More than 25,000 people are expected to attend this year’s Western Days Festival, and they will see and hear some big changes.
Lewisville’s largest festival of the year, Western Days, will open its gates for live music and western-themed activities at 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
Changes to the festival include the venue adding a fifth stage to incorporate Witherspoon Distillery. While the extra stage will allow for more acts, an even bigger change for the festival is the variety-packed lineup of live music.
The headliners for the event, the Randy Rogers Band and Gary Allan, stay true to the Texas country music genre usually displayed at the festival, event coordinator Daren Watkins says. However, this year Watkins wanted to make the festival more like Austin City Limits, or SXSW. He wanted to “genre-bend,” he says.
“So, we’ve got everything on that stage from '80s hair metal rock to bluegrass,” Watkins says.
With a strong enough lineup this year, Watkins says he could see this variety of performers becoming a staple of the festival in years to come. But this is still uncharted territory for him and the rest of the organizers of the festival.
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“We’re kind of making up the rules as we go along,” Watkins says.
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Attendees can expect more than music at the festival. Rain or shine, the Huffines Auto Dealership’s Cattle Drive Parade will be 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Lewisville is also the intergalactic headquarters for the World Tamale Eating Contest, Watkins says. The 12 minutes of tamale-consuming madness will begin right after the cattle drive at 1 p.m.
This celebration of western heritage has been sporadically around since 1969. Because of a shrinking volunteer base at the time, the festival came to a halt in the '80s. Decades later, the Old Town Business Association reintroduced the event in 2006. The following year it was taken on by the city, according to its website. This little country, little retro festival has attracted all walks of life ever since.
Tickets are free and downloadable on the City of Lewisville’s website. Although, after 7 p.m. on both days, free tickets will not be accepted. Admission will then cost $10, with the exception of children under 12.