City of Garden Ridge marks its 50th birthday | Community Alert

Nestled between San Antonio and New Braunfels is the small, quiet city of Garden Ridge — but it hasn’t always been there.

Prior to its incorporation as a city, Garden Ridge was known for being a small community of a few hundred people, who were drawn to the location for its natural forest scenery and its spaced-out, country living.

However, against the substrates of the rural-style setting in the early ’70s, the cities of San Antonio and Schertz were beginning to expand their populations and further develop their economies.

Sensing the impending growth of their neighbors and wanting to preserve their way of life, the people of Garden Ridge banded together and petitioned to make the community its own city.

That was July 6, 1972.

Today, the city with the tagline “A way of life, not just a place to live” is home to over 4,000 residents and still maintains the rustic, small town charm it was known for five decades ago.

Although the area around them continues to develop, allowing for its residents to benefit from corporate businesses and restaurants, its ultimate goal of keeping out big industries like fast food chains, continues to set them apart.

“We work hard and go fast,” Garden Ridge Mayor Robb Erickson said. “We want to slow down and keep that country feel, so (we try) to keep that heavy industry outside of our city limits so that when we drive back in , we can take a deep breath and go home. ”

While still keeping a firm grip on its traditions, Garden Ridge is looking to expand its community atmosphere by bringing locally-owned businesses and restaurants to the area that enhance the best aspects of the city.

“We have been off the grid, if you will, for a long time, and we are no longer off the grid — we’re here, and we want everybody to know we’re here to work toward that,” Erickson said. “It’s a pretty great place to live and hopefully becomes a great place (for recreation).”

Even with some changes on the horizon, the city is still heavily embedded in tradition and the concept of home — something to be celebrated.

When planning the 50th celebration, the mayor took inspiration from one of the city’s most time honored traditions — its Independence Day celebration — to begin the planning and preparation for what would be Garden Ridge’s biggest celebration in history.

Festivities kicked off on July 4 with its parade at Paul Davis Park followed by a holiday celebration, which promised to be bigger and better than ever for the 50 year-old city’s birthday.

The celebration featured signature 4th of July food favorites, a water slide, a costume contest and train rides with festivities moving to Garden Ridge Municipal Complex in the evening for the big birthday blow out.

The 70s-themed bash included a performance of 70s rock classics from the band Mothership, a laser light show, plenty of food and an array of anniversary merchandise that has a 70s flair that fits the event’s aesthetic.

After all the partying commenced, the city shut down operations on Tuesday to observe the anniversary.

As Garden Ridge continues to celebrate 50 years, the city is recalling its past as it looks toward the future by burying a time capsule filled with letters from its residents and city history on Friday, July 8, at 11 am, and will be opened by the city’s residents in 25 years.

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