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Laine to headline 10th annual Caledonia Days festival


Caledonia Mayor Bill Lawrence

Caledonia Mayor Bill Lawrence



William Browning



The 10th annual Caledonia Days is a little more than two months away and organizers say plans for the two-day fall festival are falling into place. 


Plans for the event were announced during Tuesday's meeting of the board of aldermen. 


Skylar Laine, a former American Idol finalist, will headline the festival's kickoff concert on Friday, Oct. 18. 


The concert will take place at Ola J. Pickett Park. It will begin at 7 p.m. with Vernon, Ala.,-based band Win Wheel opening the show and Laine going on at 8:30 p.m. 


"This is our 10th annual festival, so this is going to be a special one," Tami McCool, a Caledonia Days committee member, told the aldermen. 


Laine is a former Mississippi resident who now lives in Nashville. She reached the finals of American Idol's 11th season in 2012 and recently released her first album. 


McCool said the event will appeal to a broad range of ages. 


During the opening night's music performances there will be a children's area with rides, games and concession. After Laine's performance a firework show will be held at 9:45 p.m. 


On Saturday, Oct. 19, things will begin at 8 a.m. The second day includes a 5K run, a dice run, a car and tractor show, a lawnmower race and a pet parade, McCool said.  


Booths for food and craft vendors will be open through the day and local music performers will play on the festival's center stage. 


The Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau is a co-sponsor of the fall festival. 


"Caledonia Days has grown in popularity to become a beloved family tradition for residents throughout the region," said Nancy Carpenter, director of the Columbus-Lowndes CVB. 


In other business, the town is also considering tightening control over Ola J. Pickett Park. 


Park director Allan Glenn said the town needs to consider "taking more control" of the five ball fields at Ola J. Pickett Park. 


"We've got to control it somehow," Glenn told the board. "I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings out there and I want to keep the harmony going, but I think it's come a time, we're going to have to do something." 


The park's five fields, used for baseball, softball and soccer, are equipped with lights and Glenn said people are "coming in after hours...and leaving lights on and not turning them off." 


Glenn said he routinely receives phone calls from citizens who pass by the fields late at night and see that the lights are on and no one is using the fields. 


"What I would propose is letting me put locks on the controls," Glenn said, adding that the lights are "getting up in age." 


Glenn also said there have been incidents of field abuse. He said he recently had to take "two of three" loads of sand into one of the fields to fill in holes left near a home plate. 


Caledonia Head Marshal Ben Kilgore added that he "runs them out of there all the time" late at night. 


Mayor Bill Lawrence floated the idea of putting a 10 p.m. curfew on the park unless it is being used for a special function. 


"It would give us more authority," Lawrence said. "That would help some with what he's talking about." 


Alderman Brenda Willis suggested that Kilgore and Glenn get together and work out what could be placed on signs to be posted at the park, such as 10 p.m. closure and a ban on alcohol. 


As far as tackling the lights issue, Alderman Quinn Parham and Glenn are going to explore putting a timer system on the lights. 


Lawrence said the aldermen plan to discuss the situation over the coming weeks and bring their findings to the aldermen at a future board meeting.


William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.



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