Parish fair returns Wednesday
Published 11:17 am Friday, October 14, 2022
The Washington Parish Fair will return, starting Wednesday in Franklinton.
The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with the fair parade. The official opening ceremony will be held at noon.
This year’s fair will include a variety of live entertainment, including country superstars Brantley Gilbert and Jon Langston, and Poplarville, Miss., natives Chapel Hart, on the main stage. In addition, more musical performances will be held throughout the fair at the “Down by the Branch” stage near the Mile Branch Settlement.
The fair will be held every day from Wednesday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 23. The fair’s official website is www.thefreefair.com. In addition, inside today’s edition of The Daily News is a special 64-page magazine full of lots of information about the fair and its related activities.
Information about Down By The Branch performances was not available by the magazine’s press time, but is published below:
The Baker Family — Wednesday at 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and Thursday at 1:15 p.m., 6 p.m.
The Baker Family returns to Down by the Branch for another year to wow audiences with their soulful mix of bluegrass, gospel and classic country. This bluegrass band from Birch Tree, Mo., has performed throughout the United States from Maine to California. Named 2016 International Country Gospel Music Association Bluegrass Band of the Year, the group also won first place in the Silver Dollar City Youth In Bluegrass Championship.
Twenty-three-year-old Trustan Baker has won numerous fiddle championships. Some of the most recent includes the 2022 Grand Master Fiddle Champion at the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Nashville, 2022 Missouri State Fiddle Champion, 2022 Gone to Texas Fiddle Champion, and the 2021 Oklahoma State Banjo Champion. Twenty-year-old Carina Baker captured the 2016 Oklahoma State Jr. Fiddle Championship while 18-year-old Elijah Baker is the three-time BMAI Bass Player of the Year. The mother of the group, Carrie, sings lead and harmony while playing the guitar.
Breaking Grass — Thursday at 4:30 p.m., Friday at noon
There is a fresh, new sound resonating from the northeast corner of the Magnolia State. With influences ranging from rock, country, gospel and soul, Breaking Grass is a solid combination of all the sounds you have grown to love and more. Known for their high energy performances and original material, this band delivers heartfelt music with haunting harmonies to match. Their new album “Cold” debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Charts and is being played by DJs from all corners of the globe. If you have never been a fan of bluegrass music, it might be because you haven’t heard it quite like this.
Stormy, the Band — Friday at 9 p.m.
Stormy, the Band is billed as the hottest and most versatile band in the South. The popular cover band from Baton Rouge has a song list about as versatile as the group’s abilities. From top 40 to country, rock, soul, funk, R&B and big-band, Stormy offers something for the entire crowd. The eight-piece band includes a female vocalist, a solid rhythm section and great horns. Every band member sings so you will not get tired of the same voice during the performance. Stormy, The Band has performed in Texas, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and all over Louisiana while pleasing all ages. The band has backed The Platters, Percy Sledge, Luther Kent and many others.
Back to the 60’s and 70’s with the Partly Cloudy Band and Tanya Huang — Friday at 4:30 p.m.
The Partly Cloudy Band is simply Stormy, the Band — minus the horn section. Add classically trained violinist Tanya Huang to this group and the combination is one audiences would have a hard time finding anywhere other than the Down by the Branch stage. Performing some of the most popular hits of the 60s and 70s, the show is sure to be as popular as the songs they are playing. This is the first time this combination has performed together and will be a show to remember!
Keys vs. Strings — Friday at 1:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Keys vs. Strings is an action packed musician duo that has created a following with spur of the moment song request from audiences. From Brookhaven, Miss., the pair has played all over the United States. They cover absolutely every genre of music mixed with crowd participation and song requests. Keyboard specialist Marvin Curtis, also a vocalist, captivates an audience with every style of play on the piano. His showmanship and crowd interaction is off the charts. Topher Brown has traveled the United States with nationally known bands. Very talented with the lead vocals and guitar, he has been labeled “a walking song book!” Playing with a full band set up, you don’t want to miss this dynamic combo!
Last Chance Bluegrass Band — Thursday at noon
The first performance of the day on Thursday is The Last Chance Bluegrass Band. Performing traditional bluegrass along with gospel, the group treats audiences to traditional hard-driving bluegrass, bluegrass ballads, and down-home Gospel music right out of the hills and the Readback Hymnals.
From Bedico, Eddy Arnold plays banjo, guitar and is the lead vocalist. Mike Harris plays fiddle, Travis Hoyt plays the mandolin, Mel Vining plays the scrubboard and provides harmony, Bob Donald plays the upright bass and Keith Kennedy plays guitar.
Ransakk — Thursday at 3 p.m.
Making their first appearance at Down by the Branch, Ransakk is an eight-piece band that’s been entertaining people for over 40 years. Ransakk is comprised of two guitar players, a bassist, drummer and a horn section. Six of the members sing, so audiences don’t hear the same voice for the entire performance. Members ages range from 19 to 73 with an unmatched level of experience. The band has a strong following with a very diverse song list. They have played many fairs and festivals as well as casinos, clubs and weddings – just to name a few venues. Ransakk was recently awarded the Reader’s Choice for Best Local Band by the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. The South’s premier party band plays classic rock songs that you can sing along with. You won’t want to miss this show!
