Publication: Clewiston News
Printed: Thursday, April 24, 2003

Headlining this year's main entertainment for the 17th Annual Sugar Festival will be Darryl Worley, BlackHawk and Tammy Cochran. The sweet music of red hot country stars will fill the air at this year's festival celebrating the end of the sugarcane harvest.

Clewiston, "America's Sweetest Town," is hosting a full day of fun and free musical entertainment for the entire family at the 17th Annual Sugar Festival to be held Saturday, April 26, 2003. Continuous entertainment, great local food booths, arts and crafts show, and old-fashioned cane grinding are all part of the celebration that marks the end of the annual sugar cane harvest in the farming region south of Lake Okeechobee.

Festival activities run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during this annual spring festival. The Sugar Festival is held in and around Clewiston's picturesque city park. Admission to the festival is free. Plenty of free parking is available.


Darryl Worley, with his patriotic and current chart-busting hit, "Have You Forgotten," will headline a full day of continuous live entertainment on the "Raising Cane" stage. Worley begins playing at 5 p.m. Worley is making history with his patriotic single, a song that refers to the September 11 tragedies that Worley wrote after performing in a USO tour for our troops stationed in Afghanistan. Worley, born and raised in the heart of Hardin County, Tenn, began witnessing life young and living it hard early, he's found a way to distill his experiences into simple songs that reach deep. Music surrounded him from a young age. His mother sang "specials" in church almost every Sunday. Worley's grandfather ran the local nightspot, where he spent many an evening trying out songs. He always loved to perform. Worley's work captures "how it is" without laying on the frills, songs like "The Way Things Are Going," "Feels Like Work," "Sideways," "Good Day To Run" and "Too Many Pockets" recall that country music was once the voice of working people, folks whose sometimes meager circumstances nonetheless allowed them to feel deeply, live fully and get by wit dignity. These are Darryl Worley's people.


BlackHawk, one of the festival's most popular acts, makes a strongly anticipated return appearance at the Sugar Festival, on the main stage at 3:15 pm.

BlackHawk created a name for themselves in 1993 when singer/songwriters Henry Paul, Dave Robbins and Van Stephenson joined forces to form a country trio. Lead vocalist Paul had been a member of country-rock band The Outlaws, and keyboardist Robbins and guitarist Stephenson had penned songs for Poco, Kenny Rogers, Eric Clapton, Dan Seals and Restless Heart. Van Stephenson lost his battle with melanoma on April 9, 2001. The band had been billed as a trio and now had to decide if they were a duo, trio or a band. Randy Threet began singing the third part of the three-part harmony. Now after nine Top 10 singles from five albums BlackHawk is back in the hearts of country music fans.


Country music star Tammy Cochran (1:45 p.m.) Cochran grew up in Austinburg, OH, a small town 40 miles northeast of Cleveland. In a house filled with country music on the stereo and radio. Cochran grew up singing in church, and she was 12 when she performed in a talent contest at a local festival, first-place honors, she won $20 and a barbecued ox roast sandwich.

Influenced by Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich and Ray Price, Cochran sang with two country bands before forming her own group, TC Country. Cochran's band mixed traditional songs with country cover tunes of the day. Along the way they opened shows for several national acts, including Tanya Tucker and Melba Montgomery. In 1991 Cochran's parents took early retirement and moved the family to Nashville to get their daughter closer to the music business. Cochran says; "My parents have always been supportive, but they were very realistic. They said, 'This is a huge chance. You could go there and never get a record deal. We think you're talented enough to do it.' Of course, they gave me the option of either going to college or moving to Nashville. Four more years of school didn't appeal to me at the time."

Once in the Nashville area, Cochran worked several jobs, McDonald's, a Longhorn Steak House, an Olan Mills photography studio and a Service Merchandise store. Cochran paid eight years of serious dues before she got a recording contract with Epic. Cochran took her demo tape to several labels, but Sony executives ultimately decided that they could make room for another female act after all.


Clewiston BPW is geared up and ready for the 17th Annual Sugar Festival Arts and Craft show and it promises to be just as great as always. After all, BPW has been planning and hosting Arts and Crafts Shows in the spring since 1981 and have a few vendors that have participated year after year.

