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Shown clockwise from left are city manager John Godwin; Rickey Lucas, member of the Red River Valley Fair Board; Rita Haynes, executive director; Steve Tucker, secretary-treasurer of the board; board president Wade White; and Paris Live Open Mic representatives Robbie Gunn and David Millsap. (eParisExtra Photo by Charles Richards)
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Members of the Red River Valley Fair Board this week signed off on renaming the two-block thoroughfare inside the fairgrounds to ‘Gene Watson Boulevard” and discussed the logistics for honoring the acclaimed singer upon his Sept. 25 performance at the Red River Valley Fair.
The Paris City Council on July 9 approved a resolution to that effect. City manager John Godwin told the fair board on Wednesday that the city’s public works department will make new red Gene Watson Boulevard signs to replace the three street signs in place from the south entrances of the fairgrounds to the north entrance.
Watson has long made it a point to be in Paris each year for the annual Red River Valley Fair, where he is the biggest attraction. Watson grew up in the Paris area, and this year is marking his 50th year as a country singer well known nationally.
The two-block-long section of Northwest Sixth Street inside the fairgrounds will officially become Gene Watson Boulevard on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 – the date that Watson is scheduled to entertain during this year’s Red River Valley Fair.
Rita Haynes, executive director of the board, is a longtime friend of Watson, as is Red River Valley Fair Board president Wade White of Sumner, an acclaimed entertainer in his own right, who for years has been the warm-up act for Watson at his Paris performances.
David Millsap of Paris Live Open Mic, who is perhaps Watson’s biggest fan, spent months making the case to city officials for honoring Watson in this way.
Watson’s Sept. 25 performance at the fairgrounds will be interrupted by Millsaps and others coming onto the stage to honor Watson. Millsap will present to Watson his own “Gene Watson Boulevard” sign.
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