Morenci Town and Country Festival starts this week 2012.06.27

Written by David Green.

Entertainment gets underway at 5 p.m. Thursday at Wakefield Park to kick off the 2012 Town and Country Festival.


The Mini-Bulldog Cheerleaders will perform at 5 p.m. and that also marks the opening of the carnival rides and the Eagles beer tent. Carnival rides and the beer tent continue Friday and Saturday.

Another festival-long event is a series of Bingo games at the back shelter house.  Jody Pummell will call the numbers again this year, and parking is available by taking the drive off Salisbury Street by the city garage.

In addition to a variety of musical acts (see related story), the stage will be home to the Festival Royalty Contest at 6 p.m. Thursday. Organizer Jodi Kruse is pleased to have 17 contestants signed up among four divisions—prince, princess, sweetheart and queen. Three candidates will compete for the title of festival queen.

Also at 6 p.m., the Morenci cheerleaders will open their dunk tank. Cheerleaders will appear in the tank on Thursday and Friday, with guests scheduled on Saturday.

What began as a impromptu contest  a couple of years ago is now a festival mainstay: the old guys vs. young guys softball game scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday.


At 7 p.m. Friday, the Morenci Fire Department will present a demonstration of what can happen when drivers are distracted by sending text messages.

A corn hole tournament also gets underway at 7 p.m., along with the festival men’s softball tournament. Sign up for corn hole at the festival information booth. The cost is $30 per team and the winners will receive $200.


The annual car show organizes at 9 a.m. Saturday on city property across from the park. A 5K run and fun walk is also scheduled at 9 a.m., leaving and finishing at the park.

The festival parade leaves the high school at 11 a.m. Bring your bag to collect candy and the free items given away by politicians in this election year parade.

Morenci’s Athletic Booster will begin their chicken barbecue after the parade, serving from the park concession stand.  

Registration for the festival poker run is scheduled to start at noon at the west end of the park. The cost is $10 for a single rider and $15 for a pair.

Guests begin entering the dunk tank at noon with mayor Keith Pennington. Kerry Nieman takes over at 1 p.m., followed by Bronson DiCenso at 2 p.m., Brandon DiCenso at 3 p.m., Matt Bostick at 4 p.m., Joe Farquhar at 6 p.m. and Jim Bauer at 7 p.m.

A pedal tractor pull is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. and a dodgeball tournament begins at 3 p.m. Four teams have said they will participate, but organizer Jodi Kruse will take registrations up until the event begins.

The Lost Nations Rodeo returns to the back of Wakefield Park at 7 p.m. and the annual fireworks display begins around 10:30. As of Monday, the fireworks fund was still short about $900. Donations should be taken to Rural Urban Insurance. 

That leaves a return to the entertainment stage with the final act of the festival, rapper HiZe.



There’s no battle of the bands at this year’s Town and Country Festival, but don’t fret. That doesn’t indicate a lack of live music.

Music organizer Kent Deatrick is convinced this year’s festival provides a great lineup of entertainment that will appeal to a range of listeners.

He was working on a seventh act, but funds and stage time left him with six performances—one on Thursday, two on Friday and three on Saturday.

State Line Jazz Band

The State Line Jazz Band takes the stage at 8 p.m. Thursday to open the festival entertainment schedule. The group performed at the park last September and return with mostly the same line-up of musicians.

Brothers Mark, Terry and Dean Pennington will be joined by Jamie Clark and Mark Gibbs of Morenci, plus Paul Maybe of Brooklyn. In addition, Shaye Pennington will provide vocals on several numbers.

The group plays a variety of songs, mostly instrumental, covering a wide range of well-known artists—all with a jazz flavor.

Border Town Band

Two groups are on the docket for Friday, starting off with Scott Thompson’s Border Town Band at 5 p.m. 

Look for a range of classic rock from the band, along with country, blues and gospel tunes.

Thompson, the vocalist and bass player, is joined by instrumentalist Dusty Lead, keyboardist John Garrow and drummer and trumpet player Josh Steinmetz.

Sour Slam

At 8 p.m. Friday, Fayette’s Sour Slam brings their high-energy show to the stage. The group proved popular at the Fayette Music Fest last year.

Rick Bailey and Randy Sentle started playing together as teenagers, and they got together a couple of years ago to form Sour Slam. They’re joined by Matt Carnicom of Fayette and Dave Perez of Stryker.

The band will perform two hours of classic rock.

Genevieve Rose

Genevieve Randall has often shared the stage with her sister, Madeline, (the Randall Sisters), but she’ll be on the stage alone at 5 p.m. Saturday to present her range of country music tunes.

With and without her sister, she has performed at a variety of locations, and Sunday she will be off to sing at the Lenawee County Heritage Festival.

Mojo Doyle Band

Saturday’s 8 p.m. show marks a homecoming for Stryker resident Rob Rosebrook who serves as guitarist and keyboardist for the Mojo Doyle Band.

Mojo Doyle is a Los Angeles native who now lives in Adrian. Her vocal range allows the band to present a wide variety of tunes, but expect plenty of classic rock and country at the festival performance.

Other band members are Gary St. John of Stryker, Bob Weber of Wauseon, Jason Southwell of Hudson and Bowen Schultz of Defiance. There’s also Tré Doyle, the 10-year-old son of the lead singer who adds fiddle music to the mix. 


Morenci rapper Cody Long, who goes by HiZe, won’t be alone on the stage this year when it’s his turn to perform Saturday after the fireworks show.

He has drummer Trevor Lawson of Bryan joining him along with bass player Eric Waldron of Morenci. He also has a lot of new material to present, including some songs that should appeal to a wider audience.

HiZe is expecting C-Fifth of Kiss FM to host the show, along with members of NBC 24 Game Savvy Late Night.

  • Front.cowboy
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  • 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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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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