What began as an ice cream social hosted by downtown merchants 34 years ago, has turned into one of Wylie’s biggest events.
Now known as Bluegrass on Ballard, the free all-day affair not only includes bluegrass bands, but arts and crafts, chili cook-off, food trucks and a car show as well for attendees.
Between 10,000 and 12,000 attendees are expected to attend the event set for Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., on Ballard Avenue in downtown Wylie and Olde City Park. Free parking will be available in and around the downtown area.
The event will have several vendors opening at 10 a.m. to sell arts, crafts, food and other items.
Along with the vendors, several downtown shops will be open. Musically attuned attendees might want to bring their instruments with them as some shops, such as Landon Winery, will allow open mic performances.
North Texas Equestrian will have pony rides from noon until 2 p.m., and the music portion of the event will be held at a stage set up in Olde City Park.
Carter BloodCare will host a blood drive, complete with a Battle of the Badges competition, where Wylie Fire-Rescue and Wylie Police Department will compete to see which department can recruit the most donors.
The car show, organized by the East Fork Masonic Lodge, is a judged event that will have more than 200 cars on display along Ballard Avenue. Several awards will be presented, including Mayor’s Choice, Best Classic Car, Best Modern Car, Best Truck and Best Motorcycle. The hours for the car show are 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.
American Legion Hale Combest Post 315 will host the chili cook-off portion of the festival. The customers will judge entries, paying $5 for endless bowls of chili until the supply has been exhausted.
Opening the concert is East Mountain, a four-piece gospel band from Longview, which will begin its show at 1 p.m.
Downtown String Band will perform at 2 p.m. The band is known for playing acoustic, bluegrass and swing music “with a few modern twists thrown in.”
Salt Creek takes the stage at 3:15 p.m. Based out of Fort Worth, the band offers a variety of standard bluegrass and contemporary tunes with their original arrangements.
The Brad Davis Trio takes the stage at 4:20 p.m. bringing covers of songs made famous by entertainers such as Robert Palmer, The Eagles, George Jones, Steve Miller, Bob Dylan, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw and others.
Gold Heart goes on at 5:35 p.m. The band consists of the Gold siblings, Tori on mandolin, Jocey on guitar, Shelby playing the fiddle, Kai on banjo and father Trent playing bass. The band performs original music, with Jocey and Shelby writing most of the lyrics.
Alecia Nugent, whose voice has been described as “angelic,” will close out the show with her performance starting at 7 p.m. Nugent is originally from Hickory Grove, LA, but currently calls Nashville home.
Sponsors include the city of Wylie, WDMA, Credit Union of Texas and Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.