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Lewisville Western Days offers taste of Old West

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Old Town Lewisville will be filled with staged gunfights, stick horse rodeo riders, world champion competitive eaters, gourmet chefs, Old West art, and the best of Texas country music during the 2014 Western Days festival this Friday and Saturday.

The festival is free with a ticket. Visitors to the festival website, LewisvilleWesternDays.com, can print as many tickets as they need and present those tickets at the festival gates for free admission. Those entering the festival without a ticket (in paper form or presented on the screen of a phone or other electronic device) must pay $20 at the gate. Free tickets also are available through entertainment sponsor 99.5 The Wolf, and at most Lewisville municipal facilities.

Festival schedule is 7-11:30 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday. Planned activities at the event, designed to showcase Lewisville’s rich history and tradition, include two live stages, the
return of the Cattle Drive Parade through Old Town, gunfight re-enactments, Native American dancers, gourmet cooking demonstrations, car show, the 10th annual World Tamale Eating Championship presented by Market Street, children’s fishing area, a Stickhorse Rodeo for kids, and a special exhibit of rarely seen photos of Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker in the art gallery
at Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, 100 N. Charles Street.

There also will be more than 100 festival vendors offering a variety of wares, from hand-crafted treasures to top-quality retail products, throughout the two-day event.

Parking/Transportation

Complimentary shuttles will be provided by DCTA every 10-20 minutes from Old Town Station, 617 E. Main Street, from 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Complimentary shuttles also will run from Vista Ridge Village Shopping Center, 2325 S. Stemmons Freeway (corner of FM 3040 and MacArthur), from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday.

For the first time, valet parking will be available (space-available basis) for $10 per vehicle. Valet drop-off and pick-up will be at the corner of Elm and Mill streets and will run from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday, and from 2 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Handicapped parking with valid permit or placard will be available at the corner of Herod and Church streets. To access handicap parking, enter from the north end of Herod Street.

Limited public parking also is available at several locations within walking distance of the festival:

– Public parking lot, 127 S. Mill Street (Elm & Mill)
– Public parking lot, on Kealy (behind CCA)
– College Street Elementary, 360 W. College Street
– Purnell Support Center, 136 W. Purnell
– Central Elementary, 400 High School Drive

Music

Texas country music will be well represented at the event, featuring headliners Robert Earl Keen, Kevin Fowler and Thompson Square.

Robert Earl Keen will be the featured act on Friday night, taking the Toyota of Lewisville Main Stage at 10 p.m. Three decades since the release of his debut album — with well over a dozen other records to his name, thousands of shows under his belt and still no end in sight to the road
ahead — Keen remains as committed to and inspired by his muse: “and the party never ends!” From his humble beginnings on the Texas folk scene, he’s blazed a peer-, critic- and fan-lauded trail that’s earned him living-legend and pioneer status in the Americana music world.

Saturday headliners begin with Thompson Square, presented by Bud Light, at 8 p.m. Kevin Fowler, presented by Waste Management, will follow to close out the festival at 10 p.m.

Thompson Square – the husband and wife duo Keifer and Shawna Thompson – has released two albums, producing a combined eight chart singles on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, with two singles reaching number one. They won the 2013 Academy of Country Music Award for Vocal Duo of the Year.

Fowler has earned his reputation as one of the most amped-up concert performers to emerge from the modern-day Texas country movement. He released his seventh studio album, How Country Are Ya, in March. He has charted four singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

The festival will include a myriad of other acts, performing on the Toyota of Lewisville Main Stage and the Direct Energy Stage, including Reckless Kelly, Cory Morrow, The Wind & The Wave, Luke Wade, and The King Bucks. Performing at the MCL Grand on Friday night will be Waddie Mitchell with special guest Pipp Gillette.

Children’s Activities

Lewisville Saddle Club will host the Stick Horse Rodeo for kids ages 1 through second grade, with medals awarded to the top three contenders in each of three age divisions. The rodeos will be held at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, with registration starting half an hour in advance.

Castle Hills Kid Korral playground will offer attractions for kids ages 3-12, including bounce houses, inflatable obstacle courses, mechanical bull and other mechanical rides. The Roller Roper attraction returns this year to offer children the opportunity to try their hand at roping a “steer.” Kids also will be able to ride a kid’s favorite, the Boogie Woogie Choo Choo; test their cowboy skills on a mechanical bull; or take a tamer ride on saddled ponies.

Lewisville Parks and Leisure Services will have Live Fishing Tank for kids, along with other activities.

