Pioneer Days Ahead
Don’t be surprised if you feel your in a different century when you
visit Jefferson, Texas this weekend, because its “back to the earliest days” as the community showcases what is hoped to be the 1st Annual Pioneer Days Festival, Sept. 4, 5 and 6.
Begun as a project when the Opera House Theatre Players, a local
community theatre, decided to bring in the world renown musical
group, The Sons of the Pioneers, for a concert on the Monday of
Labor Day weekend, the excitement and anticipation of such big name entertainment gave birth to the idea that the entire community could and should benefit from the extra visitors it would likely bring in. Thats when the theatre board members put their ideas together and came up with an entire weekend of activities geared to not only attract attention for the concert but create a festival that would hold people in town for the last long weekend of the summer.
After organizing a working committee made up of board members and community volunteers, the committee set about soliciting
donations and service donations to the non-profit group that
would fund an event of three days. Theatre board president
Marcia Thomas said that “they have been greatly pleased and
gratified to see so many businesses and individuals were
really interested in supporting Jefferson tourism with this
idea. We’ve been able to make it all free except the concert!
The perfect event for all the family. We have been blessed!”
The festivities will begin on Saturday, Sept. 4, with a Parade
at 10 am that will be comprised of horseback riders, wagons
and walkers in period costume. One local resident, Howard
Blatch, will wear an exact replica uniform worn on the Lewis
and Clark Expedition that started in 1803 to explore the
New Louisiana Purchase or The New Frontier. Another par-
ticipant will be the Bayou Trailblazers Trail Riding Group
who will be in period costume as they ride. A covered
wagon with costumed passengers is also expected to be
part of the parade. A trophy and prize will be awarded to
the most authentic costume.
Following the parade at 11:30 the re-enactment of an
historical shooting incident that occurred in the wagon
yard of downtown Jefferson in 1906 will be performed
in the spot where it actually happened. Board member
Jim Blackburn will portray Sheriff Will S. Terry and
theatre member/actor Mark McKay will play the Deputy
who “went bad”, Charlie Proctor. A narrator will read
briefly read the background of the shooting to the
audience and several theatre members will appear as
some of the citizens who witnessed the event, The
idea to do the re-enactment came from Thomas who
had been told of the incident by her grandfather and
his twin brother many decades back. The two were
witnesses of shooting as young teenagers.
At Noon to 12:30 pm, singer Ann Leslie of Marshall
will entertain with country songs at the Otstott Gazebo.
Ms. Leslie writes her own music and accompanies
herself with recorded background music geared for
At 6 pm, the crowds will be steered toward the east
end block of Austin Street where a Street Dance
will play until 8 pm with music by the award-winning
group Sheila and the Caddo Kats. There will be some
seating available and beverages will be available from
On Sunday, Sept. 5, a Cook-Out with Barbeque and
Beans will be served beginning noon at the grassy
riverfront area near the stagecoach and horse dis-
play courtesy of the Collins Institute. Entertainment
will begin about noon and continue until 4 pm. Sche-
duled to perform are cowboy singer John Nance,
Ann Leslie and Riley Cox (pending availability). The
Players are also squeezing in a brief audition period
beginning at 4:30 at the Visitor Bldg lobby front to
cast two upcoming productions.
Monday Sept. 6 is the date for the much-anticipated
concert by the fabulous and famous Sons of the Pioneers
who will present a show of just under 2 hrs followed by
an autograph and photo session with the audience. The
groups latest CDs will also be available for purchase.
VIP tickets are sold out but some general seating tickets
at $25/person are still available online at
The Willow Tree 903-601-4515. If there are any left, tickets
may be sold at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
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