Over 125 people showed up for the Anna Area Historical Preservation Society’s First Annual Collin McKinney Texas Independence Day luncheon on March 3. Even though the Saturday event was for raising money to go towards the Anna Train Depot, Gary Hughes of the AAHPS said it was way more than that.

“The First Annual Collin McKinney Texas Independence Day Luncheon was a double barrel success last Saturday,” Hughes said. “In addition to the fundraising, it highlighted the fact that Anna is the home of Collin McKinney and showed a model of the McKinney Statue.”

The event also had a replica of McKinney’s home that will be built at Sherley Park alongside the Depot.

Hughes said he is still trying to wrap his brain around all that happened at the event. “Over 100 people showed up for this event,” Hughes said. “The luncheon raised right at 4,000 dollars for the renovation of the original Anna Railroad Depot from 1882.”

The event started with a welcome speech by President of the AAHPS Betty Ann Morriss. The invocation and benediction was performed by Pastor Scott Harkless of the First Christian Church of Anna.

Scout Troop 293 of Anna did the flag ceremony, and Collin County Judge Keith Self recited the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the United States and Texas flags.

After lunch was served by volunteers, the Joe K. Bryant Texas Stars performed three musical numbers. All the songs were to celebrate the great state of Texas. Anna Mayor Nate Pike also addressed the guests with a special presentation.

Once the luncheon was over, guests had the opportunity to see other landmarks, with a significant amount of them residing in Grayson County.

“Guests were able to go see the site of Collin McKinney’s home, and go over to the Van Alstyne museum to see other McKinney artifacts,” Hughes said. “Many people took advantage of the opportunity, including me. If you haven’t been over there, you need to go check it out.”

Greater Anna Chamber of Commerce Director Kevin Hall said he could not be happier with the amount of support that was shown on Saturday. “I am honored to be a part of the Anna Area Historical Preservation Society and extremely pleased with the turnout at our 1st Annual Collin McKinney celebration,” Hall said. “The excitement in the room was visible, especially as we were sold out at the event.”

“We hosted the celebration at a historical staple in Anna, the First Christian Church,” Hall continued. “As Anna continues to grow and attract new residents it is imperative that we showcase our historic past. These Collin McKinney annual celebrations are one way we can acknowledge where we came from and the power of our unique history.”

Anna resident Tom Plunkett said it was a humbling experience for him. “I was honored to attend the luncheon to celebrate Texas’ birthday,” Plunkett said. “I was so humbled to be around so many generations from Anna.”

Plunkett said there were a few tender moments in the luncheon. “The entire luncheon was outstanding. A special moment came when Judy Harlow and I spoke about Anna expanding,” he said.

Plunkett said it is important to keep the past alive while focusing on the future. “The reality is that Anna and its 64 square miles is growing very fast. I am a firm believer that to have a future, you need to preserve the past, and the historical society is doing an amazing job preserving Anna’s past.”

Anna ISD school board candidate Allison Carver added that the event was a fun learning experience. “I really enjoyed learning more about Anna’s rich history and Collin McKinney,” Carver said. “The speakers were all very well informed and interesting. The food was excellent and the children’s choir made it an even more enjoyable event. I think they did a good job sharing the vision for the new depot. Anna is certainly an exciting place to live.”