Paris, Ill.—The annual Honeybee Festival in Paris is now only a few weeks away, but members of the Honeybee Committee have been working to achieve the festival’s success for almost a year. The first event, the annual Honeybee Queen Pageant and Junior Queen Pageant, will be followed a week later by the festival itself.
This year’s queen pageant will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 20 at Crestwood School. The reigning Honeybee Queens, Hayley Young and Linda Dean, will be present as this year’s contestants compete for the queen titles. The pageant is directed by Amy Anderson.
The 2008 festival has many aspects, one of which is the free musical entertainment that will be provided all weekend. From 7-9 p.m. on Friday, September 26, live music will be offered by the Battle Creek band on the north side of the square. This central Illinois band plays country music of yesterday and today “till the cows come home.” The south side of the square will be rocking too; from 8 p.m. to midnight festival goers can listen to The Jam Band in the Kiwanis Early Risers’ Beehive tent. The band plays a mix of blues, rock, and classic rock as they have done for 15 years. Finally, from 10-11 p.m. following the Paris High School football game, the fifth quarter dance will be held at the Paris Y.M.C.A.
Saturday’s entertainment includes a full afternoon and evening into late night of live music. Barry McGee will kick off the afternoon at noon on the stage on the north side of the square, and he will perform again on Sunday afternoon. According to Marion Pate, organizer of the Sunday afternoon gospel sing, McGee has 22 years of experience as a musician, comedian, and dramatist. He has also been televised on the lawn of the Capitol in Washington, D.C, and he had a role on the recently aired ABC TV movie Target Earth. McGee’s best known character is Harvey Tater, who is well loved by racing personalities and country fans alike.
Richard Faust, who sings contemporary pop, will follow McGee from 2-3 p.m., and Trouble and Company will play oldies from 3:30- 5 p.m. The popular Casey Rivers, first runner-up on the USA television show Nashville Star in 2006, is scheduled from 5:30-7 p.m. Rivers is a country music artist who has opened shows for Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, the Gatlin Brothers, and Kenny Rogers, among others, and he was an invited guest and duet partner on a Loretta Lynn concert. Rivers has won numerous awards while following the Opry lines. Rivers is sponsored by the Edgar County Bank. Musical entertainment on Saturday will conclude with The Reflections Band from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Beehive tent.
Sunday will feature the traditional gospel sing emceed by B.J. Fessant beginning at 1 p.m. on the south side of the square. According to organizer Marion Pate, this year’s program promises to be exciting. It features eight musicians and will continue throughout the afternoon until 5 p.m.
Part of the program will include a repeat appearance by Barry McGee at 4:05. Pate states, “We are so very excited to be able to present” him to Paris. He was the 2007 comedian of the year for the International Christian Music Association (ICMA). As a volunteer chaplain for racing groups, he has done services for both NASCAR and the NHRA. Pate explains, “He will do a special segment that I feel sure will delight and bless all who attend. It will be filled with music and laughter, comedy, and songs of praise. We hope all will join us for a wonderful afternoon.”
Local talent will make up much of the gospel program. Naomi Gates will sing at 1 p.m., Paul Lynch at 1:15, and Carmen Minge at 1:40. Gates is from the Community Bible Church.
Although she sang with a group for a while, she has had a solo ministry for 20 years. Lynch has
sung and ministered in churches throughout the Midwest. He is currently part of the ministry team at Grace Temple in Terre Haute, Ind. as Praise and Worship Minister. Lynch writes most of the music that he sings. Minge is active in music at the First Assembly of God Church. She especially enjoys gospel harmony.
The Paris group Focused on Tomorrow will also perform. These six musicians from the First Christian Church of Paris are a praise band playing all styles of music from praise, pop, rock, country, and reggae to the classics. Tanner Laughlin, a Paris resident and student at Indiana State University, is one of the newest singers in the area. He will travel to Nashville with well-known local singer Amanda Fessant to be introduced to the ICM and Country Christian Music Associations (CCMA), where he has been registered to do a showcase and to participate in the talent competition.
Another performer, Marty Biggs, was the CCMA’s New Artist of the Year. The pastor of the First Christian Church of Newman, he will sing at 2:55. Biggs is well known in the area.
Amanda Fessant’s performance is scheduled for 3:15. She was nominated last year for New Artist of the Year and is again nominated in the top five for the ICMA’s New Artist of the Year for 2008. Fessant won the Female Horizon Artist of the Year for the Fan Appreciation Awards in Christian County in June. She has also won awards for songwriting over the years. In the past year, she has had four songs in the top twenty on the Christian Country Charts.
McGee will close the gospel sing.
Musical entertainment is sure to please many people, but it is only part of the many activities planned for the festival. Look for future articles that will highlight additional opportunities to enjoy the festival.
Cutline: Casey Rivers, finalist on the 2006 USA TV network’s popular show Nashville Star, is one of the featured performers at the Honeybee Festival. Rivers will perform Saturday evening.