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We all know that nothing is perfect, but the 2019 Farmington County Days was about as close as you can get — excluding a little crazy weather that reared its ugly head for a brief time Saturday night.

The three-day festival ended Sunday evening as it began Friday morning — with crowds of happy guests enjoying the many events, activities and festivities brought to the historic downtown area once again through the efforts of the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce and its many business and community supporters.

While much of the day was focused on sales and special promotions offered by downtown merchants, Friday night visitors to Country Days enjoyed the opening of amusement rides and the midway, the STARTEK/J98 Talent Show, and a free concert in Long Park performed by the progressive country group Whiskey Dixon and opening act, Poizzon. Others ended the evening with the annual Little Caesar’s Moonlight Bike Ride.

The second day of Country Days arrived with blue skies and warm, but comfortable, temperatures that was most certainly one of many reasons that a large crowd began arriving early for the Saturday morning Servpro Farmington Country Days Parade that began at 10 a.m.

With more than 200 entries, the parade once again didn’t disappoint with its always exciting mix of marching bands; servicemen and women; emergency responders and local dignitaries, and wide variety of floats promoting this year’s Country Days theme — “Calling All Heroes!”

The crowds continued to grow throughout the day as anticipation began to build for the evening’s concert featuring Darryl Worley with Route 67 and musical guest Hunter Hathcoat. Before the music began, however, parents and grandparents came out in droves to Long Park to watch the annual Little Miss and Master Coronation.

It wasn’t long after the concert crowd was heading home that there was a slight hiccup in the otherwise “perfect” weekend. A storm that blew through Farmington at about midnight forced more than a few Country Days vendors to spend time repairing their booths before being able to open for business Sunday morning.

Candy Zarcone, director of member engagement and business development for the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce, discussed the damage inflicted on the vendors by the previous night’s storm.

“We had several tents damaged or destroyed from the 50 mile an hour winds,” she said. “You could see some of the debris gathered in the streets where high water ran along the curbs.”

Despite all that, worshippers began gathering before 9 a.m. at the Kammermann’s Termite and Pest Control Gazebo in Long Park for the Farmington Ministerial Alliance Church in the Park. The attendees laid newspapers and folded plastic trash bags on the rain-sodden bales of straw so as to remain dry while enjoying the service.

Shannon Skinner with First Steps Church of God opened the service saying, “We are not about individual churches this morning, we are about God. We are a part of one church, one family, one savior, one spirit.”

Memorial United Worship, the praise band for Memorial United Methodist Church, sang at the beginning and end of the service. Rob Gerst, of Young Faith in Christ brought the message.

Playing on the Country Days’ theme, Gerst said, “Whenever we talk about God, when we talk about his attributes, we talk about all he has done. With just his words he said, ‘Let there be light.’ With just his words he created the heavens and the earth. We see that he is more powerful than Superman.

“He has more resources that Iron Man and Batman put together. He’s wiser than Captain America and Charles Xavier. Guardians of the Galaxy can go to a lot of places, but God has no boundaries. Superheroes are limited in their abilities to hear cries of help, but God hears the cry of every single one of his children.”

All-in-all, as the weekend came to a close, Laura Raymer — the chamber’s director of events and program marketing — was extremely happy with the way things went with this year’s Country Days.

“It’s just been amazing with the people who came out to join us — between the vendors and the food concessions, the rides — and of course, the great free concerts,” she said. “We couldn’t do all this without our volunteers, without all of our sponsors, and of course without the people of Farmington and all of those who come and attend — not just from our area — but from out of state, as well.

“Merchants Day on Friday is growing and growing every year and it’s a lot of fun. There are all kinds of free activities that happen, lots of games, lots of other activities. It’s also a great way to check out all the shops in downtown Farmington. Then, we packed the park for Saturday night’s Darryl Worley concert. He is a great entertainer and he definitely didn’t disappoint.

“I would say it’s been an incredible weekend and we’re very excited to begin thinking about making next year’s plans and how we’ll continue to improve and grow the festival. I just want to thank everybody for coming out and joining us for a beautiful weekend.”

According to Raymer, it takes an entire year to plan and organize Country Days.

“We’ll take a couple of days off this coming week to rest and catch up a little bit on sunblock, but then we’re in there planning 2020. It starts pretty early, but with an event of this magnitude it does take that long and it takes a lot of volunteers.

“It takes a lot of people working together toward the common goal which is to showcase our amazing community and invite people to come and spend the weekend with us. Especially with this year’s theme, for a lot of folks it’s to come back and see your family and friends because there really is no place like home.”

Raymer offered special thanks to those who “walk the extra mile” each year to assure that Country Days continues to be a success.

“We have a fantastic partnership with the city of Farmington — from parks and recreation to city hall, public works, the electric department — we all work together to make this weekend happen and we absolutely could not do it without them,” she said. “A big thanks also goes to our volunteers and sponsors.”

Somebody else who had positive things to say about the weekend was 2019’s Mr. Country Days, Jerry Weems.

“It’s been a great weekend, outside of the storm that moved through last night, the weather has been absolutely wonderful,” he said. “It is just a gorgeous Sunday afternoon here in Long Park as we wrap up 2019 Country Days. We had a great day Friday with lots of people and fun. Saturday night was a big crowd for Darryl Worley. The weather was a little bit warm in the afternoon, but the parade was wonderful. Everything has gone really well.”

