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