Residents wanting another way to return to normalcy can find all sorts of fun at Wylie Jubilee Bluegrass on Ballard, the free annual event to be held June 26 in Wylie.
The festival, canceled last year because of the pandemic, offers music, car show, chili cook-off and arts and crafts.
Bluegrass on Ballard will be its 33rd year in 2021. Merchants started the event in downtown Wylie as an ice cream social and a way for merchants to give back to the community, said Jeremy Meier, president of the Downtown Merchants Association. It eventually became a country music festival for a while, and then other activities were added to the event.
“Essentially what we did was we looked at the event and how it benefited the community and found ways to diversify the event and bring more people in,” Meier said. “Different people like different things, so we were able to bring in car show. We were able to bring in a long-term founding sponsor, North Texas Equestrian.”
Meier said organizers expect between 10,000 to 15,000 people at the event. Free parking will be held in and around downtown. Bluegrass on Ballard will be held rain or shine.
North Texas Equestrian brings ponies to the event to do a ride-and-learn involving horses. The music portion of the event will have a stage in Olde City Park and six bands will play. Music starts at 1 p.m.
Bands to play at the event are Downtown String Band, Randy Collier & Grassland, Salt Creek, Bobby Giles & Texas Gales, The Farm Hands and headliner Becky Buller Band.
The car show, a judged event, will be held from 4-9 p.m. on Ballard Avenue – between Oak and Brown streets, with some cars parked on side streets – and arts crafts will be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. A food court will be stationed at Oak and Ballard from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A blood drive – Battle of the Badges, between the Wylie fire and police departments – will be held next to the food court. The chili cook-off will be held in the pavilion in Olde City Park, with people being allowed to vote for their favorite chili.
Bluegrass on Ballard is sponsored by a number of businesses, including top sponsor, Blue Star Plumbing LLC. Other sponsors include Wylie Downtown Merchants Association, City of Wylie, Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, East Fork Masonic Lodge, Wylie American Legion Post 315 and North Texas Equestrian Center.
With the Battle of the Badges, Carter BloodCare operates the blood drive and there will be three buses this year, said Travis Martinez, a firefighter/paramedic who works at Station #2 with the Wylie Fire Department. The blood drive will be from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. The Battle of the Badges dates back to 2007.
“It is just a friendly thing, just kind of playing into the Battle of Badges thing,” said Wylie police Chief Anthony Henderson, said about the blood drive.
Last year’s blood drive was canceled because of the pandemic. The record number donations was 104, set in 2018.
“Anybody can sign up to donate, and you’ll go through a screening process to make sure you’re eligible,” Martinez said. “And then after they donate, they basically vote fire or police and they just have a little piece of paper that goes into a bucket. It’s just kind for fun – PD versus fire.”
Donors will get a T-shirt, and they will be eligible for a water craft jet ski with a trailer in a raffle, with Carter buying the prize to be raffled off. Carter’s goal this year is 160 units.
A couple of days later, on June 28, at Wylie City Hall, Carter will do a blood drive, combining both drives into one.
People can sign up for the blood drive at the fire department’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WylieFireRescue
For the full story, see the June 16 issue or subscribe online.
By Don Munsch • [email protected]