07/06/10: Blues-lovin' trains return for Sunflower Festival
Press release from the Sunflower River Blues and gospel Festival, July 2, 2010, Panny Mayfield, publicist, email@example.com
Blues-lovin' trains return for Sunflower FestivalCLARKSDALE –Although Honeyboy Edwards was a regular hopping freight trains around Vance - while Muddy Waters paid for his ticket to Chicago inside Clarksdale's passenger depot; and barber Wade Walton left the same station every Sunday to visit his brother in Leland, it's been a while since traffic was bustling on the viaduct above Issaquena and Paul Edwards Avenue.
However, blues –lovin' trains and good times are returning to Clarksdale August 6-8 with Excursion Train roundtrips to Hopson during the 23rd annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival.
Named one of America's Top 10 places to hear authentic music by U.S.A. Weekend, the Sunflower is partnering with Coahoma County's Tourism Commission and train general manager Reggie Howell to sponsor the unique trips with musicians playing for tips, applause, and dancing.
“We are excited to be part of this adventure,” comments Melville Tillis, one of Sunflower's three co-chairmen.
According to Howell, each train can carry up to 80 passengers, and eight weekend round trips (taking 1½ hours) are planned: two on Friday; four Saturday, and two Sunday.
Tickets will be sold on the veranda behind Clarksdale Station. Round trip cost is $10 per adult; $5 per child, and $25 for a family up to six members; One is $8 per adult; $4 child, and $20 family up to six members.
Howell recently treated county supervisors, museum, tourism, and festival officials, and club owners to a sample ride on the elevated tracks overlooking the New World District and Clarksdale Station.
Photos are featured on the Sunflower website: www.sunflowerfest.org
County supervisor Paul Pearson (left) and blues club owner Red Paden (wearing hat) enjoy a view of downtown Clarksdale
Enjoying the ride are (from left) Sunflower Festival co-chairman Melville Tillis (wearing cap); his daughter; county supervisor Chris Overton; North Delta Planning official James Curcio, and Shelley Ritter, Delta Blues Museum director
Overlooking the New World District, Clarksdale's historic train tracks were elevated in case of floods
A covered veranda protects passengers waiting to board the train.
Excursion Train Schedule during the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival - August 6, 7, 8, 2010 – Round trips to Hopson Plantation with blues musicians on board performing for tips