By Jesse Wolfersberger
The 56th annual Floyd Lions Club Jamboree begins today and this year’s event will rely on the same formula that has made it popular for the past half century: Good food, a little comedy, and talented country musicians.
At 81-years-old, Panny Bigler is the oldest member of the Floyd Lions Club and has been a member of the club since 1950.
“We’ve got a lot of talent (in the community),” he said. “It’s a way of getting them together. It’s entertaining for five to 85-year-olds.”
The event is a weekend of country music held at the old Floyd High School gym.
The jamboree runs from today through Sunday, with the show starting at 7 p.m. today through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. On Friday, the Floyd High School seniors will serve an enchilada dinner before the performance.
Dave Nash, the master of ceremonies, said the ages of the performers is what makes the weekend truly unique.
“We’ve got a 12-year-old fiddle player,” Nash said. “And a 9-year-old that sings like a 35-year-old. You wouldn’t believe the voice that comes out of that body.”
Fred Patterson, the Floyd Lions Club secretary, said watching the younger performers year in and year out is a treat.
“I like to see how the kids improve over the years,” Patterson said. “I enjoy Will Banister. He is a young singer who is improving every year. He does traditional songs and he does a really good job.”
One of the highlights of the event will be the award ceremony for the Floyd citizen of the year, unveiled Saturday night.
“The whole community is wondering who it is going to be,” Bigler said.
Mixed into the country music are some comedians who keep the mood light.
Patterson said, no matter what age they are, spectators will hear something they enjoy.
“Some of it will be what the retired people like,” he said. “Some will be what younger people like, and some will be for more middle aged people.”
This year’s jamboree will be absent one of its most beloved performers, T. J. Floyd, who died this year.
Floyd started performing at the jamboree in the early 70’s and was a constant at the event until health problems kept him away in recent years.
Patterson said Floyd was a big help to the jamboree’s younger musicians.
“He had a genuine enthusiasm for music,” Patterson said. “He always took younger performers under his wing.”
Nash said this year’s jamboree will be dedicated to Floyd.
This is the biggest and most anticipated event the Floyd Lions Club puts on. Proceeds from the jamboree are used by the club for various charitable works.
“When it’s over Sunday night,” Nash said. “I’ll be looking forward to next year’s.”