GM&M planners have big ideas

Friday, May 1, 2009

While most people are still thinking about their plans for spring and summer, one group of Marshall County residents already has its mind on the fall.

Planning for October's Goats Music and More Festival is well underway.

"We like to do a little something new every year," said the committee which is meeting once a month for lunch in the Lewisburg City Hall.

The Marshall County Tourism Committee, chaired by county commissioner Jimmy Stitt, is sponsoring the "Battle of Rock Creek," a knockout competition for 16 non-professional bands, spread over eight Saturday nights. The final four bands will perform on the Thursday night before GMM starts, and the final two have the honor of opening for the group Shenandoah at the Friday night concert. Shenandoah will announce the winner of the $2,500 prize after the concert.

Lewisburg's City Manager, Eddie Fuller, works hard to get the right music for the festival, and for Saturday night he has booked both Motown Madness and Shawn Klush, who wowed the crowd as Elvis last year. Admission to the GMM concerts has traditionally been free, and the committee is not talking about changing this.

New ideas for the festival this year include a beauty pageant, "Old Nanny and Billy," for couples (not necessarily married) over 60.

"I think people would go stupid over this," said Greg Lowe, Lewisburg codes enforcement officer, noting the number of beauty pageants that are run in conjunction with the Paris/Henry County "World's Biggest Fish Fry." "Miss Fainting Goat," a beauty pageant for high school/college age contestants might be in the works for another year.

Pat Taylor is still in charge of planning for the goat shows, which will be run on all three days, in two tents. Four breeds of goat will be represented in a total of seven shows: Nigerian dwarf, mini silky, fainting (myotonic), and Boer.

A mechanical bull, an inflatable slide, and a "castle jumper" are under consideration, and so are designs for GMM merchandise to be sold at the festival.

Monette Fagan's volunteers will have a new color of tee shirt this year, perhaps red. "Something bright that we've never had before." said Fagan, who will start organizing her small army of helpers in the summer.

The food vendors come back year after year, and there are new applicants waiting to fill the slots of any that don't return. Julie Johnson reported to the committee that Soul Train wants to return this year.

Serious business gets done at the monthly GMM committee meetings - decisions are made, responsibilities are delegated, and budgets are agreed - but the group really has a good time, too, and the room is filled with jokes and laughter. This is appropriate for a festival that is supposed to bring fun and enjoyment, as well as money and tourists, to Lewisburg and Marshall County.

For more information on the festival, to be held on October 9, 10, and 11 this year, check out