Wayland celebrates Jimmy Dean’s Birthday by doing it ‘a little bit better’

PLAINVIEW — Wayland Baptist University celebrates the birthday of legendary entertainer and businessman Jimmy Dean a little bit better every year.

Why? Because Jimmy Dean once said, “Do what you said you are going to do and try to do it a little better than you said you would.”

Born Aug. 10, 1928, Jimmy Dean would be 95 today. He passed away June 13, 2010. However, his legacy remains in Plainview, the city he called home. That legacy includes Jimmy Dean Hall, a sprawling men’s dormitory on the northeast corner of the campus; the Jimmy Dean Museum, which opened next door in 2016; and the Jimmy Dean Music and Arts Festival, which always gets “a little bit better” than we say we will do.

The Jimmy Dean Music and Arts Festival, which takes place Sept. 16, is rooted in Jimmy Dean birthday celebrations held on campus for several years. In 2021, the celebration got “a little bit better” with the creation of the festival, which was moved to September.

“We think Jimmy Dean would be proud of how we do it a little bit better every year,” said Amber McCloud, festival co-chair representing Wayland. “The festival may not be on his birthday anymore, but it the kind of celebration he loved — you know, ‘an ice cream sundae with all the marvelous coverings.’”

Born 25 miles west of his beloved Plainview, Jimmy Dean moved here as a young boy. Although he traveled the world as an entertainer and sausage tycoon, Plainview was still “home”. He first sang in Plainview and in 1969 opened his first sausage plant in the city that he loved and that loved him. Later in life, he gave back to the community by donating an organ to Seth Ward Baptist Church, where he attended as a kid, and by supporting Wayland Baptist University.

The Jimmy Dean Music and Arts Festival is a celebration of our hometown entertainer and entrepreneur’s legacy, which is why Wayland takes things up a notch each year. This year that is being done by offering a “one ticket, two legendary Western swing bands” performance sponsored by Smith Auto Family. Asleep at the Wheel, legendary ambassadors of Western swing music for more than 50 years, will headline the concert. Special guests will be Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys under the direction of Jason Roberts. This is the official Bob Wills’ Texas Playboy band, which is authorized by the Bob Wills estate. General admission seats are $40 and available at JimmyDeanFestival.com.

The Arts and Crafts Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside and around Laney Student Activities Center. This is the first year that there will be vendors inside and outside. The parking lot surrounding Laney Student Activities Center will be lined with food trucks and vendors, and there will be local live music all day.

“The celebration is like the man who is remembered — bigger than life,” said Mike Melcher, festival co-chair representing Wayland. “It’s our way of saying, ‘Happy Birthday Jimmy Dean and doing thing a little bit better.”

Go to JimmyDeanFestival.com to purchase tickets and to secure vendor or food truck space.