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Story Archives: Blue skies on tap for festival
|Blue skies on tap for festival|
THOUSANDS EXPECTED TO VISIT HISTORIC DOWNTOWN AREA
All the streets have been marked, the portajons and dumpsters ordered, the musicians have been lined up, and the "Who Dat Nation" has been put on alert for Saturday's big event in historic downtown Winnsboro.
"We've even put in an order for a warm, sunny day," said Franklin Parish Catfish Festival Director Paul Price Jr. "If we get that kind of weather, there will be a lot of folks headed to Winnsboro this Saturday."
Corporate sponsors for the festival, known as the largest one day festival in Louisiana and certainly one of the biggest events of any kind in northeast Louisiana, include Franklin Parish Tourism, Delta Glass and Trim, Verizon and the Louisiana Department of Tourism.
Price said this week will be devoted to getting the stages and tents in place, putting fences up and taking care of the many last-minute details facing festival officials and city workers.
And, Price said, getting the word out to a four-state region is a top priority.
"We'll have television commercials running in the Monroe, Shreveport, Alexandria, Baton Rouge and Jackson markets all this week, as well as on radio stations across north Louisiana," Price said. "Our Web site— www.franklinparishcatfishfestival.com—and our Facebook fan page will be working for us as well, so we're doing all we can to get the word out to those who may want to come to Winnsboro this Saturday."
The buzz created by the appearance of two members of the world champion New Orleans Saints has ramped up the excitement level for this year's festival.
"People are really excited that they're coming to Winnsboro," Price said.
Hartley kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime against Minnesota after a Porter interception possibly saved the game for the Saints. In the Super Bowl, Porter picked off a Peyton Manning pass and returned it for a touchdown to clinch the victory and send much of the Gulf South into a frenzy.
The two star players will make an appearance on the Council on Aging Stage around the noon hour, followed by an appearance on the Old Glory Stage at approximately 1 p.m. In addition to the appearance by the two Saints stars, two music stages will be full throughout the day with music to please most anyone's taste.
The Christian Contemporary group 33 Miles will make an encore appearance at this year's festival, and will perform on the Old Glory Stage at 3 p.m. The group is currently headlining their "One Life Tour" with two other acts also appearing in Winnsboro Saturday – Pocket Full of Rocks and Kimber Rising.
Gilbert native Jason Barton is the lead singer for 33Miles.
Also on tap for a return engagement this year are the Bluz Boys, billed as the South's Premier Show Band. The group will be performing on the Council Stage, along with a festival newcomer, Janice Bell. Bell and her band are from the Jackson area and are known throughout the region as a premier R&B act.
One other artist returning to this year's festival is Brian Reith, a Christian rap artist, whose song "Go On" has been nominated for a Dove Award in the Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year Category. His album "Now Is Not Forever" has also been nominated for a Dove as Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year.
Other musical groups include Mason Granade and Blues artist YZ Ealey, along with several local groups.
Another special event scheduled is a Boy Scout troop display commemorating the 100th anniversary of Scouting. Activities will include exhibits such as pioneering projects like rope bridges, a catapult, towers, cooking demonstrations, campsite, outdoor skills, knots and rope, Indian lore, and the Order of the Arrow dance team.
The display will take place on the Gill First National Funeral Home parking lot.
Also on the festival schedule is a return appearance by the "Friends of Skidboot", which will be located in the grass due east of the children's area. These crowd-pleasing blue heeler show dog entertainers will be joined by Cheyenne, the lie detector horse, along with and their well-known trainer David Hartwig for a day full of tricks that will delight and amaze all who watch.
Other festival events include an antique car show, an interactive video game experience in the Princess Room, a flower show in the Princess Theatre lobby, and a children's area located on the grassy area adjacent to the Council on Aging stage.
Proceeds from the festival are used each year for many worthwhile community events and projects, as well as for scholarships awarded at the annual Franklin Parish Academic Achievement Banquet. In addition, the festival helps underwrite the cost of the annual fireworks display at the conclusion of the Christmas parade in December.