What started as a cloudy Saturday morning quickly gave way as a bright sun shone down on Round Top’s Town Square. The town’s sesquicentennial celebration might have been delayed by a full year due to the pandemic, but the change of date only added to the anticipation and excitement.

Put on by the Round Top Chamber of Commerce, the day was full of commemoration for Round Top’s impressive now 151-year history and a look towards its future.

Celebrants arrived early and mingled while eagerly awaiting the 10 am kickoff. The 150th birthday party began with the “Pledge of Allegiance,” a prayer, and a few words from Fayette County Judge Joe Weber. Everyone then received a startling surprise when the cannon went off on the other side of the square without much (or any) warning. This signaled the start of the festivities.

Those who hadn’t had their morning coffee yet were surely jolted awake all the same by that loud boom.

Setting the tone for the day, the lively square morphed into a polka music venue with the Round Top Brass Band providing the tunes. People sat under the big tent and bopped their heads or wandered around the square to hit the tents of the many local businesses, often with furry friend on a leash.

Round Top Party

Round Top Mayor Mark Massey and Kasey Massey, who happen to be newlyweds, were in attendance celebrating the big day for Round Top.

“It is officially our sesquicentennial birthday celebration for the town,” Mark Massey says. “It was scheduled for August of last year but due to COVID we pushed it to today and also cooler weather too.”

Yes, sometimes an unexpected change works out for the best. The gorgeous spring day turned out to be the perfect backdrop for a happy celebration. To honor everyone who brings life to a small Texas town, local businesses were a big focus of the day.

“Today we’re celebrating 150 years of Round Top in the making and supporting local,” Massey tells RoundTop.com. “From local live music, the German Heritage historic home tours, showcasing local restaurants and their best dishes to grab and go . . . It’s a big day of celebration, family fun, and all kinds of activity.”

Newlyweds, Kasey Massey and Mayor Mark Massey at Town Square
Newlyweds Kasey Massey and Mayor Mark Massey join in on the festivities at Town Square. (Photo by Chris Bachman)

There was no shortage of food with local restaurants well represented on the Square. The Garden Co. brought delicious bacon-wrapped chicken on a stick. Mandito’s, Popi Burger and Lulu’s all offered food and drinks. Teague’s Tavern’s tent quenched party-goers’ thirst. Round Top Coffee Shop’s tent became the go-to spot for a caffeine boost. For a sweet treat, Lollitop Sweetshop’s tent was packed full of baked goods and Royer’s Cafe sold pies by the slice or whole.

While food was a big part of the 150th celebration, and rightfully so, almost all of Round Top was represented on the Square. Including the Round Top Family Library, which had a book tent with sales benefiting the library.

But it’s not a birthday party if there’s no cake. Inside Town Hall, a sea of red and blue frosted cupcakes covered the tables for the 500 Cupcake Party, provided by Bodega at La Grange.

Round Top Music

The magical Festival Institute delighted audiences with several performances. Just down the road from Town Square, the Insitute is Round Top’s very own fairytale castle. The Institute’s jaw-droppingly intricate stage plays host to notable musicians from all over the world during an ordinary year.

In honor of both Round Top’s sesquicentennial and the Festival Institute’s upcoming 50th anniversary, the main stage turned into a free showcase on this day. From fiddle to piano. It all culminated in a live set from the founder of the Festival Institute — renowned concert pianist James Dick.

Kicking off the free concert, singer and songwriter Julie Bouchard serenaded the crowd with an Ed Sheeran cover, a couple of her own songs and a cover of “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King.

James Dick playing the piano
James Dick masterfully plays the piano at the Festival Institute for concertgoers. (Photo by Chris Bachman)

Next to the stage, the newly elected Mayor of Fayetteville, Mike Stroup, played guitar alongside accomplished fiddler Robert Herridge. They got the party going and the crowd joined in with Western Swing (the national music of Texas) and sing-alongs of tunes such as “Home-Grown Tomatoes” by Guy Clark. The dynamic duo even played “Cajun Fiddle” by Robert Herridge with a fiddle solo that garnered cheers and applause.

Capping off the afternoon’s performances, Dick took to the elegant stage dressed to the nines in a gray suit and bright green tie. Starting with a bow and thanking everyone for coming out, Dick delighted with three pieces. Taking a bow in-between each piece, the pianist ended his performance with an incredibly energetic performance of “Rhapsody in C Major” by Ernst von Dohnányi. Playing the final note with a flourish, Dick earned a roaring standing ovation.

That’s how you end a long-awaited 150th birthday party. Round Top style.