JEFFERSON — Jefferson’s Opera House Theatre Players nonprofit organization has released its full event schedule for its Pioneer Days weekend coming up on Labor Day weekend.
“Jefferson’s Opera House Theatre Players has put together a three day festival that will, hopefully, bring lots of visitors to the city on the long weekend of Labor Day,” OHTP Director Marcia Thomas said. “Starting with a parade at 10 a.m. the morning of Sept. 4, the parade will be a parade of all pioneer-suited horseback riders to depict the earlier days of old Jefferson, which was founded in the 1840s along the Big Cypress River.”
The organization is still seeking horseback riders, or wagon riders dressed in appropriate period clothing to participate in the parade, which will award prizes to the top most authentic participants. OHTP board member Board member Hollis Shadden is trail boss for the parade entries.
Later that day, the fun will continue with an Old Fashioned Street Dance, located in downtown Jefferson, specifically on Austin Street.
“Everyone is invited to attend the dance that will feature entertainment by ‘Sheila and the Caddo Kats,’ band of nearby Karnack,” Thomas said. “The band will play for boot-scootin’ dancin’ from 6 to 8 p.m. on Austin Street, between Polk Street and Walnut Street. A prize will also be given here for the most authentic ‘cowboy or pioneer’ outfit in the group of dancers.”
The second day of the weekend event, Sunday, Sept. 5, will see guests sampling free offerings from the Dutch Oven Cooks.
“Sunday’s event will be centered on the First Annual Port Jefferson Dutch Oven Cooks, a group that dress in period costume and make tasty Vittles and Grub for hungry visitors that guests can sample at no cost,” Thomas said. “Also scheduled are several entertainers including Johnny RiverRat and Miss Ann Leslie, both singers, who will perform either original songs or songs that recall the past pioneer days of early Jefferson.”
On the same day, square dance groups from East Texas Square and Round Dance Association are set to provide square dancing demonstrations.
Throughout the three day event, shootout recreations will pop off in downtown Jefferson, catching guests unaware, Thomas said.
“A very unusual bit of entertainment will occur at odd times during the three day event when new OHTP board member, Jim Blackburn, and his friends re-create a true-life shootout that once happened in the wagon yard of downtown Jefferson,” she said. “The hombres will be dressed in cowboy gear and armed with authentic-looking guns and will stage the shootout complete with dialogue, at least four times during the weekend event.”
Thomas said the first two days of the Pioneer Days weekend event are free for all to attend.
‘There will be no cost to participate in the parade, the street dance or the Vittles and Grub Dutch Oven meal where samples will be served,” she said. “Individuals may also patronize the many restaurants and shops for drinks and souvenirs, as well as ride the various amusement rides available during their free time. There is also a drive-through safari ride available on the outskirts of town that will be open where exotic animals, including a Texas Longhorn steer.”
The main attraction of the Pioneer Days event will offer the grand finale on Monday, Sept. 6, with a concert by the, “Sons of the Pioneers.”
“The weekend will culminate on Monday with a performance by the famous singing instrumental group, the ‘Sons of the Pioneers’ in the Jefferson Visitors building at 3 p.m.,” Thomas said. “Tickets for the show may be purchased online at $35/per person for VIP tickets (only 20 of those are available and include seats on the first two rows), or general seating tickets are $25 per person.”
Tickets may be purchased now through the event time at The Willow Tree, located at 211 North Polk Street in Jefferson.