WASKOM — The Waskom Chamber of Commerce gave travelers a welcomed jumpstart to the Memorial Day weekend Friday as they treated them to free hotdogs, refreshing drinks and more at the Texas Travel Information Center rest stop.

“It has been a great day,” said Waskom Mayor Jesse Moore, noting they served about 300 hot dogs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“This is something that the Chamber is doing, welcoming folks to the state of Texas and the city of Waskom, getting the holiday season started or summer started,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people to stop by.”

The “Welcome to Texas” event has been hosted by the Chamber for the last three years to greet travelers as they cross the Louisiana/Texas state line on Interstate Highway 20 into Waskom, also known as the “Gateway to Texas.”

“We’ve been doing this for the last three years; but years back we used to do it on a regular basis,” said Waskom Police Chief Westy Meisenheimer. “It was always just eve of Memorial Day, kicking off on a Friday.”

“We’re set up pursuant to the health department rules,” he added, noting they obtained a food handling permit for the occasion.

“A lot of people we talked to that came the last two years, they kind of plan their stop here,” Meisenheimer shared. “They know we’re here.”

Margaret Remy is one of the travelers who includes the stop in her Memorial Day traveling plans. On Friday, she was thrilled to see the Chamber stationed at the travel center, serving up the annual “Welcome to Texas” spread.

“We go from Meridian, Mississippi to Oklahoma every Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Day, but they do this every Memorial Day,” said Remy, sharing she was hoping and praying that the Chamber would be there on Friday during her stop.

She said she and her family enjoy traveling through Texas.

“We’ve been driving this (route) for 46 years. We left Oklahoma 46 years ago,” Remy shared.

“And you know, Texas is pretty close to God’s country, which is Oklahoma; and the only time we’re rivals is when we’re playing in football,” she chuckled.

Remy said she appreciates the hospitality shown by the Waskom Chamber as well as the travel center, owned by TxDOT.

“They are so wonderful here; and the rest stop itself is so beautiful and so kept up and everything,” she said.

Remy said the annual stop is special to her in many ways. Seeing the Waskom police officers at the “Welcome to Texas” Memorial Day weekend event is particularly special for her, she said, because she reflects on her relative, a police officer, who died in the line of duty in Oklahoma.

The Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies served on Friday also reminded her of a special memory.

“I met the founder before,” said Remy.

Barbara Louis and family were also grateful for the hospitality shown by the Chamber.

“This is great,” said Louis. “We weren’t expecting this.

Louis said she and her family were traveling from Pineville, Louisiana to Dallas.

“We appreciate this,” she said.

Terri Kay, a member of the Chamber, said it’s just always fun to see where everyone is traveling. Many of them were headed to the Dalla- Fort Worth area. Others were traveling to graduations or taking their grandkids to water parks.

“Everybody said we were the friendliest state so far,” Kay beamed.

Meisenheimer said they were thankful for the beautiful forecast for the day.

“Last year it was real hot, but this year we really lucked out with that breeze all day,” he said.