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Sunday, June 18, 2000
Last modified at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2000
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photo: entertainment

  Ballet folklorico dances can be seen at many events across Lubbock, including Fourth on Broadway and Fiestas Del Llano.
A-J file photo

Culture, entertainment changes Lubbock's image


Some words that come to mind when one mentions Lubbock might be cowboys, dust and wind. However, Lubbock is gradually becoming a mecca of entertainment and cultural interest that is quietly but surely changing this West Texas stereotype.

Lubbock is beginning to be mentioned in sentences with words such as music, entertainment, wine and culture.

Among the many entertainment venues in Lubbock, one of the places frequented by West Texas residents is the Cactus Theater, located at 1812 Buddy Holly Ave. Originally constructed in 1938 as a ''second-run'' motion picture theater, the new Cactus opened in 1993 under direction of Lubbock businessman and musician Don Caldwell. The Cactus received an entire makeover to bring alive a performance theater as well as a movie theater.

Texas Tech's Maedgen Theatre, formerly the University Theatre, has enlightened, educated and entertained Lubbock for more than 70 years. Located on 18th Street between Boston and Flint avenues on the Tech campus, the theater boasts a wealth of theatrical productions, ranging from well-known classics to new, creative works.

When the Fourth of July and Christmas come around, Lubbock lights up. Broadway Festivals Inc. is a full-time organization that provides Lubbock with Fourth on Broadway during Independence Day, the Fourth Corps Youth Program held two weeks prior to the Fourth and Lights on Broadway during Christmas. Lubbock's historic interests shine through during these celebrations as thousands of volunteers and citizens flank Broadway to listen to live music and enjoy a free outdoor event.

Lubbock is filled with a rich history, dating almost 12,000 years ago. The Lubbock Lake Landmark, located at 2501 Landmark Drive in the city's northeast section, is an archaeological preserve that contains an unbroken record of human activity in this area. In recent years, revegetation projects at the landmark have restored the grounds to a more natural setting. Highlighted in the park are native plants and wildlife of the Llano Estacado.

Tech's International Cultural Center is located at 1601 Indiana Ave. It serves Lubbock and Tech as a forum to view lectures, displays, presentations and other activities. The building houses area studies programs, a multimedia library and a Hall of Nations.

The National Ranching Heritage Center, at 3121 Fourth St., is a unique, outdoor museum established to preserve the history of ranching, pioneer life and the development of the livestock industry in North America. Among the 35 authentic and reproduced structures are a 1700s Spanish fortress-blockhouse and a two-story Queen Anne-style home of a wealthy rancher.

The Municipal Garden and Arts Center, a cultural landmark on the South Plains since 1959, offers a rich variety of arts programs for youths, adults, seniors and families, including monthly art exhibitions, affordable art educations classes and garden shows and competitions.

The Cap*Rock Winery, located 1/2 mile east of U.S. 87 on Woodrow Road, just south of Lubbock, offers a variety of wines made here in Lubbock. The 199-acre estate vineyard is a few miles from the winery, and the West Texas semi-arid climate seems to be ideal for the grapes. Cap*Rock wines have won awards including ''Best Buy'' and ''Best Value.''

The Llano Estacado Winery, founded in 1976, is the largest premium winery in Texas. Llano wines have won many awards, including some at the San Francisco Fair Wine Competition. Llano wines have been served all over the world and to prominent world leaders. With an annual production of 70,000 to 100,000 cases, the winery is open to the public for complimentary tours and tastings.

The Godbold Cultural Center, a 51,000-foot structure located across 19th Street from Tech, opened in 1994 and is the brainchild of Carlton Godbold. The center serves as an art gallery, restaurant, theater and music venue, hosting classical, folk, jazz and experimental performances.

Rock 'n' roll music legend Buddy Holly is kept alive at the Buddy Holly Center, located at 1801 Ave. G. A permanent exhibition of Holly memorabilia, including his signature black glasses and his handwritten song book, are part of the display. Open since Sept. 3, the center is one of the only fine arts galleries that offers a rotating exhibit with approximately 10-15 exhibits per year.

The wind in Lubbock is lassoed under control by the Wind Power Center, located on 28 acres between 19th Street and Broadway at Canyon Lakes Drive. A dozen windmills are on display outside and another 45 are housed in a building near the Broadway entrance. The Wind Power Center has the largest collection of windmills in the world, according to executive director Coy Harris.

If Lubbock's never-forgiving wind or constantly changing weather is enough to make someone go crazy, then perhaps the city's friendly personality will keep one's sanity.

Mayor pro-tem Max Ince mentions that Lubbock is a ''candle under the bush'' and seems to have a lot more to offer than appears. ''No one really knows until you come here. You would be amazed at the number of people who choose to stay in Lubbock once they move here.''

Ince notes the success of the new hot ticket in Lubbock, the Lubbock Cotton Kings hockey team. ''Lubbock has more to offer than a majority of cities its size. The only thing missing is a professional basketball and baseball team.''

Outdoor space seems to be what Lubbock has plenty of. Just five miles east of Loop 289 and 50th Street is Buffalo Springs Lake, where skiers and boaters spend endless hours in the sun. Admission into the 225 acres of the spring-fed lake is $2 for adults and $1 for children 11 and younger.

Lubbock has 68 parks and 19 playa lakes. This calculates to 15,000 acres of parks with the largest park being Mackenzie, which has 240 acres.

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