Town ready to celebrate Founders Day

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wesson, founded in 1864 by Col. James Madison Wesson during theCivil War, was once famous for the quality of cotton fabricproduced at its mills and the lights that illuminated the sky inthe early days of electricity. The small town is now well known forthe educational opportunities it provides and its Southerncharm.

This weekend, locals and neighbors will get to celebrate 147 yearsworth of Wesson history during the 22nd annual Founders Daysponsored by the Wesson Chamber of Commerce in downtown.

“It’s just a family night,” said Marilyn Britt, Wesson Chamber ofCommerce vice president. “It’s just for all ages; it’s just a nightwhere families can get together.”

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The soulful music of gospel artists JudahSeed will kick off thefestival Friday in the Robert Yager parking lot at 8 p.m.

“We just want to invite everybody to come, celebrate and just havefun,” Britt said of the festival.

The celebration will be in full swing Saturday starting at 8 a.m.,with registration for a 5k run beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday willalso bring nearly a dozen acts of entertainment, a flea market,various vendors and a car show, which is new to the event.

“We just felt like that would be a very popular event for the day,”said Britt. “We just know there’s a lot of car enthusiasts in thearea.”

At 10:40 a.m. the Founders Day queen and ambassador will beannounced and the parade will roll through downtown beginning at 11a.m. This year’s grand marshal of the parade is Dorothy Jones, whohas been a member of Wesson Baptist Church for nearly 70years.

“My children have kidded me and said we have a celebrity in thefamily,” said Jones. “I’m excited and feel privileged; really, it’san honor.”

Jones has quite a few Founders Day festivals under her belt. Shesaid she helped start the original flea market and has been in thearea since she moved from Arkansas about 77 years ago.

“I guess you can say I go way back,” she said. “I’ve been in Wessona mighty long time.”

The festival will conclude with a street dance to the music of TheCowboy Blues Band from 7 until 11 p.m., which Britt said will beone of the highlights of the event.

“We’re constantly trying to bring different and interesting vendorsand entertainment for people to enjoy that day,” said Britt.

The two-day festival is an event the town looks forward toparticipating in. Jones, who owned a business in downtown forroughly 13 years, said nostalgia may be why the function is sopopular.

“Wesson has a lot of good history,” she said. “It’s amazing at thehistory that’s in Wesson.”