This year’s Greene Countrie Towne Festival is well on its way to becoming a reality as Rotarians are busy planning the annual event set for the third week in July.
The headline act on Saturday, July 16 will bring some native sons to the stage who’ve played with country legends through the years — the likes of Greenfield’s own Johnny Paycheck, George Jones, Marty Robbins, Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, Faron Young and Merle Haggard, to name but a few.
Beginning at 8 p.m. on July 16, brothers Gary, Don and Darrell Adams will take the stage. They will be joined by Greenfield’s Steve Marple on drums, Dean Inboden on guitar, Doug Jerningan of Nashville on steel guitar, Eli Bishop of Nashville on the fiddle, and Billy Dingess of Logan, W. Va. on piano.
The ensemble is known as The Adams Brothers and the Greenfield Express, and the show is something that Gary Adams called “the last roundup.”
He said while they have gotten together and performed a couple benefit concerts, “it has been decades since we’ve approached it like this.”
The original band for Paycheck, Adams said, were himself, brother Don, Jernigan, and Marple. Gary said that back in those days they got to back up a lot of artists because so few had their own bands. “In those days everybody knew everybody. It was like a big family,” he said.
He said naming all those artists would likely take him “all afternoon.”
Gary Adams said he played back up for Patsy Cline in her last performance just two days before her death. That was March 1963 in Kansas City, Kan.
“It was just a thrill to get to play with people like that,” he said.
And as to the headliner show at the festival, Gary Adams said they will be playing pure classic country music. He talked some about how country music has changed through the years, and how country music today is nothing like the country music he knows and built a career in.
“As far as I’m concerned,” Gary Adams said of the show planned for the Greene Countrie Towne Festival, “it is the last, best country show in the country. There’s no one else doing that.”
After playing until around 10 p.m. on July 16, Gary Adams said the guys will take a short break and then return to the stage for an hour or so more. The second time special guests will be invited to the stage. Adams said he’s hoping for fiddle hoedowns, and line dancing in the streets.
“The whole purpose is to have a good time,” he said.
One of those special guests could be Mike Judge, creator of “Beavis and Butt-head” and “King of the Hill” and co-creator of Emmy Award-nominated “Silicon Valley.” Adams said Judge wants to come and take part in the show, and he’s trying working out a scheduling conflict for that weekend.
Regardless, if Judge is able to make it, Adams said Judge is sending a film crew to record the concert and take some shots around Greenfield, too.
As previously reported, last year Judge flew Gary and his brothers to California to shoot footage for a 12-episode pilot for HBO. That is set to air sometime in the spring, Adams said.
And as to that classic country show The Adams Brothers and the Greenfield Express and guests are performing on July 16 at the festival, “It really will be the best show ever,” Gary Adams said.
This year, the festival queen competition will once again take place on the evening of Friday, July 15 on the Fourth Street stage following the festival’s opening ceremony. Live entertainment will follow the pageant, with the announcement of the festival royalty around 9:30 p.m.
Also on Friday, festival staple Rockin’ Ron will play deejay music on East Jefferson Street near the post office.
Saturday begins with the Edgewood Manor Baby Contest from 10-11 a.m., followed by outhouse races. Applications for the baby contest can be picked up at Edgewood Manor, 850 Nellie St.
The 7 Mile Bluegrass Band, hailing from Frankfort, is slated to perform from 12-1 p.m. and again from 3-4 p.m.
In between those times is the annual Rotary Auction. Thanks to generous area businesses, organizations and individuals, many interesting items will be on sale at the auction, with all proceeds going into the Greenfield Rotary Club to help maintain the Ralph W. Phillips Recreation and Civic Center and finance other worthwhile projects in the community.
A staple of the auction are the limited edition prints sold each year and created by local artist Tammy Wells. This year’s print will feature the Elliott Hotel in its heyday.
The once derelict, nearly 130-year-old building has been undergoing a cleaning of late and will soon see renovation under the ownership of Doug Karnes. Karnes will be offering tours of the building during the festival.
Greenfield Rotarians not only decided to feature the building in the print, but to have Wells create an 11th print, with the proceeds of its sale going toward Karnes’ renovation efforts at the Elliott.
Donated items to be auctioned off are currently being accepted. They can include anything from art pieces to gift certificates, home décor to toys, recreational items to services. For information, call Chuck Miller at 937-760-2898 or Angela Shepherd at 937-763-3674. Items can be dropped off at The Letter Shop, 247 Jefferson St., or Fifth Third Bank in Greenfield, 125 Jefferson St.
After the auction and another performance by the 7 Mile Bluegrass Band, country singer Jeremy Pinnell will take the stage from 4:30-7 p.m. Kentucky-born Pinnell grew up just south of the Ohio River. According to his website, “As a kid he sang in church and learned how to play the guitar with his dad, and as he got older he figured out he wasn’t just carrying a tune; he could really sing.” When he turned 18, he left home and began writing and singing country music.
Following Pinnell is the headline act.
This year, an outdoor community worship service is back and is slated to be held at the Fourth Street stage from noon to 1 p.m. on Sunday. The service will be followed by an Edward Lee McClain Day announcement. Then at 2 p.m., the parade will make its way down Jefferson Street and through the festival. The introduction of visiting queens will follow, then a performance by the Modern Movement Dance Group.
Two magicians this year will entertain young and old during the festival. The Professor Faris Magic Show will be on Saturday and Boonie the Magician on Sunday.
Saturday will also see the annual antique and classic car show on Washington Street, followed by a parade of the vehicles along Jefferson Street in the afternoon. And sponsored by the Antique Tractor Club will be the Kiddie Tractor Pull.
Carnival rides will be open throughout the three-day festival and the beer garden will be open all three days in the Ranchers parking lot.
For more information, vendor and parade applications, and a full schedule of events at the festival, go to greenfieldrotary.org and click on the festival tab.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.