Fall Fest offers 4 big shows, lots of entertainment

Tickets on sale Monday for Randy Rogers Band, John Conlee concerts; Mark Shultz tickets sales begin Monday, Aug. 6

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

July 29, 2007 - This year’s Fall Festival, which spans Sept. 8-15, won’t be your ordinary autumnal event.

Oh, it’ll still have the old standards, such as the first Saturday parade, carnival Wednesday-Saturday, golf and 42 tourneys, World Champion Hopkins County Stew Contest and Friday kids day. It’ll also still include the Starnite concert, Gospel Songfest and Cover Girl Contest.

A few surprises are also in store for fair-goers as well. Top among them are when certain Fall Fest events are scheduled this year, as well as the number of concerts offered.

The Fall Fest begins as usual Saturday morning, Sept. 8, with the traditional parade from Buford City Park. After that, however, the schedule departs from the norm. The afternoon includes the 42 Tournament, Trades Days and Gospel Songfest. The Starnite performance is slated the first Saturday to help kick Fall Fest off with a bang.

Fall Fest Board members are excited to have confirmed Texas up-and-comers the Randy Rogers Band as the headliner for Starnite, with local favorites Monty Tipps and Mainstreet Band opening for them.

Most country fans will recognize the single, “Kiss Me in the Dark,” off “Just a Matter of Time” — Randy Rogers fifth album and first with major label Mercury records. Others will recognize “Tonight’s Not the Night”  which fell just shy of the Top 40.

The band consists of lead vocalist and guitar player Rogers, who grew up in Cleburne; Lubbock native Jon Richardson, who’s been playing bass since he was 14; drummer Les Lawless of Abilene; Houston native Geoffrey Hill, who plays guitar; and Brady Black, who hails from Plainview started playing fiddle at age 11, and has played in a family band.

Tickets for Starnight,  which begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, in Hopkins County Regional Civic Center Arena, go on sale at the Civic Center Box Office Monday morning, July 30, at 9 a.m. Call 903-885-8071 or 903-438-9311. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

The Fall Fest then will continue as usual with the 12 Annual Fall Fest Golf Tournament at the Links at Land’s End Monday, Sept. 10. Senior Citizens Day and the Cover Girl  will be held Tuesday, Sept. 11. 

The usual carnival will kick off beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 and Thursday, Sept. 13, and Friday and Saturday afternoon, Sept. 14-15 on the Civic Center grounds.

Also on Wednesday will be a special concert featuring Christian artist Mark Shultz, who wrote “He’s My Son” and “Remember Me.” “He’s My Son” was also a success on mainstream radio as well as Christian. His “Letters from War”  was used in the U.S. Army’s 2004 “Be Safe — Make It Home” campaign. Shultz’ hit “Back in His Arms Again” was named BMI’s Christian Song of the Year in 2003, and “I Am the Way” was American Songwriter magazine’s Christina Song of the Year in 2001. He’s had seven chart-topping hits on the the Christian charts. His “Live ... a Night of Stories and songs” won the 2006 Gospel Music Association Dove Award for long form music video of the year, and was recently number 1 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Christian Adult Contemporary Songwriters list.

Shultz has worked with a variety of popular country artists including Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts and Sara Evans. His new expanded edition CD and DVD for “Broken and Beautiful” releases Sept. 25.

Tickets for the Sept. 12 Mark Shultz concert at the Civic Center go on sale Monday, Aug. 6, at the Civic Center Box Office. Tom and Suzy Rost are responsible for the artist being in town. If, after expenses are paid, there are any funds left over from concert sales, a donation will be made to Chrysalis House. Tickets are $20 for reserved seating and $15 for general admission section in the Civic Center Auditorium. A discount of $12 a ticket will be given for groups ordering 20 or more tickets.

Fall Fest Thursday, Sept. 13, will include exhibitors and food booths on the grounds, registration for the Household Arts contest, more Cover Girl events featuring at least 10 girls competing for the Cover Girl title on the pageant’s 25th anniversary. Thursday will conclude with a concert featuring country legend John Conlee, with opening act Jerry Audley as his opening act.

Conlee has has had over 29 single releases, including 26 which made the top 20 charts and eight that went on to reach number one on national country charts. He has been recording music's since 1978, has participated in nine Farm Aid Concerts since 1985, and at his concerts accepts donations for Feed the Children fund.

Some of the Kentucky farm native’s hit songs have included “Rose Colored Glasses,” “Back Side of Thirty,” “Lady Lay Down,” “Before My Time,” “Friday Night Blues,” “Miss Emily’s Picture,” “Busted,” “I Don’t Remember Loving You,” “Common Man,” “I’m Only In It For the Love,” “In My Eyes,” “As Long As I’m Rocking With You,” “Years After You Left,” “Domestic Life,” “Mama’s Rocking Chair” and “Fellow Travelers.” Conlee’s “Hit the Ground Runnin’” was such a hit it was used in television Ford truck promotions.

Tickets for the Thursday, Sept. 13, John Conlee concert also go on sale Monday, July 30, at the Civic Center Box Office for $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Reserve seating available in advance available. 

Friday is Kids Days with at pet show, youth fishing contest, children’s petting barnyard, with new clown acts Lanky the Clown and Sheriff Shorty strolling the grounds. Also will be the arts and crafts show, household arts contest, Quilt Show. The free street dance featuring Mark Cooke and Cooke County Line on Coca Cola Soundstage will be offered Friday night, Sept. 14.

Mark Cooke and Cooke County Line have been performing in the southern and southwestern states for the last nine years, including opening for Chris Cagle, Tracy Lawrence, David Allen Coe, Joe Stamply, George Jones. and T Graham Brown. They’ve also performed at Texas Cattle Baron’s Ball, the Jerry Lewis Telathon, TXU. Budweiser and even for the president. In 2002, East Texas native Mark Cooke was elected vice president of the Northeast Texas Songwriter’s Association; he has also written jiggles for several major Texas advertising companies.

The band’s CD includes “Build You a New Love,” “She Was an Original,” “Can’t Keep My Baby Waiting,” “Lovin’ You,” “Wrapped in the Arms of Love,” “She Left Her Memories,” “I’ll Be There,” “I’m For You,” “Somebody Save Me” and “Good Old Fashioned Family.”

The Fall Fest will conclude Saturday, Sept. 15, with the World Champion Hopkins County Stew Cook-off immediately followed by the announcement of the Cover Girl Awards. The final Saturday of Fall Fest also include clowns, household arts contest, Quilt Show, tractor pull, exhibits and food booths, children’s petting barnyard, gun raffle, duck race and Quilt Show Awards.

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