Weems added that he and his wife, Susan, who served as Mrs. Country Days, were honored to be selected to fill the roles this year.

“We’re the 41st Mr. and Mrs. Country Days, so we’re following in a lot of great footsteps,” he said. “It’s just an honor anytime you get chosen to represent your community in an endeavor — something you’ve put some work into over the years.

“We just had a lot of fun with it. Susan has extremely enjoyed it. It got her face out in the public a little bit more than normal. It’s been real gratifying and we’ve been warmly received everywhere we’ve been.”

The following are winners in several of this year’s Country Day competitions —

FSCB Bank Diaper Derby

First Place – Emery Helm, daughter of Melissa and Otis Helm; Second Place – Aaron Currington, son of J.T. and Brittany Currington; and Third Place – Gunner Campbell, son of Tracey Chitwood and William Campbell

FSCB Decorated Diaper

First Place – Emery Helm, Super Baby, daughter of Melissa and Otis Helm; Second Place – JJ Hall, Bat Baby Mobile, son of Sarah and Jon Hall; and Third Place – Hannah Nickelson, My Hero Wears Kevlar, daughter of Amy and Luke Nickelson

Unico Bank Spirit Competition

Office/Lobby: First Place – First State Community Bank, Second Place – Ozarks Federal Savings & Loan, and Third Place – Belgrade State Bank; Exterior/Window: First Place – The Copper Lantern, Second Place – First State Community Bank, and Third Place – C-Barn Karsch/Washington; "Dress The Part": First Place – First State Community Bank, Second Place – Belgrade State Bank, and Third Place – Ozarks Federal Savings & Loan; Signs/Marquees: First Place – Ozarks Federal Savings & Loan, Second Place – C-Barn Karsch/Washington, and Third Place – First State Community Bank

Servpro Country Days Parade

Equestrian: First Place – First Belgrade State Bank and Second Place – Pegasus/Wonder Woman; Walking Unit: First Place – Black Knight Marching Band, Second Place – Panera, Third Place – Farmington Elks; Vehicle / Floats: First Place – Hefner Furniture, Second Place – Centene Superior Children’s Center and Earth Mother Health Foods (tie); Best in Show: First State Community Bank

STARTEK / J98 Talent Show Finals

Adult Division: First Place – Timothy Kissinger; Second Place – Michelle Kemper; Third Place – Andrew and Lizzy Boyer; Juvenile Division: First Place – Edison Boyer

Little Miss & Master Coronation

Talie Bieser, the daughter of Mark and Sara Bieser, and Jack Schweiss, the son of Adam and Jennifer Schweiss, sponsored by Eric Schweiss State Farm Insurance, were chosen 2019 Little Miss and Master Country Days. First runners-up: Harper Bonnell, daughter of Jared and Ashley Bonnell, and Tripp Dotson, son of Matt and Kristen Dotson, sponsored by Klassey Kids Day Care & Preschool. Second runners-up: Blythe Marler, the daughter of Brandon and Amanda Marler, and Brock Johnson, the son of Zach and Cristin Johnson, sponsored by Subway of Farmington.

Farmington Ministerial Alliance Faith Games

First Place – First Baptist Church; Second Place – Parkland Chapel; Third Place – New Heights and YFC (tie)

Autographed Guitar

Jennifer Crites was the winner of a Takamine guitar autographed by Darryl Worley. The raffle was sponsored by Harry Peterson American Family Insurance and raised $580 for Farmington VFW Post

See more results in the June 6 issue of the Farmington Press.

This year’s Country Days sponsors included: Mainstage – Chris Auffenberg Chevrolet Buick GMC, Centene Corporation, First State Community Bank, Parkland Health Center, Pepsi and SRG Global; Platinum – City of Farmington, Engler for Missouri, Farmington Convention & Tourism Bureau, KREI / KTJJ Radio Stations, Ozarks Federal Savings & Loan, Signs Etc. and US Tool Group; Gold – KFMO / B104, KREI / KTJJ Radio Stations, Midwest Sports Center, Parkland Health Center, Servpro of Farmington, STARTEK, The Daily Journal and Twin City Toyota; Silver Sponsors – A-1 Portable Buildings, C.Z. Boyer & Son Funeral Home – Taylor Chapel, Farmington Tourism Bureau, Sam Scism Motors and Unico Bank; Executive – American Family Insurance / Harry Peterson, Belgrade State Bank, Bryant Restoration, Mercy Hospital Jefferson and Mineral Area College; Super – C.N.M. Technology Solutions, Midwest Marketing and Music Makers; Corporate – Camelot Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Carpet One Home & Floor, Chris Morrison – State Farm Insurance, Country Mart, Crouch-Farley-&-Heuring, PC, First State Financial Management, Grand True Value Rental, Hafner Financial Services, Krekeler Jewelers, Little Caesars Pizza, MCII Sheltered Workshop, Menards, Minuteman Press, New Era Bank Pasta House, Plummer’s Ace Hardware, Show-Me Rent-To-Own and Taylor Tax & Consulting, LLC; Good Neighbor Sponsors – First State Insurance Agency, Patriot Embroidery and Taylor Engineering; Friend of Country Days Sponsors – Simply Chic Boutique, Sun Loan Co, and Talent Force.

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Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or kjenkins@farmingtonpressonline.com

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