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|Catfish Festival Saturday|
"If the weather's good, we can expect around 15,000 people in downtown Winnsboro Saturday for the Catfish Festival," director Paul Price Jr. said Tuesday. "And we're expecting good weather and a great festival."
The 22nd Annual Franklin Parish Catfish Festival will feature a packed entertainment line-up, arts and crafts at capacity, tons of fried catfish, kids' activities, antique cars and tractors and more, Price said.
Admission is $3 per person,
"We increased our admission fee this year, which has allowed us to not only insure the financial stability of the festival, but to enhance what we offer to those attending," Price said. He added that the festival annually pours money back into the community.
"We've contributed to many different worthy causes through the years and this year we've increased our scholarship contribution to the annual academic banquet to $2,500," Price said.
The festival's musical lineup includes the "Ragin' Cajun" Doug Kershaw, Christian band 33Miles, and gospel artists Shades of Praise from New Orleans.
"We've gotten calls from around the state and region about Doug Kershaw and 33Miles," Price said. "We're looking for a big crowd for both concerts."
The North Louisiana Fiddling Championship is also planned, dedicated to the memory of local fiddling great Pete McIntyre.
"We're still hoping for more entries in the fiddling contest," Price said. "Anyone interested can sign up at the Old Glory stage right up until the contest begins at 12 noon."
Also slated to appear are the gospel group Mystery Men Quartet, Cajun band Bayou Crossing, LC Smoove and Gene King, along with dancers, cloggers and other local singers.
Stages are set up near Patriot Square and the Council on Aging with a third stage behind the old Post Office featuring the local group Band of Brothers, Amend from Delhi and other guests.
Price said the arts, crafts and commercial booths are "at capacity."
"We're actually about 98 percent full, and that's as full as we care to be - we need a little room, just in case."
The food court is also full, featuring four booths offering fresh, fried catfish plates for $6, along with other food items.
The large children's area will feature climbing walls, bungee swings and a petting zoo and fishing pond.
Antique cars and tractors will be joined this year by the Oscar Mayer "wienermobile."
A 5,000-gallon fish tank will provide casting displays throughout the day.
A flower show will be held in the Princess Room featuring displays from garden club members and local florists and the Winnsboro Wingers will again host a remote control "fly-in" at their field located on Robinson Road.
"As always, the day would not be possible without the cooperation and hard work of our town employees and local and regional law enforcement," Price said. "Our local police and sheriff will be joined by dozens of law enforcement officers from throughout the area through the participation of the North Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police."
The festival provides many local organizations with the opportunity to raise funds for their projects.
"Boy Scouts will be staffing parking lots in key areas to raise money for their programs, Baskin Baptist raises money for mission trips and other projects by running the children's areas, and other churches raise money by preparing and serving catfish and other food throughout the day," Price said.
"It's a great, family-oriented day that puts Franklin Parish in the spotlight in a very positive way," Price said.
"We're looking forward to one of our best festivals ever."
Local corporate sponsors for 2008 include Progressive Bank and Franklin Parish Tourism. The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism are also a featured sponsor of this year's event.