By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
The hot new country band Nash Street will headline the Flywheel Festival in Houston next weekend and the local group is expected to draw a crowd to this year’s spring event.
The group has made a name for themselves in Nashville and many think their name comes from the Music City. But Nash Street is based out of Starkville and their name is linked to a short street in the historic Cotton District where most of the group once lived and performed.
The 31st annual Mississippi Valley Flywheel Spring Festival will be held April 26-28 in Joe Brigance Park. Nash Street will play from 11 a.m. to noon on the main stage in the center of the park.
“We are very excited to get such a well-known group with local connections,” said Joyce East, Chickasaw Development Foundation Executive Director and co-sponsor of the Houston Flywheel Festival. “This band will bring a lot of their own younger fans and we think their music will be the type long-time attendees of the Flywheel Festival will enjoy, too.”
The group consists of, Hannah Melby, on fiddle and vocals, Daniel Haire who plays an upright bass, Caroline Melby on mandolin and vocals, Clay Lezon on lead guitar and Ben Mathis on rhythm guitar.
The band came together in 1996 and they won the Mississippi State Talent Fest in 2004. They have opened for Faith Hill, Jeff Bates and Tim McGraw. In 2008, Nash Street received first prize in Nashville’s “Colgate Country Showdown” along with the $100,000 prize and claim to being “The Best New Act in Country Music.”
“This is just one of the new-and-improved events we will feature at this year’s festival,” said East. “We are working hard to reach out to the community, especially younger people and families.”
New this year will be a petting zoo for kids as well as a 4-H display, face painting and more game booths. Bounce houses, a kid’s pedal tractor-pull and snowcones will once again be a favorite for the young and young-at-heart.
“We are working on finalizing our entertainment and we will have everything from gospel and contemporary Christian music to country and more modern tunes,” said East. “We’ve tried to get a good mix and there will be something for everyone.”
And the traditional favorites will be back this year, too.
The Flywheel Festival kicks off Friday with an anvil shoot at 11 a.m. The Houston Touchdown Club will sponsor a catfish supper from 4 to 7 p.m. at the CDF building.
Saturday will see the Pink Ribbon 5K fun-run to raise money to fight breast cancer sponsored by the New Century Club, the pancake breakfast sponsored by the Houston Band Boosters and of course a full slate of vendors selling everything from jewelry and t-shirts to good things to eat.
The Parade of Power will wind through downtown Houston at 9:30 a.m. Local bands and entertainers will take to the stage from 9 a.m., to 2 p.m.
The tractor pull is the main event of the fall festival and it starts around noon.
And, as always, there will be demonstrations of steam and diesel engines, hominy cooking, a working grist mill, lard rendering, lye soap processing and a host of other pioneer projects in the park.
“The Flywheel Festival is always a chance to showcase our community and we hope people will mark their calendar and plan to come out,” said East. “Rain or shine we always have a lot of fun and bring a lot of people to Houston for the weekend.
Vendors wanting to obtain a booth at this year’s festival should contact East at 456-2321.