Pioneer Days Ahead

 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

all ages.

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

nearby businesses.

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 or 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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