July 25, 2009 8:40:00 PM
Next weekend, Artesia will have another chance to prove its motto, "The small town that does big things."
The fourth annual Artesia Day festival will take place on Main Street in downtown Artesia Friday through Sunday. Admission will be free.
The town of Artesia, whose 2008 population estimate is 473, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, expects to host between 8,000 and 9,000 people over the festival''s three-day span, City Clerk Tresa Sanders said.
"It has become a family reunion for a lot of people that come home -- basically, like a homecoming," Sanders said.
Children will be able to ride a waterslide from noon until 7 p.m. Friday, at which point Emmit Dickerson of the Lowndes County Community Council will mentor them. At about 8, a step show will begin onstage. Afterward, a block party will ensue, and DJ Mailman will play the blues, R&B and other music until midnight.
On Saturday, people may partake in games of bingo and cakewalk beginning at noon. Every 30 minutes, the town will give away a backpack and other school supplies. People may register to win door prizes such as vacuums, electric skillets and reservations for Columbus hotels. A 27" television is the grand prize. Toward the evening, gospel acts including U-Nek Message, Beulah Grove''s Male Choir and Mighty Gospel Warriors will perform. At the same time, a hair show will take place. The festival''s second day will conclude with a nightcap, she said, of performances by Vick Allen of Jackson, Sweet Angel of Memphis and Kenne'' Wayne of Jennings, La.
Last year, Sanders said, rain fell on the festival and, to avoid accidents, Wayne did not perform. "But this year the show will go on, whether rain or shine or snow," she said. Electric wires will be concealed, not exposed, as they were last year, she added.
On Sunday, a double-header of local semi-professional baseball games will go on at around 4 p.m.
"We''re asking anyone to come to celebrate Artesia Day," Sanders said. "Come let the town of Artesia show you their hospitality."
After the Holcim cement plant closed, she said, "Everybody thought Artesia Day would not go on. ... But in spite of losing them, Artesia will have Artesia Day."