This year there are many new vendors and you will have lots of choices in handmade jewelry, silver, beaded, gold tone, southwest and antique. For those of you that love wood crafts, Al and Gerry Bartlett will be back with their children's rocking chairs, rocking horses etc all in unfinished wood so that you can paint to your liking. Local artist that will be participating in the show include, from Moore Haven, Bette and Charles Walters, with their hand turned wood items, Bryan Reeme who makes Rustic Furniture. From the Clewiston area, Nena Boland, southwest silver jewelry, Ricky Reese, pencil drawings, Leslie Royal, sea shell hair ornaments and wineglass charms, Ester Beavers, oil paintings, Robert Broughton, hand woven baskets, Monica Bianchi and Mary Bueno, glow products and flashing body jewelry, Mario and Loweena Hernandez, airbrushed T-shirts, hats, pen and ink drawings. Griselda Carrazana has porcelain dolls and other collectibles; Michele Pridgeon has a bit of everything as does Glenda McMurdy. Erin Laster makes Silver costume jewelry and hand bags. Another Clewiston favorite Kathy Hall will have her hand painted woods, floral and wreaths. This is just the local, in addition to these there are many vendors from as far north as Georgia and far south as Marathon. There are candles, children's toys, painted gourds, barefoot sandals, bonsai, fragrance oils, leather goods, jams and jellies, windmills, herbal soaps and much more. You don't want to miss a single booth. This will be a good time to do some early shopping for Mothers Day. Don't forget to stop by the BPW booth for one of their mouth-watering hot dogs or hamburgers and cold tea or lemonade and pick up some information about BPW. While you are browsing the booths there will be great entertainment all day long from the Gazebo.


Johanna McIntyre, 14-year-old daughter of Gayle Greer and John McIntyre grew up loving to sing. She will perform at the Gazebo from 12 until 12:30 p.m. Her first performance was at her uncle's wedding when she was eight years old. She has been singing ever since. For the past four years she has sang at the Jr. Miss and Little Miss Pageants. She has performed at the BPW Fall Festival for the past two years. Oct. 2002 at the Fall Festival she opened for The Chase and in 2002 she sang the National Anthem at the Sugar Festival. She has performed at other private functions and at the BPW Woman of the Year Dinner in 2001. Johanna is a member of the high school advanced choir where she sings with nine others. Miss McIntyre loves to write songs and last year at the Fall Festival she performed one that she had written especially for a friend that touched a lot of peoples hearts. She has already found out that it is a lot of hard work and you have to put your heart into singing to get anywhere and she thanks her entire family, her friends Tammy and Danny Hughes, The Chase, and the many others that have encouraged her. Her ambition is to someday be seen on CMT or MTV doing what she loves best, singing.


Hillary Worth is the 18-year-old daughter of Lawrence and Donna Worth. She will perform at the Gazebo from 3 until 3:30 p.m. She is a senior at Clewiston High School and has lived in Clewiston her whole life. Hillary is the CHS tiger mascot, President of the Clewiston chapter of the National Honor Society, and a member of the CHS golf, cross country, and tennis teams. She was voted CHS female athlete of the year in 2002 and was 2nd runner up in the 2003 Miss Hendry County Pageant. Hillary began her singing career as a member of the First Baptist Church children's choir, but did not solo in public until three years ago when she sang in the Sunday church service. Though Hillary started singing Christian music, her passion is country. Hillary has sang at many community events such as the Relay for Life, the Hendry County Fair, and the 2002 Sugar Festival. Hillary plans to attend the University of Florida in the fall, however her true aspirations are to become a country star.


The Chase, a local group who just signed with Level One Records will perform at 11:15-11:45 a.m. and again at 12:20-1:15 p.m. This hot new sensation is guaranteed to give a performance like no other. They will be performing their new hit single "Blinded Me" for the first time, so don't miss the opportunity to see country music's newest stars.


