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Country Days! Carnival Nights!

Country Days! Carnival Nights!

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The Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce officially unveiled their plans Thursday for the 2020 Country Days Celebration to be held June 5-7.

Due to the virus outbreak, the press conference was held from the Chamber of Commerce office online as a Facebook Live Event. Chamber Ambassador Mark Toti, Executive Director Candy Hente and Director of Events Cassie Thomas hosted the video explaining the program of events.

Thomas displayed the logo and announced the theme for this year.

“I’m really excited about the Country Days theme this year,” she said. “It’s Country Days Carnival Nights.”

This year's Mr. and Mrs. Country Days are Mike and Jessie Williams. Hente explained that the couple was chosen for the honor in light of their years of selfless community volunteerism.

"Mike is a Vietnam veteran and Jessie serves on the city's Planning and Zoning Committee and, as well as having been a long-time member of the Farmington Historical Society," she said. "They are a wonderful couple and certainly deserve this recognition."

Serving as the Country Days Parade marshals are Luann Honerkamp and Jessica Harmon of Hope 4 Autism, a Farmington-based program that raises awareness and funds, as well as offers training and other assistance for people on the autism spectrum.

Toti discussed details of the talent show.

“We’ll have the opening round on Friday, and the finals on Saturday,” he said. “We have great cash prizes, $200 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third place. We will take 25 entries for this year’s talent show, 15 adult, 10 youth. We will take duets as well.”

Local favorite, Route 67 — pronounced "Root 67" — will serve as the backup band for the talent show. According to its Facebook page, the group was founded in 2001, and is comprised of entertainers and musicians who have been a part of the country music scene for many years.

Route 67 focuses on "feel good" country hits from the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s, as well as a few contemporary tunes and several original songs as well. The group has developed their own unique style and has kept a busy schedule performing, recording and pleasing crowds everywhere.

According to Thomas, the Country Days Midway will be open again. There will be rides, games, arts and crafts vendors and carnival food for everyone to enjoy.

Appearing Friday night on the main stage will be crowd favorite, GTO (Good Time Oldies), a 15-piece oldies show band whose catalog extends from the '50s through the '90s. The group is made up of Dennis Gillam, vocals; Doug Berry, vocals and percussion; Colleen Mitchell, vocals; Lindsay Copeland, vocals; Mark Schipkowski, keyboard and vocals; Dave Barnes, bass; Dave Goldsmith, drums; Lindy LaChance, drums; Bob Monks, trumpet; Michael Goldsmith, sax; Billy Presnell, sax and vocals; Shane Verges, trombone; Kevin White, keyboard and trumpet; Pat Downs, vocals and trumpet; and Butch Robinson, guitar.

Together since 1990, GTO has spent the better part of three decades entertaining audiences across the Midwest. With a dedication to excellence, GTO has assembled a four piece horn section, five vocalists, two keyboards, 2 Drums/Percussion, Guitar and Bass. This dynamic range of talent provides a unique ability to cover a wide range of musical styles. Our Show Band approach with Costumes and Skits adds to the music and excellent stage presentation, making for a powerful combination that promises to entertain all ages.

Saturday night on the main stage will start with Route 67 followed by country artist Ryan Daniel as the opening act. This year's headline act is Grammy-nominated and multi-award winning Restless Heart.

The band is celebrating its 37th anniversary this year. Band member and spokesperson Dave Innis admits that even after all these years, he's enjoying the musical ride today as much as ever.

“I think it’s been an amazing legacy and it’s been such an honor to have been part of an organization that is still together doing it after 30 years with the same five original guys — and it’s more fun than ever," Innis said.

Band members Innis, John Dittrich, Greg Jennings, Paul Gregg and Larry Stewart have enjoyed one of the most successful careers in country music history, placing over 25 singles on the charts, with six consecutive #1 hits. Four of their albums have been certified Gold by the RIAA and they have won a wide range of awards from many organizations, including the Academy of Country Music’s Top Vocal Group trophy.

Hente said Faith and Family Sunday will return this year. Events that day consist of Church in the Park in the morning, followed in the afternoon by the Faith Games where church groups compete for a traveling trophy. Also, "armband day" returns where kids wearing a one-price armband can enjoy as many rides as they wish.

In addition, the contemporary gospel music group, Celebrate Recovery Band, along with Christian performers Jordan Voss and Devin Meyers, will take the stage Sunday afternoon.

Throughout the three-day event, there will be a variety of events that include the annual parade, Little Miss and Master Contest, miniature train display and coloring contest.

For more information about Farmington Country Days and to obtain competition entry forms, go to www.farmingtoncountrydays.com

Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com

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