WAXAHACHIE

Hometown goodness mixed with live music, street performers, food and handcrafted items from across the state are just a portion of what visitors can expect at the Texas Country Reporter Festival.

The festival returns for the 23rd time to downtown Waxahachie Saturday, Oct. 27. Admission to the festival is free.

Spurred from the weekly “Texas Country Reporter” television show, the festival brings the personalities and stories found on the back roads of Texas to one central location.

“We have a good mix of people," Bob Phillips previously told the Daily Light. “[...] Our food court, I think, is one of the best food courts at any festival anywhere.”

To say the festival brings about all walks of life from all corners of the great State of Texas could very well be an understatement. There will be more than 250 vendor booths set-up with artisans, craftspeople, and food in and around the courthouse square. Of those vendors, about one-third have been featured on the “Texas Country Reporter” television show. One of the previous vendors included Austin-based Amy’s Ice Cream, which, according to its website, started in 1984 and has more than 350 flavors in its daily rotation. Other vendors to grace the festival grounds and that have been featured on the show include Mustard Seed Jewelry, the Slaton Bakery, the food truck Loving Libbie, and artist Calina Mishay.

The festival changed its opening ceremonies in 2016 from the grand-entry-parade style previously used to a “Texas-sized” grand opening on the main stage. While the festival typically begins at 9 a.m. on the Saturday of the weekend, the opening ceremonies usually commence at 9:30 a.m. — when Bob and Kelli Phillips are welcomed back “home” to Waxahachie. As a part of the opening ceremonies, Waxahachie resident Jade Flores will sing the National Anthem.

The festival will also feature a car show to benefit the Ellis County SPCA. It will be held on Jackson Street between Main and Jefferson. People who want to participate can show up the day of the festival and make a $20 donation. Space at the car show is limited. Activities will wind down this year around 7 p.m.

One central feature of the event is live music. Headlining the event is the Grammy-winning recording country band, Shenandoah, featuring original lead singer Marty Raybon. Some of the band’s hits include “Two Dozen Roses,” “Church on Cumberland Road,” and “Next to you Next to Me.”

Other performers in this year's lineup include the Prairie Dogs, Pistol Packin’ Paula, Brian Houser, Willow City, and the Purple Hulls.

Laurie Moseley, director of the Waxahachie Convention and Visitors Bureau, stated that people attending the festival are in for a day of fun and excitement in downtown.

“I think that this year’s festival is going to give all of the things that you have always loved for the past 22 years and some new extra surprises for the 23rd year," Moseley said.

She added this is the largest one-day arts and music festival in the state.

For more information about the festival, call the Waxahachie Convention and Visitors Bureau at 469-309-4040 or visit its website at www.waxahachiecvb.com.