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RISON – The Rison in the Fall festival came back strong for its 30th year Saturday, Oct. 5 in downtown Rison featuring an afternoon of vendors, activities and ended the event with a performance from Tre Twitty and Tayla Lynn giving a salute to their famous grandparents, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.

“We wanted to use our 30th anniversary to relaunch the festival and breathe a new life into it with the help of additional organizers,” said Roy Phillips, long-time mastermind behind the festival.

Phillips enlisted the help of Douglas Boultinghouse to lead the festival with assistance from Rosemary Sinclair.

“We had a lot of ideas we were able to incorporate, and some we’re holding for next year,” Boultinghouse noted. “But for this year, I was excited to bring my friend Tayla (Lynn) down to Rison to perform the show she does with Tre Twitty for the festival. Their stripped-down set gave us a perfect launching pad for rebranding the festival.”

Boultinghouse said he was overwhelmed with the positive feedback from the attendees, but also took notes of some of the technical difficulties experienced.

Due to sound issues and the setting of the sun, the duo’s performance was trimmed by a few songs.

“Our goal for next year is to have a more powerful sound system and lighting,” he said.

The original stage setup planned for the festival Saturday that would have illuminated the performers was lost in transit and did not arrive until after the festival.

“We worked quickly to put together a backup stage and the band and crowd seemed very pleased by the decorative expertise of Rosemary,” Phillips said.

The concert drew one of the largest crowds the festival had seen over a decade. Some attendees traveled across state lines to hear Twitty and Lynn sing.

“I am already contacting performers for next year’s festival to see what’s possible to schedule,” Boultinghouse said.

While a date has not been set for the 2020 festival, there are already plans in place to bring back the pie baking contest, Rison Paws for a Cause dog pageant, horseshoe tournament and baggo competition.

“These events really have potential to grow in the years to come,” Phillips said, “But we do plan to add more to the festival.”

The pie contest was judged by Lynn and her family, giving them a fun memory of their time in Rison.

“Tayla expressed to me how impressed she was by a small town coming together and how much heart and fun was put into the festival,” Boultinghouse said.

The businesses in town also saw a boost in business throughout the day. In addition to the food trucks on site for the festival, several local restaurants offered specials to attract customers. Big Red’s Feed Trough even hosted an after-show concert on the lawn of his truck featuring the Fortunate Sons Plus One.

“To keep Rison in the Fall a free festival and be able to provide quality entertainment, we rely on sponsorships,” Boultinghouse said. “We are also looking into fundraisers so that we can continue to bring performers into town. The more money we have to work with, the bigger the entertainment we can secure.”

This year’s festival was sponsored by FBT Bank and Mortgage, Gateway Bank, International Poultry Breeders, Douglas B Design: Graphic Design and Photography, The Green House Cottages of Southern Hills, Main Street Cafe, Corner Express, Buie Funeral Home, Cleveland County Herald, King and Company Auction Services, Studi’O by Olivia Valentine and the Cleveland County Community Theater.

*originally posted by Cleveland County Herald