Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Brownsville celebrates the Blues Memorial Day weekend

Elmo Lee Thomas has been the driving force behind one of the Mid-South’s most popular bands, Elmo and the Shades, for over 25 years. He is a Memphis native, a high-energy blues shouter and soul singer and one of the region's top harmonica talents. Elmo and The Shades will take the stage at this year's Exit 56 Blues Fest in Brownsville at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 26.
Brownsville, Tenn., will once again celebrate its blues heritage during the Exit 56 Blues Fest Saturday, May 26, at the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center. Festivities will include an arts and crafts show, art exhibition, cruise-in and live music. The daylong event will run from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.
The Center will open at 9 a.m. with self-guided tours of the museums. "Sonnets to Orpheus," a mixed media art exhibition by Jackson native Lendon Noe will also be on display for attendees to enjoy.
This year's arts and crafts fair will open at 10 a.m., and artisans will showcase their special handcrafted items until 6 p.m. Among the featured items this year are quilts, baby items, jewelry, aprons, paintings, wind chimes and specialty wood items. Delta-themed folk art and specialty clothing will also be available, along with your favorite festival foods, including barbecue and pork rinds.
Blind Red Rooster
Musical entertainment begins with the first performers taking the stage at 1 p.m. Local and regional favorites will perform from the porch of the home of Blues pioneer "Sleepy" John Estes. This year's Haywood's Got Talent winner Hannah Smith will take the stage first, followed by Sleepy's Jug Band All Stars, a group of Brownsville musicians who will pay homage to the old country blues style of music. Union City's Blind Red Rooster will make a return appearance at this year's festival.
Other performers for the evening include a host of accomplished bluesmen such as Brownsville's Jimmy D. Taylor and Jackson's Steve Patterson. Theo D "The Boogieman" and Sean "Bad" Apple from Clarksdale, Miss., will share their special Delta Blues style. Opening for the evening's headliner is Eric Hughes, harmonica player and favorite on the Memphis blues scene. At 8 p.m., some of Memphis' best known and most talented musicians, Elmo and The Shades, will take the stage.
Blueshine Duo
Steve Patterson & Jimmy D. Taylor
Car enthusiasts are invited to cruise-in for the music and compete to take home some unique awards during the Exit 56 Cruise-In from 2-6 p.m. Participants are asked to check in or pre-register online to qualify for awards. Registration is free and includes recognition for "Cool Chrome," "Most Likely to Get a Ticket," "Oldest Ride" and more.
Another special event of the day will be the debut of West Tennessee's newest magazine, Good Ol' Boys. Good Ol' Boys Magazine is a monthly publication for those who enjoy the southern lifestyle of good times, good food, and good friends. The magazine will be given away during the Cruise-In.
Festival admission and concerts are free and everyone is invited to attend and enjoy a day celebrating the Brownsville blues. The West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center is located off of Interstate 40 at Exit 56, behind McDonald’s. For more information, contact the Center at 731-779-9000 or visit www.westtnheritage.com/exit56/.

Friday, May 4, 2012

May 5-13 is Travel & Tourism Week

Stanton Mayor Allan Sterbinsky, Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne and County Mayor Franklin Smith sign the proclamation proclaiming May 5-13, 2012, as Travel and Tourism Week in Haywood County.
It's official! Brownsville, Stanton and Haywood County have officially kicked-off National Travel and Tourism Week with an official  proclamation declaring May 5-13 as Travel and Tourism Week in our county. The ceremony was held at the Delta Heritage Center Friday, May 4. 
Community leaders and friends joined the Mayors to celebrate the significance of tourism in our community.
Tourism in Haywood County is a $12.96 Million industry and we are really excited about recognizing this national event and beginning new efforts to promote our community and the region. We are inviting local residents to become tourist in our own hometown and discover (or rediscover) attractions they may be overlooking while going about their day to day activities.

Also on hand for the Proclamation was the Tennessee Department of Tourism's West Tennessee Regional Representative Marty Marbry (left), pictured here with WT Delta Heritage Center Director Sonia Outlaw-Clark.
Rev. Grover Westover entertained event attendees before the reception and proclamation signing.