Bluegrass and bicycles, moonshine and market day, and cowboys and cabernet are the big attractions when Glen Rose kicks off the fall season with a busy schedule of events this weekend.
The old-time sounds of banjos, guitars and lilting voices will intermingle when the first major bluegrass festival in several years comes back to Oakdale Park.
The Paluxy River Bluegrass Festival opens Thursday at 6 p.m with a full program of bluegrass music through Saturday night. Some of the biggest names in bluegrass music will perform, including Mark Phillips and IIIrd Generation Bluegrass Band, The Saltgrass Band, The Blake Brothers, Digger Davis and Tombstone, Frank Ray and Cedar Hill, the Lonesome River Band, Audie Blaylock and Redline and Nothin' Fancy.
The festival is free to the public. On Friday and Saturday the music begins at 1 p.m. and lasts until 9:45 p.m., with acts performing every hour.
While bluegrass fans converge on Oakdale Park, lots of things will be going on downtown as well. The Moonshine Festival and First Saturday Market Day goes on all day on Saturday with specialty vendors, live music and tastings of moonshine from Balcones Distillery in Waco.
One of the biggest social events of the fall, the annual Cowboys & Cabernet gala fundraiser benefiting the Somervell History Foundation, takes place Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Barnard's Mill Art Museum with food, entertainment and dancing. Many items and trips will be auctioned to held the foundation continue its preservation efforts.
The Quicksilver Paluxy Pedal Back Roads Bicycle Ride also rides into town on Saturday. Proceeds from the ride will benefit the non-profit LDL Educational Resources Foundation.
"This is going to be a big coming out for Oakdale Park" since its renovations began, said Billy Huckaby, director of the city's Convention & Visitors Bureau. As many as 1,000 people could attend the festival.
"In its day Oakdale Park was the bluegrass capital of Texas," Huckaby said. "We're going to try to re-establish the bluegrass festival tradition here. We've got a lot of people around here interested in bluegrass."
He added that the decision was made not to charge for the festival this year to draw bluegrass fans back to Oakdale.
"We need to get people here," Huckaby said. "Oakdale had gotten a bad reputation because of the condition of the park. Now they can come and see what's been done.
Two concession stands will be open, but attendees can bring in food and coolers (no alcohol is permitted). Call 897-2321 for more information.
About 700 to 800 riders are expected at this year's Paluxy Pedal.The ride begins at Glen Rose High School and traverses a range of distances — 29, 45, 60 or 80 miles. Rest stops will be available every 10 miles.
Advance registration is $25 for adults and $15 for children under 12. Registration fees on the day of the ride are $30 for adults and $20 for children under 12. Each rider will receive a T-shirt and water.
For more information, call Stumpblaster Bicycles at 898-1010 or e-mail John Heinfeld at email@example.com.