Jimmy Dean Music and Arts Festival celebrates entertainer’s life and legacy

PLAINVIEW — Jimmy Dean’s 94th birthday is Wednesday, Aug. 10, but the legendary entertainer and businessman from Plainview will be remembered Sept. 16-17, when the annual Jimmy Dean Music and Arts Festival takes place at Wayland Baptist University’s Plainview campus.

And there is no better way to celebrate a country music legend than a concert featuring Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Billy Dean. Although not related to Jimmy, Billy certainly has followed in his footsteps with chart-topping music and crowd-pleasing performances. Billy Dean, who is known for hits like “Billy the Kid” and “Somewhere in My Broken Heart”, is scheduled to open the Jimmy Dean Music and Arts Festival with “An Evening with Billy Dean”, a concert sponsored by Smith Auto Family. Floydada native Jason Nutt and Highway 70 open the show.

Now on sale, advance tickets for the show are $35. However, the number of seats is limited due to the intimate setting of the newly remodeled Harral Memorial Auditorium. Purchase tickets at JimmyDeanMuseum.com.

“While the Jimmy Dean Music and Arts Festival is not held on his birthday, it is a celebration of this hometown entertainer and entrepreneur’s legacy in country music and business,” said Gary Vaughn, who serves as marketing director for the festival. “That’s why we’re taking things up a notch this year with chart-topping musical guests, an indoor venue for the arts and crafts festival and an opportunity to get creative with our newest attraction — Painting with a Twang.”

While “An Evening with Billy Dean” kicks off the two-day festival Sept. 16, things really get going the following day with arts and crafts venders, food trucks, more music and lots of fun for the whole family. Admission is free for most activities taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept.17, inside Laney Activities Center on Wayland’s Plainview campus. Up to 50 arts and craft vendors are expected. Plus, lots of food trucks from across the region will offer delicious cuisine outside the building. The Royal Priesthood, a gospel musical group from Happy Union Baptist Church that was last year’s fan favorite, will be back for an encore performance, and there will be other entertainment too.

Painting with a Twang, the newest Jimmy Dean Music and Arts Festival attraction, takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sept. 17 and is sponsored by High Plains Concrete. Tickets are $15, and seating is limited to 30. While participants sip cool lemonade, one of Jimmy Dean’s favorite beverages, artists from Lubbock-based Painting with a Twist will assist partakers with creating “Hello Fall” art pieces. All supplies are provided, and each participant takes home the 16”x20” completed canvas. Reserve a seat at JimmyDeanMuseum.com.

Noel and Ben Haggard, sons of country music legend Merle Haggard, cap off the festival Sept. 17 with a nostalgic tribute to their father. Merle Haggard, a contemporary of Jimmy Dean, had 38 No. 1 singles during his career. Local artist and businessman Steve Burris and the High Plains Drifters get the music started before the Merle Haggard Tribute.

Advance tickets for the tribute show are $35 and are now on sale. Purchase tickets at JimmyDeanMuseum.com.

“Our celebration will be like the man we remember — bigger than life,” Vaughn said. “There is going to be something for everyone as we celebrate a man from Plainview who was instrumental in helping many musicians get started in the 50s and 60s.”

Opened in 2016, the Jimmy Dean Museum was built on Wayland Baptist University’s Plainview campus with a gift from Donna Dean to continue her husband’s legacy.