Monday, June 17, 2013

TOP STORY >> City prepares for big party in Dupree Park

Leader staff writer

There will be plenty of entertainment at the inaugural FestiVille at Dupree Park next weekend, just not a big name.

Kevin House, the parks and recreation director, said his department worked more than a month on a contract to bring a big name, but kept having issues with the management company.

“The idea behind a big name was to use it to help promote the festival, but we were running out of time and decided to go with local entertainment,” he explained.

The local headliner for Friday, June 21 will be Luke Williams and his band from Beebe providing a mix of country and southern rock.

Williams, 18, has performed onstage with, opened for, or just plain jammed with the likes of Brad Paisley, Eric Church, Jake Owen and Kenny Chesney.

Williams first picked up a guitar on his eighth birthday and began taking lessons from from longtime friends and family members. By age 10, Luke’s first band performed at the Beebe Fallfest. He headed to Nashville in 2008.

On Saturday, June 22, the festival will feature the finals of the Buffalo Wild Wing Karaoke contest.

And in between will be a number of local bands provided by Dogtown Media. There will also be the rock group Eddie and the Defianz, along with Sharon’s School of Dance and a martial arts demonstration.

“We have two stages and something will be happening on both of them through the entire festival,” said parks department’s Dana Rozenski, who is coordinating most of the events.
Craft and commercial vendors, as well as most of the food outlets, will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Luke Williams concert will start about 8 p.m. Friday and the karaoke contest will start about 7 p.m. Saturday.

The carnival will open Wednesday and run through late Saturday night.

With help from 18 sponsors, the festival will also feature a 5-K run open to everyone and 1-K walk/run open to children. There’ll be a fishing derby at Lake Dupree open to all ages, a coed volleyball tournament, a beauty contest for canines as well as the human version, Mr. and Mrs. FestiVille pageant, open to those from birth to 18.

Registration and drop-in rehearsal for the Mr. and Mrs. FestiVille Pageant in Jacksonville is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 21. The entry fee is $30 and the photogenic fee is $15. The pageant, which will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 22. For more information, call 501-529-3685.

Rozenski added that there would also be a children’s area, plenty of food, arts and crafts and commercial vendors.

All festival events are free except the carnival.

Tickets for the carnival are a dollar each, a family pack of 24 is available for $20, or armbands can be purchased for $15, said Rozenski. For more details or information about the festival, call Rozenski at 501-982-0818 or go to the website,