In The News

New KE Bushman's Winery & Celebration Center Opens Saturday

Tyler Morning Telegraph

Pierre de Wet said he wouldn't have the freedom to open the new KE Bushman's Winery & Celebration Center in Bullard if it weren't for the men and women who served and are serving in the United States military.

By STEWART SMITH
Pierre de Wet said he wouldn't have the freedom to open the new KE Bushman's Winery & Celebration Center in Bullard if it weren't for the men and women who served and are serving in the United States military.

That's why the founder of Kiepersol Estates is making a special effort to honor veterans of the military, and veterans of World War II specifically, at a ceremony celebrating the opening of the new venue Saturday morning.

"We have forgotten in this country what it took to get the freedom that we are so wastefully spending every day. We have forgotten how blessed we are that we can irrigate our lawns with drinking-quality water," de Wet said. "Is that wasteful, or are we over-blessed? All we want to do with this event is to get people to think, 'where do all these blessings come from? Was it my rich daddy who got me these blessings? Or was it some poor farmer who left the farm, left mom and dad and went to fight for our freedom and our blessings we have today?'"

The ceremony will include a flag-raising by members of the military, the singing of the national anthem, a flyover by two T-6 Texan Flyers airplanes and a speech by U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler. In addition, de Wet will speak and unveil the Bushman's Bronze, a work of art outside the venue intended to honor members of the military.

"This is a tribute to the men and women who came before me and came before Pierre who allowed us to have the freedom to build this place," said Bob Burnett, CEO of Kiepersol Estates and himself a retired member of the United States Air Force. "So their battles, their wars, the sacrifices they have made for us has allowed this country still to be free, has allowed us to do the things that we want to do ... we feel the World War II veterans, the Greatest Generation, are those people who we especially want to honor this Saturday."

All members of the military and the public are invited to come and participate, Burnett said, but special emphasis will be placed on World War II veterans.

The facility itself is 20,000 square feet and includes a 1,300 capacity auditorium with a full, symphony-sized stage, a catering kitchen for the partnership with Traditions Restaurant and a winery with more than 130 wines of multiple varieties.

In addition, the facility includes a green room and dressing rooms for performers, a recording studio and sound booths for musicians.

The venue will not be limited to specific types of events, de Wet said. It has the capability of hosting weddings, banquets, concerts or public speakers.

"Anything, as long as it meets my moral standards," de Wet said.

The building itself, de Wet said, is 100 percent green. Everything aside from the electronics equipment is either recycled or reused material. "This is just an expansion of sharing our blessings," de Wet said. Saturday's ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be provided by Traditions. KE Bushman's is located at 1565 Farm-to-Market 2493 just off Highway 69 in Bullard. For more information
call (903) 894-9330.