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Editorial: What makes the Floresville Opry ‘the place to be’?
About politics and other thingsMay 16, 2012 | 1,427 views | Post a comment
By anyone’s estimation, the Floresville Opry has been a phenomenal success.
Those who have attended all three events are speculating as to its extraordinary success. Is it the venue, the program, the sponsors, or the performers? Just what is it that brings out hundreds of people from all over South Texas in the middle of the week? Is it the wholesome family entertainment at a very reasonable price? Where else can you enjoy two-plus hours of outstanding local talent for a mere $7?
The Opry evokes memories of growing up listening to old-time country music “on grampa’s knee.” Or it might remind younger folks of music their parents used to listen to. It takes them back to a time before the Internet, before global warming threatened our existence, and before the 9-11 attacks on America.
It is an evening when people of all races, religions, and backgrounds put politics aside to come together and enjoy down-home fun, good music, and each other’s company. And so it was with the most recent event on Thursday, May 3.
The entertainment began with a rousing rendition of “El Rancho Grande,” which set the course for the evening. This was followed by country favorites and polkas, including the Czech favorite “Julida,” a bit of Cajun, and even a few waltzes. The Opry, in fact, was not meant to be a dance venue, but the music just draws people to the dance floor while others delight in watching.
The Floresville Opry began, more or less, on a whim. Viola Henke and members of the Wilson County Historical Society wanted to do a fund-raiser. Viola was willing to organize an “opry,” but no one knew if it would work.
This was something new for Wilson County and the Event Center, but Viola and a whole bunch of friends in the historical society wanted to give it a try. Would it even pay the rent, they wondered?
Most of the performers played for travel expenses that first time. The Wilson County News offered to do the advertising and print the programs. Many, many people pitched in to help organize, decorate, and work the ticket sales for the evening. In order to save money, they even cleaned up after the event.
Patricia Fox, who is a Floresville High School graduate and a friend to many in this area, put together some musicians. They called their band “Playin’ to Win” and, indeed, they have been winning fans ever since.
That first Opry in November 2011 drew between 600 and 700 people from all around, so they decided to try a second one. If that one proved as successful, they would know they had a good thing going.
Indeed, the second Opry in February drew another full house, so the Historical Society began planning quarterly events. They are held on Thursdays instead of the weekends to save on rent. They begin early and conclude by 9 o’clock or so in order to allow people to travel safely and be home early.
The most recent Opry drew people from Karnes City, Three Rivers, Houston, and Helotes -- at least those were the ones whom I met. It might be interesting for the next event to have a contest to see who travels the farthest. Word of a good thing travels fast!
The next Opry is going to be a July 4th Opry Spectactular (on Wednesday) and will be followed by free fireworks at the city park.
Pat Fox and “Playin’ to Win” will be back, along with featured guests Wade Benson Landry and Teresa Bowe Landry from Branson, who will bring their “Swingin’ Cajun Style” music to Floresville.
Tickets are available now from the Wilson County News and the Wilson County Historical Society, with a limited number of reserved tables available. This will be a “for sure” event that you don’t want to miss.
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