Town & Country Festival preview 6.25

Written by David Green.

A few new events mixed in with a lot of favorites from the past should keep the crowd entertained at this weekend’s Town and Country Festival.


Events kick off Friday evening at Wakefield Park.

A new carnival was signed up this year, said Sue Snyder, head of the festival committee, and she expects to see a different array of attractions. Rides began arriving at the scene Monday afternoon.

The rodeo returns for a second year after a popular first appearance last summer. The rodeo company has changed, also, Snyder said, and new events are scheduled.

Two other returning events are on the docket Friday: arm wrestling competition and the Little Prince and Princess contest.  Arm wrestling competitors can sign up at the stage before the contest starts at 9:30 p.m.


Registration for the horseshoe pitching contest can be made by calling Art Slocum at 458-1588.

New this year is a horse show—a free event that will take place all day Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. There’s no charge for audience members.

The festival parade will form at the school and travel down Main Street to the park, beginning at 11 a.m. The annual chicken barbecue follows at noon at the park concession stand.

Two new events get underway at noon. Bring your back-yard skills to the park to win a prize at corn hole and ladder ball. registration ends at 11 a.m.

The Morenci Idol singing competition is scheduled at 2 p.m. As of Tuesday morning, two entries were registered—Ivy and T.J. Hutchison—another promised (Brittani Wilson) and one other showed interest.

There’s still time to register, said organizer Michelle Bovee, but the deadline is listed as 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Call Bovee at 458-6954 to show off your skills.

Contestants will sing a 90-second piece a cappella and later perform two songs of their choice—one Saturday and one in the finals Sunday at 2 p.m.

Judges Kathy Dwyer, Maureen Smith and Sybil Diccion will study stage presence and confidence, and listen to pitch, tone, rhythm and beat and crowd reaction.

This year’s hot dog eating contest is scheduled at 4 p.m., the time that the battle of the bands gets underway. [See a story on this page about the band competition.]

The Detroit band Redhill pleased the audience last year and they’re back for another rollicking show Saturday night. What’s the band all about? They describe themselves this way:

“If you were to place country, pop and rock music into a blender, the result would be the music of Redhill.”

Audience members learned last year that band provides an energetic, entertaining performance.

The fireworks show is back for a 10 p.m. performance, followed by additional music from the battle of the bands winner.


The carnival continues for a third day Sunday, the day that organizers are calling Family Day.

First on the schedule is the annual church service, organized this year by the Church of the Nazarene.

The Masonic lodge from Fairfield is bringing equipment for a child identification program [see story below] and a bike safety program begins at noon. The county fire safety house will also make a visit to the park.

Cloggers will perform at 12:30 p.m. and the Morenci Kiwanis Money Raffle is set for 1 p.m. The Morenci Idol finals begin at 2 p.m. and young cheerleaders will perform on the stage at 3.

At the back of the park, a BMX race starts at 2 p.m.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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