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Greer chosen as Grand Marshal of Founders parade, festivities

Throughout all the years she served as an alderman, Wesson’sLura Greer always had an opinion on town matters.

Saturday, she’ll be serving as the grand marshal of the FoundersDay parade, and she’s got an opinion on those duties, too.

“I’m supposed to be in a convertible – I hope it don’t rain. Ifit does, they can pull the top over it,” Greer said.

Hopes are that Greer will get to sit in the sun on the back ofthe convertible and wave to the crowd, but this weekend’s 21stannual Wesson Founders Day has as good a chance of being rained onas not. Undoubtedly, some people will brave a drizzle and get wetin order to see the arts and crafts and taste the alligatorhamburgers, but heavy rain will cut the party short.

“If it’s a light rain, we’re going to go ahead and have it. Ifit’s stormy, we’ll just have to cancel it,” said Marilyn Britt,vice president of the Wesson Chamber of Commerce and festivalorganizer. “If it comes a downpour Saturday morning, nobody’s goingto be downtown.”

Britt said Founders Day bosses would work closely with CopiahCounty Civil Defense to monitor the weather leading up to theevent, but early forecasts don’t look too promising.

The National Weather Service is predicting the potential forsevere thunderstorms and flash flooding for the weekend, with nastyweather starting off Friday afternoon and continuing through theweekend. The most severe weather is expected to be in west-centralMississippi, but Wesson’s chance of rain for Friday night is 40percent, increasing to 60 percent throughout Saturday.

Friday night can be saved. Not all the Founders Day activitieswill be in full swing on the festival’s more relaxed opening night,and the gospel band Anchormen can be moved indoors at WessonBaptist Church for their concert at 7 p.m.

For Saturday, there’s no going back.

“We’re not rescheduling. It’s a one-time deal,” Britt said.

Britt said Founders Day organizers would do the best they couldregardless of the weather, encouraging festival visitors to comedowntown no matter what. She pointed out that weather forecasts arenot written in stone, using last weekend as an example – thoughsevere weather alerts were issued all across Southwest Mississippi,Yazoo County got the tornadoes. Wesson got sunshine.

“It just barely rained in Wesson,” she said. “So come on. We’regoing to be out there doing what we can. We’re going to do our bestto provide whatever we can, however we can.”

If the weather cooperates, this year’s Founders Day festivalshould be one to remember. The weekend shindig will follow the sameformat of a light Friday night and a long, long Saturday that goeswell after dark, but events have been retooled slightly to attracta wider audience.

The most obvious shift is in entertainment, where genres havebeen expanded and acts scheduled to perform throughout the event.The Anchormen have Friday night’s gospel session all to themselves,but eight other music groups will kick off Saturday morning andplay all day.

Beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing, musical groups includeNatalie Jo McKenzie, Janet Burns, Clay Foster, Major Burnette andReginald Kyzar, 4PLAY Band, Asphalt Cowboys, Taylor DuBose and theColonels, who go on last at 8 p.m. Most performers are local.

Entertainment will be augmented by traditional favorites likethe Dixieland Cloggers, local cheerleaders and mascots and otherperformers.

Set up for the third annual Backyard BBQ Cookoff begins at 6a.m., and festival visitors will be able to sample the edible artsthroughout the day. The Arts and Crafts Show begins at 8 a.m. andlasts until 5 p.m., when entertainment and fellowship take over andgo through the night.

A hog calling contest will take place at 9:30 a.m., and theintroduction of the Founders Day King and Queen and other gueststakes place at 10:30 a.m. The parade begins at 11 a.m., and thefirst round of the cash-laiden game Deal or No Deal begins atnoon.

“We’re ready,” Britt said. “We’re excited about all theentertainment coming, and we hope this year will just kind of add anew twist on having a community even all ages will enjoy.”