BRENHAM — For the next two Saturdays in July, the historic Texas town of Brenham is hosting the final installments of its “Hot Nights, Cool Tunes” concert series on the downtown courthouse square.

Located about two hours southeast of Killeen-Fort Hood on the way to Houston, Brenham is known as the “Birthplace of Texas” and the site of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836.

It also is home to Blinn College, the oldest county-owned junior college in the state, with satellite campuses in Bryan, Schulenburg, and Sealy.

Up next for the outdoor concert series that began earlier this month is:

July 24 — “Brown Sugar Band,” featuring classic rock and rhythm and blues.

July 31 — “Escape,” a Journey tribute band from Los Angeles that has performed all across the country.

Bring a lawn chair and enjoy some great live music along with food and beverage vendors and a Classic Car Cruise-in by the Stray Katz Car Club. The event begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

If festival food doesn’t quite hit the spot, Brenham has a number of unique eateries worth a visit, including the Funky Art Café downtown. First built in 1916, the original building housed a horse-shoeing, wagon wheel-making and farm equipment repair business. Horse-drawn wagons were repaired as late as the 1950s.

A few of the menu items include such treats as:

The Alamo, Remembered Salad, with shredded roast beef, cheese, red onion slivers, tomatoes, avocado, mixed greens, crushed tortilla chips and poblano dressing. There are a number of sandwiches and wraps, along with chicken and spinach enchilada pie, hog wild grits, Texas twang meatloaf, Southwest quiche, hand-crafted desserts and specialty Italian sodas.

Kay’s Cuisine for the Soul, 603 S. Market St., is described as a cozy and warm place with homemade dishes, including spring rolls, pork dumplings, roast beef panini, pollo sandwich, fried shrimp salad, parmesan chicken bites, pork fried rice, spicy noodle bowl, fish and shrimp, Asian-marinated angus sirloin, seared salmon verde, chicken tomatadas and enchiladas verde.

Meanwhile, back home in Killeen-Fort Hood, BLORA (Belton Lake Outdoor and Recreation Area), at the intersection of North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, offers a number of family activities, including camping sites, picnic pavilions, hiking, sightseeing, bird watching, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, paintball, a 53-foot outdoor climbing wall and an archery range. Admission for military patrons is $3 per car; all others are $10 per vehicle.

The Recreation Equipment Checkout Center, located within the garrison 14 miles southwest of BLORA, is available to authorized Family and MWR patrons, and offers such equipment rentals as kayaks, canoes, wakeboards, skis, knee boards, tubes, camping equipment, pop-ups/travel trailers, accessories and more. Visit hood.armymwr.com for more information.

Fort Hood’s Apache Arts and Crafts Center is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for those interested in do-it-yourself projects, including picture frames, ceramics and ceramics birthday parties for kids. Also offered at the center, 761st Tank Battalion and 62nd Street, Building 2337, is screen-printing, embroidery and a wood shop.

The center has a Resiliency through Art program that offers a quiet area with art materials for soldiers to create “whatever comes to mind.” It is available free of charge to all active-duty soldiers during the week until 5 p.m. Soldiers may take their work with them or leave it at the center to be displayed for others to see. For more information, contact MWR.

In Killeen, the Junior Service League Spray Pad at Long Branch Park is open 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. for beat-the-heat splashing fun.

The pool at Long Branch Park is open as well, with operating hours 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and closed on Monday and Tuesday.

The Family Aquatics Center at Lions Club Park is open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 6:30 p.m.

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