Click on the supplied links in green for many photos of this day. There are also links to many of the vendors and sponsors, and more will be added soon.
The National Forestry Service has shut down Lake Fannin. The lake that was our former Speaker of the House, Mr. Sam Rayburn’s, legacy! And Fannin County residents and users of the lake are working hard to keep it viable and active. To help this cause along, they presented a fundraising festival Saturday, June 21, that included local and regional live music, vendors galore, a motorcycle stunt man, and cooked-on-the premises great BBQ. Maybe even more.
That “even more” started it all off, actually, with a singing contest. 104.3 FM, The River, KFYN,of Paris, held it’s Country Showdown contest, with Trey Carter hosting five contestants. It was Lauren Taylor, 22, of Cooper who took the win on this, with stout competition from Gene Tobin of Dallas, Allison Trusty of Trenton, Colton Black of Mesquite, and Chelsea Heat of Savoy. Lauren will be advancing to the text level of the largest country music, nationwide contest, which was won last year by McKinney’s Crystal Yates, who was also sponsored by a Paris radio station.
Judges for this contest were multi-platinum and gold award winning singer/songwriter Tony Ramey; KXII meteorologist Wava Denito; and area musician/guitarist extraordinaire Merrol Ray, who’s former band Miles From Nowhere took top honors in the KHYI Shiner Rising Star contest. And, one might add, who has just released his newest CD project, which is being played on 104.3 radio.
Volunteers manned at least two entry locations, with the aforethought to charge an additional fee for coolers, rather than apply for a beer license. They also had the aforethought to check fan-goers’ IDs and to provide Over 21 and Younger Than 21 armbands to help control underage drinking. And there certainly didn’t seem to be any problem with that. This was a completely family-friendly event, with kids allowed to run and play in the dirt in safety. Volunteers also provided the musicians — mostly volunteers themselves, with great hospitality backstage. And all that took sponsorships, which these volunteers also went out and gathered up. Hostess and producer Cristyn Manhart continually read off the names of those various sponsors, but this photographer was busy holding a camera upward to get them written down. One was Bob Utter Ford, with friendly representatives showing several of their latest model vehicles. Also, the organizers held a live auction, with great items offered up to help raise more money to save Lake Fannin, including stays at local bed and breakfast inn and a guitar signed by Texas music artist Chris Knight, who played later on.
Maneuver Motorsports set up for two exciting exhibitions of motorcycle daredevil stunts. Co-owner Daniel Weeks worked solo, wowing the audience with every lift-off, aerobatics, and set-down.
And the music — WOW! This music lover is — and has always — been so impressed with the quality of local musicianship, and this day was not a disappointment! Charlie Manhart and his son, Austin Manhart, opened the day’s music stage with some incredible guitar licks. Colton Gilbreath, from the Bonham area and also an incredible guitar picker, played solo and sang some of his original songs along with a couple of cover tunes. The Chase Sanford Band, also North Texas based, gave a 1.5-hour stellar show, amazing in itself, but also amazing in their energy after sharing a stage the night before with Oklahoma’s Stoney LaRue and then setting up the stage and sound equipment for Save Lake Texoma Fest.
And then, closing the night down, was the always-great Chris Knight, sporting a new full-growth beard and playing his unique, self-penned music. It was amazing to see this nationwide-traveler in such a tiny town as Ivanhoe, and that wasn’t lost on the crowd. They pulled the moshing right up to stage front in appreciation of Chris Knight and his being at the fest.
Look for more fun activities from this dedicated group of volunteers. Click here to connect with their Facebook page.