“Calling All Heroes!” will be the theme for the 41st annual Farmington Country Days celebration, set for May 31-June 2 in downtown Farmington.
At a press conference held Friday at Farmington’s Long Memorial Hall, Jerry and Susan Weems were introduced as this year’s Mr. and Mrs. Country Days.
“As Country Days ambassadors, this year’s Mr. and Mrs. Country Days are no strangers to promoting the annual festival or the beautiful region they call home,” said Laura Raymer, director of events and program marketing for the chamber. “For more than 35 years, this couple has made it a point to give back to the community that has given so much to them and they have no plans to stop now.”
Jerry Weems is a 1974 graduate of North County High School who went on to receive a Communication Arts Degree from Lindenwood University. Susan Weems is a 1971 graduate of Fredericktown High School, as well as a graduate of Mineral Area College. The pair married in 1982 at the First Assembly of God Church in Farmington. Their son Josh is a 2004 graduate of North County High School.
“For over 30 years, Jerry has been a member of the St. Francois County Rotary Club and he has held just about every single office,” Raymer said. “They even talked him into being president three times. He is the past district governor for Rotary and also president of the Show Me Rotary Leadership Institute, as well as a member of the Farmington Elks Lodge 1765 where he currently serves as treasurer.
“Jerry has been a longtime member of the Farmington Regional Chamber, having served on the board of directors, Chamber Ambassadors and planning committees for many, many different activities including the golf tournament, Country Days, Harvest Night and others. Through his many activities and appointments, Susan has been by Jerry’s side supporting and encouraging him.
“Susan has also volunteered for many years with Country Days at the information booth at Long Park. Both have supported the festival and the many events that are part of the three-day event. Some of their favorite events during Country Days includes the parade, of course; the free concerts in Long Park; visiting with friends and family; and, of course, funnel cake.
“Weems Insurance Agency was created in 2010 and continues to thrive. Josh joined the company in 2017 and after 12 years of working with the state of Missouri, Susan finally joined the family business upon her retirement this last January. We are thrilled to have Susan and Jerry as this year’s official ambassadors of Country Days 2019. The untold hours that they have devoted over the years to our region, our organization and to Country Days in general makes them the perfect fit.”
Calling the Weems to the front of the auditorium, Raymer presented the couple with capes to promote the superheroes theme.
“Thank you all for this honor,” Jerry Weems said. “There’s been a long list of very distinguished Mr. and Mrs. Country Days over the years. I’m going to do everything in my power [to live up to them] — and I will probably screw it up somewhere along the way. It’s a great community and this is a great event, as many of you know. We’re very proud that we can do this for the community and very thankful for this honor.”
Raymer next introduced this year’s Country Days Parade marshals.
“Farmington Country Days has a proud history of recognizing individuals and organizations that have inspired, contributed and made a difference in the community,” she said. “This year the annual festival is honored to announce the parade marshals for the 2019 ServPro Country Days Parade are the members of the Norman L. Rigdon VFW Post 5896.
“The Farmington post was chartered in 1946 with 72 members and was named after Sgt. Norman L. Rigdon who died on Dec. 25, 1944 proudly serving in World War II. His parents donated the land where the post now sits and since its inception it has now grown to 517 members.”
Raymer said the Country Days Committee is “shaking things up a little bit all across the board” — including the StarTek/J98 Talent Show.
“Obviously it’s a vocal competition and in the past we’ve limited it to solos,” she said. “This year we’re opening it up to duets and small groups. We are super excited about this. A lot of folks in our community weren’t able to do this, so we’re looking forward to a great talent show. As always, the prelims will take place on Friday and then Saturday will be the finals. The winners among the youth and adult competition go on to open for our big band on Saturday night.”
Also announced during the kick-off were the main stage artists. This year’s mainstage sponsors are Auffenberg GM Superstore, Centene Corporation, First State Community Bank, Parkland Health Center, Pepsi, and SRG Global.
The opening act on Friday is the tribute group, Poizzon, that will take the stage at 6 p.m. Following up at 9 p.m. is Whiskey Dixon. Formed in March of 2008, Whiskey Dixon has quickly moved to the top of the list in the New Country Music genre. The group takes an alternative, edgy approach to the New Country market and since 2008 has built quite a name for ourselves.
At 9 p.m., the Saturday night mainstage featured act is Darryl Worley who is well-known for the rich, reedy tones and all-American, blue-collar themes in his number 1 hits “I Miss My Friend,” “Awful, Beautiful Life” and “Have You Forgotten?”
Enjoy the island vibes and blue-eyed soul in Worley’s new songs “It’s Good To Be Me,” “Lay It On Me” and “Lonely Alone.” The alternate sides are both on display in Second Wind: Latest and Greatest, a project that mixes the traditional-country history he established in Nashville with the ragged soul that’s deep in the bones of Muscle Shoals, a musical Alabama hotbed where Worley got his start.
Opening for Worley will be Hunter Harthcoat at 6 p.m. and local favorite, Route 67 at 7:30 p.m.
Faith and Family Day on Sunday features the Punches at 9 a.m., The Berry Brothers at noon and the bluegrass band Silver Creek from 2-4 p.m.
Raymer said tickets for Country Days 2019 will be available beginning sometime in April. For more information, visit the Farmington Country Days website at www.farmingtoncountrydays.com.
“We’re very proud that we can do this for the community and very thankful for this honor.” — Jerry Weems
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org