Meridian, Miss. The 61st annual Jimmie Rodgers Festival is officially underway now after kicking off with a gospel theme on Thursday evening.
The tunes of Alan Sibley helped kick off the festival in Meridian's Singing Brakeman Park. The Thursday evening breeze forced many in attendance to bundle up, but that did not get in the way of a fun time.
"The Jimmie Rodgers Festival is something that my parents have grown up around and have tried to bring me up around," 2014 Jimmie Rodgers Teen Queen Liz Sprabery says. "And it's just a lot of fun and a great thing to come enjoy with your family."
The gospel night featuring both Sibley and The Dove Brothers is only the beginning of a weekend full of activities. Friday night will feature Trademark performing at 7:00 and The Molly Ringwalds at 8:30. That's all ahead of the grand finale to the festival, which kicks off at noon on Saturday and runs all day.
"A lot of groups have one hit wonders, but Sawyer Brown is one of those groups that's been out there and tested the time," organizer Richard Ferguson says. "And it's just, they are phenomenal. They've got a lot of hits. And it's going to be a great concert Saturday night."
At the end of the day, the Jimmie Rodgers Festival is more than just a festival. It's about honoring the Father of Country Music.
"Any time that you're the father of something, it's prestigious," Ferguson feels. "And this being the home of Jimmie Rodgers here in Meridian, Mississippi."
You can visit www.jimmierodgers.com for more information on the festival.