Children’s area wristbands will be available for $12, which allows unlimited trips through the Kid Korral and all the attractions inside. The wristband will be good both days of the 2014 festival.

Food

Coming to Western Days for the fourth year, Castle Hills Culinary Corner will present a free series of four live cooking demonstrations conducted by North Texas gourmet chefs, organized by the World Master Chefs Society.
Kicking off Saturday’s cooking at 11 a.m. is Chef Morris Salerno. At 1 p.m., chefs Dave Sokol and Michelle Brown will make traditional and chocolate pralines, along with Praline Ice Cream. At 3 p.m., chefs Michael Scott and Andre Bedouret will prepare Steak Diane. Closing out the day at
Culinary Corner will be Chef Pete Nolasco at 5 p.m. with his Texas Chili.

Some of the top competitive eaters on the planet will compete in the 10th annual World Tamale Eating Championship presented by Market Street, starting at 1:15 p.m. on the steps of Lewisville City Hall. Registered contestants include No. 1 ranked and returning back-to-back champion Joey
Chestnut. This 12-minute contest is a favored spectacle for Western Days attendees.

Old Town Preservation Society invites bakers to enter the OTPS Pie Baking Contest to compete for prizes and bragging rights (an Old West tradition). Entries should be dropped off at the City Hall steps prior to 10:30 a.m., when a panel of judges will sample the entries and declare the winners. Fruit and vegetable pies only; no milk- or cream-based recipes.

Lovers of suds and brew should plan some time at the Craft Beer Pavilion on the stage of Old Town Park Plaza. With a wide selection of local and regional Texas beers, there is sure to be something new on tap.

Entertainment

No Western festival would be complete without cowboys and gunfights, and Western Days 2014 has plenty of both. Gunfighter Showdowns will be held in Western Village at 8 p.m. Friday and 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Cowboys will be strolling the festival grounds both days.

Western Days will feature a Native American exhibition of song, dance and customs from Ghost Horse Singers and Dancers. Performances will be at 7:15 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Saturday. The audience will witness first-hand the rich Native American culture prior to European contact. The audience will get an opportunity to ask one-on-one questions to further their knowledge of the culture of this country’s first inhabitants.

Lewisville Morning Rotary Club and Memory Lane will present the Western Days Car Show on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., on Mill Street and Main Street. Dozens of vehicles, from classics to hot rods, will be on display competing for prizes from judges and admiration from spectators.

Art

The Cynthia Ann and Quanah Parker Exhibit, “A Woman OF Two Worlds and a Man IN Two Worlds,” will be featured at the MCL Grand Art Gallery. The free exhibit opens Friday and will run through Nov. 8. The traveling exhibit of rarely seen photos of Quanah and Cynthia Ann Parker, two
important figures in U.S. frontier history, is arranged through The Texas Lakes Trail Region. The exhibit will feature additional items provided by noted collector and archivist Doug Harman.

Also opening during Western Days will be “The Western Way,” an exhibit of Western-themed art by members of Visual Art League of Lewisville. The exhibit will be on display in the North Wing Gallery of the MCL Grand from Friday through Nov. 8.

Lewisville’s Poet Laureate, J. Paul Holcomb, will be joined by former Texas Poets Laureate Alan Birkelbach (2005) and Karla K. Morton (2010), for live readings of their original works in the air-conditioned comfort of the MCL Grand.

A film festival, Old West on the Big Screen, will be held in the MCL Grand Black Box in conjunction with the Quanah & Cynthia Ann Parker Exhibit and will give audiences a feel for how Native Americans have been portrayed in popular cinema. Scheduled screenings include the John Wayne classic “The Searchers” at 8:10 p.m. Friday and 1:17 p.m. and 6:17 p.m. Saturday; and
Dustin Hoffman’s “Little Big Man” at 11:10 a.m., 4:10 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday.

Sponsors

Sponsors for Western Days 2014 include Waste Management, Toyota of Lewisville, 99.5 The Wolf, JPMorgan Chase, Resource One Credit Union, Ben E. Keith/Bud Light, Orthofix, Southern Comfort Mechanical Heating and Air, Direct Energy, Market Street, Vinson Process Controls, Apparel Group, Blue Lynx Media, Prime Controls, Castle Hills, IPeople, Hampton Inn and Suites,
Cobra Brewing, Southwest Display, Gilley’s Dallas, Vista Ridge Village Shopping Center, DCTA, Witherspoon Distillery and Star Local Media.

For the latest information on Western Days 2013, visit LewisvilleWesternDays.com or call
972-219-3401.

James Kunke is the community relations manager for the City of Lewisville.

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