By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
The story could probably end there, as the annual event that began as a celebration of Corsicana’s rich oil heritage is now known far and wide as a day of fun, food, rides, activities, chili, classic cars and music.
Months of preparation behind them, along with a surprising fiscal setback to start the year, the Derrick Days committee headed up by Fran Townes and Andy Williams (with an assist from Brad Haynie, the ‘Grand Old Man’ of Derrick Days) has not only recovered from the loss of operating funds, but come up with a celebration that is on tap to become the biggest and best yet.
And it’s all because people rallied around them and showed their support, said Townes.
“People have been really, really nice,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many text messages and notes in the mail I’ve gotten.”
In addition, financial support to help pull off the event — money used to pay for supplies, services and advertising — has come from all around the community as well.
From free advertising on the Texas Media Properties/Collin Street Bakery electronic billboard along I-45 to write-ups in local publications to donors who sought no recognition, only wanting to help, the festival has been a success leading up to Saturday’s big day.
Checks from $500 to $1,000 also came rolling in, all from private donors, wanting to help.
Townes also praised the Mildred One-Act Play team, as its student actors put on a one night show at the Palace Theatre this past Tuesday night as a fundraiser for Derrick Days.
“I can’t thank them enough for wanting to help,” Townes said.
The committee’s resolve from early on was “the show will go on.”
That show kicks off bright and early Saturday morning with a pancake breakfast and the Oil Town Mini-Thon in Community Park.
Downtown activities start at 9 a.m. with the Derrick Days Parade, honoring Grand Marshal Elmer Tanner, sheriff of Navarro County.
Following the parade, it’s as many different activities as one would wish to participate in, from the arts and crafts vendors to the Corsicana Parks and Recreation Department’s “Biker Bash” to tours of Navarro County’s oil fields conducted by C.L. “Buster” Brown III.
New to the celebration this year is the day-long involvement of the Corsicana Independent School District with its music programs on stage throughout the day.
“We have the school choirs performing the entire day on a stage near the Warehouse Living Arts Center,” Townes said. There will also be demonstrations put on by the Corsicana High School welding class throughout the day, she said.
“This is really the first time we’ve had CISD as involved as they are,” she said, crediting Dr. Diane Frost, CISD superintendent, for her support of the event.
A variety of musical acts, an animal adoption, a film on the oil industry’s history, the classic car show put on by the Shakers and Scrapers Car Club, and of course, the world-famous chili cookoff all serve as highlights of the day.
A concert by country artist Randy Brown will cap off Saturday’s events as he performs at the Palace Theatre. Tickets for the dinner and show are $25 and were still available late Friday.
Here’s a complete schedule of Derrick Days activities slated for Saturday:
Saturday, April 27
6:30 a.m. Oil Town Mini-thon, benefiting Corsicana Noon Lion’s Club at Corsicana “Y”, 400 Oaklawn.
7 to 10 a.m. Pancake Breakfast in front of Martin’s Music Hall
8:30 a.m. Biker Bash and Poker Run Registration at The Remington, 122 West Third Avenue.
9 a.m. Chili and BBQ Cookoff at Third Avenue and Commerce.
9 a.m. Derrick Days Parade with Grand Marshall Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shakers and Scrapers 10th Annual Car Show, corner of North Beaton and Second Avenue; Silent auction and cake challenge 9 a.m. to noon; awards at 2:30 p.m.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Food Pantry Collection
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Marketplace Vendors all along Beaton Street; tickets required for purchase of food and drinks.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pet Adoptions, Beaton Street by Chase Bank.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Summertime Amusements Carnival at Commerce and Collin Streets.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gospel Music Stage on Collin between Main and Beaton; School choirs on Main Stage on Sixth Avenue across from The Palace.
10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Corsicana Oil History Field Tour; bus leaves from Main Street side of Warehouse Living Arts Center
11 a.m. Corsicana Cloggers, in front of Withrow’s Furniture at Beaton and Fourth Avenue.
12 p.m. Horseshoe Tournament at VG’s on Third Avenue.
12 p.m. and 2 p.m. “Corsicana’s Oil History” short film, free admission, Martin’s Music Hall, 201 S. Beaton
1 p.m. Washer Pitch Tournament, at VG’s on Third Avenue.
1:30 p.m. Hall of Fame induction at Pioneer Village in Jester Park.
4 p.m. Chili and BBQ Cookoff Awards, corner of Third Avenue and Commerce St.
Other entertainment events:
At The Remington, The Ranch’s Third Annual Drillers Dance featuring Jamie Richards.
At the Palace, 6:30 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. The Randy Brown Show, $25 ticket includes dinner, drinks and concert.
At Napoli’s, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., After Party with DJ Slicky D.
Bob Belcher may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: email@example.com