Anyone looking for a fun, free evening of family entertainment this week need look no farther than Marshall County. That’s because the National Sand Bass Festival is back in downtown Madill. Though the 2019 festival started on Monday, there are still four more days and evenings to enjoy the festivities and concerts.
Festival Chairman Donny Raley said the opening acts will take to the Woody Ford Concert Stage nightly at 6 p.m., and the headline acts will begin at 8:30 p.m.
“Wednesday is our family faith night,” Raley said. “We have two opening bands that will sing contemporary Christian music. Then Colton Dixon will do a praise and worship at 8:30. Thursday we have Ty England. Friday we’ll have John Conlee, and Saturday we will wrap up with Stoney LaRue.”
But the Sand Bass Festival is about more than just music. The event also hosts a variety of arts and crafts vendors and a carnival which opens at 5 p.m. tonight through Friday and at noon on Saturday, the busiest day of the entire event.
“We’ve got numerous activities that take place on Saturday,” Raley said.
Most of the events will begin at 9 a.m. and include the classic car, truck and motorcycle show, a kids fishing tournament and a fun run. The terrapin races will be held at 10 a.m. and the annual baby crawl will take place on the courthouse lawn at 11 a.m.
For Raley, the annual event is in his blood, as his father was one of the original founders of the festival back in 1961. He explained the first incarnation of the National Sand Bass Festival ran until 1976. However after an 11-year hiatus, the festival returned in its current form in 1987.
“We built this festival around family fun. It’s just a time for people to come together as one, and sit around and enjoy the fellowship,” Raley said. “Best of all, everything that we offer as far as the festival goes is free of charge for anyone who wants to come out.”
He pointed out that even though the vendors and carnival cost money, the concerts and activities have no admission fees.
“If a family wants to bring their kids out all they need are their lawn chairs, and they can just sit outside enjoying the evening with everybody at the concert,” Raley said. “They can even bring in an ice chest and bring their own drinks, so it doesn’t even cost them a penny.”