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Rain-delayed Surgoinsville festival back with new lineup

Jeff Bobo • Sep 29, 2009 at 12:00 AM

SURGOINSVILLE — The heavens opened up and washed out last Saturday’s Surgoinsville Riverfront Festival, but it’s only a coincidence that the revised makeup program this coming Saturday will have a stronger emphasis on gospel music.

The festival was originally planned for Friday and Saturday of last week.

Friday’s events were completed, including a deed ceremony with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency turning over the Riverfront Park deed to Surgoinsville.

In fact, Surgoinsville received an unexpected five-year bonus Friday.

Surgoinsville had originally been notified that it would receive a 25-year lease on the park where the festival is held every year.

But on Friday, TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter — a Hawkins County native — presented the town with a 30-year lease.

But there was a catch.

Originally, Surgoinsville was only going to be required to maintain the property.

The lease signed Friday also included $1 per year rent to the TWRA.

Surgoinsville Alderman Merrill Graham, who chairs the Riverfront Festival Committee, said $30 for 30 years is “still a pretty good deal.”

“I guess it’s something they had to do to make it legal,” said Graham.

The festival began this past Saturday at 10 a.m. And although the fishing tournament and car show were completed, Graham said the festival was canceled shortly after noon due to rain.

This coming Saturday, the festival resumes at noon and will conclude at 9 p.m. with fireworks.

Saturday’s program is much the same as the original program, minus the car show and fishing tournament.

Graham noted that some of the music groups scheduled for last Saturday weren’t able to rebook and have been replaced mostly with gospel groups.

A flag retirement ceremony and singing of the national anthem are set for 1 p.m., with live music to begin about 2 p.m. on the main stage.

There will also be food, children’s games and other regular festival activities throughout the day.

New to the schedule this Saturday is a motorcycle show set to begin around 3 p.m.

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