largest con­cen­tra­tion of min­ing ar­chi­tec­ture in the re­gion dat­ing back to the early 1900s, now re­stored as shops, restau­rants and homes. Guided tours of the area are avail­able with the op­por­tu­nity to learn about a place where “plumb­ing is op­tional, the sky serves as the water dis­trict and elec­tric­ity is some­thing you pro­vide for your­self.”

Nearby, the Ter­lin­gua Ceme­tery of­fers a glimpse into the past, when min­ing was ar­du­ous work amid such a prim­i­tive land­scape. Wooden crosses mark stone-cov­ered graves of peo­ple killed in min­ing ac­ci­dents and the in­fluenza epi­demic of 1918. If you hap­pen to be in Ter­lin­gua for Dia de los Muer­tos, or the Day of the Dead, the ceme­tery is the place to be. Lo­cals dec­o­rate the graves, cre­ate elab­o­rate al­tars, light can­dles and gather to­gether to break bread in a com­mu­nity feast. Many in­di­vid­u­als adorn them­selves in cos­tumes fit­ting the oc­ca­sion. It’s a tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tion marked by beauty, solem­nity and peace.

For more in­for­ma­tion on all things Big Bend visit: www.vis­it­big­bend.com

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