Sugar Festival Bed Races will be sponsored by Habitat for Humanity on Saturday April 26. Organize and register a team of five individuals from your company or organization for just $35. Four people will push and one must ride while holding onto a large stuffed animal or pillow for the entire race. (Rider must weigh no less than 100 lbs.) Beds will be provided. Teams will be given 15 minutes prior to the race to decorate the beds. Audience will vote by donation on the bed that is decorated best. Prizes will be awarded to the winning team and for the best decorated bed! All proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity for Hendry County. For more information call Melanie McGahee at 983-1677. Registration forms available at Clewiston Chamber or Melanie McGahee's Law office.


Wednesday, April 23 - Saturday, April 26. Finals planned for Saturday, but will play on Sunday if needed. All first round matches will begin at 5:30 each night unless participants can play earlier. There will be Men's, Women's and Mixed Doubles with a $20 per team per division with proceeds going to the CHS tennis team. Each team must provide a new can of balls at the start of their match. Trophies and T-shirts will be provided.


The Glory Singers, along with the Crystal River Trio will perform on the Arts and Crafts Gazebo Stage at 11 until 11:45 a.m. and then again from 2-2:45 p.m. The Glory Singers consist of Charles Hoefs, Connie Hoefs, Carol Peadon and Jim Gibbs. Mr. Hoefs brought the force together several years ago. Charles is a native of Florida, Connie originally from Carolina but has been in Florida since 1982. They have two sons, one of them Aaron is the sound technician for Glory Singers. Carol Peaden is well known throughout the Glades having graduated from Pahokee High School in the 60's. Being active in her church is important to Carol. She has four children and is the owner operator of Carol's Hair Barn in Pahokee. Jim Gibbs was born in Kentucky. He later moved to Dayton Ohio where he was a part of a quartet for many years.


The Crystal River Trio will perform twice at the Gazebo the first from 10 until 10:45 and then again from 1-1:45 p.m.

Herschel Goodman, Lead is responsible for booking and scheduling our music ministry. He joined and was president of the Indian River Inspiration Concert Series, founded by Mr. Bob Fallis of Port Malabar, FL, 25 years ago. Realizing he could "carry a tune", Herschel, his wife Patsy and a friend formed H.I.S. Ministries (He Is Salvation). The Christian community has warmly embraced this ministry and has allowed this group to bring the gospel to churches, retirement homes, gospel sings, radio programs, and Yes!, even curbs.

Patsy Goodman, Soprano, born into a Christian family, Patsy's daddy truly sang "bass" and mama sang "tenor". While Patsy sat on her daddy's knee, three sisters would join their parents in song to create a family harmony that would become a tremendous inspiration in her life. Because of her Christian training, Patsy has no doubt that God has blessed her and has had His hand on her through the good and the bad times in her life.

Patsy's desire to serve our Living God is evident in her singing and she has dedicated her life to His ministry through song and testimony.

Dawn Reynolds, Alto, was raised by a wonderful adoptive mother and father. Her father received Christ as Lord and Savior in his mid-forties. At the age of 6, Dawn's family started going to a local church.

New to the Sugar Festival, the Clewiston Middle School Jazz Band will perform at the Clewiston Inn (at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) and Ronald McDonald will be performing at the Youth Center (11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) and Sugar Dolls will perform at 10:30 until 11 a.m. at the Library parking lot as well as the Clewiston Performing Arts Dance/Tumbling Troupe will perform at 9:30 until 10:15 a.m.

One of the most popular events will be the Sweet Taste of Sugar Country Dessert Contest held in the historic Clewiston Inn. The contest begins from 8 until noon.

A youth ranch rodeo is planned for 8:00 p.m. at the Rodeo Grounds. And, for early rising fisherman, the fourth annual Sugar Festival bass tournament will be start at 5:45 a.m. on Sunday, April 27.

Event organizers said they expect several thousand visitors to come to Clewiston for the festival. Clewiston is located on the southwest shore of Lake Okeechobee on U.S. Highway 27. It is accessible from either coast by State Road 80.

For more information, call the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce at (863) 983-7979 or the Sugar Festival Committee at (863) 902-2409.