Tanya Huang — Friday at 11 a.m., 6 p.m.
One of the all-stars of the New Orleans street music scene, Tanya’s unique violin-playing has brought joy to many over the years. Originally from Taiwan, Tanya began playing violin at the age of 6, shortly after moving to America. Classically trained, she grew up competing and has performed with various symphonies. She has a Master’s degree in Violin Performance from Tulane University and her performances have appeared in television and film. Still going strong, she has been playing in the streets of New Orleans for over 20 years. Huang will also perform with the Partly Cloudy Band at 5 p.m. Friday in a unique show of hit songs from the 60s and 70s.
Los Super with Oscar Castro — Saturday at noon, 7 p.m.
Making a return to Down by the Branch is Los Super. The bilingual group from South Mississippi puts a Spanish twist on some of America’s most favorite songs. Led by lead singer and guitarist Oscar Castro and guitarist/singer Mario Arzate, the group entertains with their energy and excitement that makes the audience want to join along.
Castro performed with well-known local star Elliott Small, better known as “Grandpa”, to those who visited Down by the Branch in past years. The duo performed in New Orleans as well as Down by the Branch and sang popular tunes such as “Only You” and “Stormy Monday.”
Big Daddy O — Saturday at 1 p.m.
One of Washington Parish’s most well-known artists, Big Daddy O returns to bring his music to the Down by the Branch stage. At 6-foot-6, Mt. Hermon native Owen Tufts’ large frame supports an even larger voice that pulsates from a powerful shout down to a beautiful whisper. For more than 30 years, Big Daddy O has been playing in roadhouses and bars in the Delta area near the Louisiana-Mississippi border.
The Victory Belles — Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Returning to the Down by the Branch stage are the popular, crowd-pleasing Victory Belles. The Victory Belles take you on a nostalgic journey through World War II-era musical classics. Enjoy a trip down memory lane with their spirited performances of such hits as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, Chattanooga Choo Choo and I’ll Be Seeing You, all sung in rich, three-part harmony. The trio performs at The National World War II Museum as well as other events around the country. The Victory Belles will treat the Down by the Branch audience to a performance of timeless 1940s treasures while keeping America’s magical musical history alive!
Mae Woodard — Saturday at 4 p.m.
Mae Woodard performs on the Down by the Branch stage with her popular Tribute to Patsy Cline. The singer from South Mississippi honors one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century who was one of the first country music artists to cross over into pop music. Although passing away in a 1963 plane crash, Mae keeps the music of Patsy Cline alive today. The Down by the Branch audience can close their eyes and take a trip down memory lane while listening to Mae sing Patsy’s I Fall to Pieces, Crazy, She’s Got You, Walkin’ After Midnight, Sweet Dreams and more. Many locals first heard Mae sing in the Hee Haw musical put on by the Franklinton Community Theater.
Ashton Brooke Gill — Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Making her first appearance on the Down by the Branch stage is Ashton Brooke Gill. Ashton is a 23-year-old singer/songwriter from the small town of Livingston. She has been surrounded by music her entire life and grew up singing in her small country church. Her gospel roots have strongly influenced her life and her music. She favors country, country pop, blues, and gospel/Christian music, but her repertoire is versatile.
In 2018, Ashton auditioned for Season 2 of American Idol and received a golden ticket to Hollywood. Her Hollywood audition aired on national television and she won the hearts of many beloved fans. Since American Idol, Ashton has been actively writing, recording, and performing new music in both local Louisiana venues and in Nashville, Tenn.
Joel Galloway and The Boys — Saturday at 9 p.m.
Joel Galloway and The Boys bring their classic country and light rock and blues to the Down by the Branch stage. In 2016, Joel won a regional music competition held by NASH FM WRKN–New Orleans and advanced to the Top 50 national semifinals in Nashville. His original song “Here’s to the Working Man” helped him advance through the contest and is now part of his regular performances.
Galloway is a full-time singer/songwriter gaining notoriety throughout the Gulf South for his soulful delivery of the country music he was raised on. However, this is a very unique brand of the traditional-style country music he heard growing up. He does it his way, and from the first heart-felt note, you’ll know that what you’re hearing is nothing like what anyone else is doing.
The Allens — Friday at 3 p.m.
The Allens have been thrilling audiences worldwide with their unique blend of family harmony and energizing creativity for more than two decades.
In 1996, Todd and Michelle Allen began the journey to follow a call to full-time evangelistic ministry with their four young children traveling all across North America in motor-homes and buses. With the addition of more voices came the innovative, modern sound that has captivated thousands. After 25 years of ministry, The Allens continue to be one of the signature faces of the new gospel music movement making an impact for Christ around the world.