By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – The final weekend for the annual Dogwood Festival is upon us.
Saturday will see the 79th annual iteration of the festival concludes with Queen’s Weekend for the third weekend of the overall festival.
The new Dogwood Queen will be crowned in the evening with the festivities beginning at the Dogwood Amphitheater which will also play host to the traditional historical play. The play is the longest-running outdoor historical play in the entire American south.
The culmination of all the weekend’s events will take place when a new Dogwood Queen is crowned. Sunnie Wilkinson, from Colmesneil, currently reigns as Queen.
The festivities that comprise Queen’s Weekend will begin on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. with the Dogwood Dash race, which is sponsored by Citizens State Bank and begins in front of Kirby Gym, located at 505 North Charlton Street.
From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., the courthouse square will play host to vendors with a wide variety of goods, foodstuffs and demonstrations on display and at 2 p.m. the parade will take its route along Highway 190 headed east. The parade lineup begins at 1:30 p.m.
Along with the motorcycle and classic car exhibits near the courthouse, which begin at 9 a.m., there will also be some live music on the courthouse square. Local blues-rockers Ina Dilemma will perform, along with some other acts, such as Ginger Ryleigh and Kirsten Hardmant.
For this year’s theme, the directors for the Dogwood Festival went with “Hometown Heroes.”
In keeping with the theme, the festival directors chose Colmesneil resident Alonzo Randolph to serve as Parade Marshal. Randolph is a World War II Army combat veteran, and recently celebrated his 102nd birthday.
The play and coronation for the new queen will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Dogwood Ampitheater.
Whether festivalgoers are longtime Tyler County residents or visitors, the Dogwood Festival offers up a celebration of springtime in the region that provides a testament to the strength and purpose of community and allows an opportunity for great fun for all.