The Wild West is coming to McKinney on Oct. 11-13 when cowboy celebrities and entertainers arrive at the Spirit of the Cowboy Festival at Chestnut Square Historic Village.
“I go to cowboy festivals all over the country and I’ve always wondered why we don’t have one right here in McKinney,” said Donna Wilmeth, festival organizer. “So I just decided to get on with it and hold one. It’s a great opportunity for the people of McKinney to meet their cowboy heroes.”
Twelve celebrities from the great TV and movie westerns of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s have signed on to attend the event. The following celebrities will be available for pictures, autographs, and Question and Answer sessions:
- Robert Fuller of “Laramie”, “Wagon Train” and “Emergency”
- Alex Cord of “Laramie”, “Airwolf” and “Branded”
- Paul Petersen of “Donna Reed Show”, “Custer”, and “F-Troop”
- Burton Gilliam of “Blazing Saddles”
- James Hampton of “F-Troop”, “Teen Wolf”, and “Teen Wolf 2”
- Ken Farmer of “Silverado”, and “Friday Night Lights”
- Charlie LeSueur, actor, emcee and authority on B Westerns
- James Drury, “The Virginian” himself!
- Robert Clark, “The Virginian”
- Gary Clarke, “The Virginian”
- Don Quine, “The Virginian”
- Anne Lockhart, “Death Valley Days” and various other guest appearances.
The grounds of Chestnut Square Historic Village and the green space north of Chestnut Square, just two short blocks south of downtown McKinney, will be transformed into a variety of cowboy activities including:
- Rides in an authentic restored Butterfield stage coach
- Cowboy meals from the chuck wagon circle up
- A stick horse rodeo for junior cowboys
- Question and Answer sessions with the celebrities in the Chapel at Chestnut Square
- Meet and Greets and book signings with the celebrities at the Bevel Reception House at Chestnut Square.
- Performances by western artists and the Oklahoma Balladeer, Mr. Les Gilliam on the main stage.
- Roping Demonstrations
- Pony rides, bull rides, petting zoo, and a real Texas Longhorn
- Mock gun fights by Texas Gunfighters
- Blacksmithing demonstrations at the Chestnut Square forge
- Dutch oven cooking demonstrations at the Faires House Chestnut Square
- KHYI 95.3, The Range, Live Broadcast
Visitors will enjoy the shaded grounds and the historic buildings of Chestnut Square as a backdrop to the western fun. Historic Downtown McKinney merchants will add to the fun with authentic Texas and cowboy items.
“We jumped at the opportunity to host the Spirit of the Cowboy Festival,” said Cindy Johnson, Chestnut Square Executive Director. “Our mission is to preserve and perpetuate the heritage of Collin County and cowboys are definitely part of our heritage. The cattle drives of the 1860’s through 1890’s went right by McKinney.”
After hosting a VIP fundraiser dinner to honor the many volunteers involved in the event on the grounds of Chestnut Square on Friday night, the gates open for the event on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Festivities continue on Sunday morning with a Cowboy Breakfast at 8:00 a.m. followed by “Cowboy Church” at 10 a.m. The festival activities begin again on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Saturday night is “Dinner with the Stars” at The Pantry Restaurant in downtown McKinney beginning with a meet and mingle at 6:00 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Ticket sales to the Dinner with the Stars event are limited. All tickets are avalable online at the Spirit of the Cowboy website.
“Ticket sales are already up 50% over last year,” said Johnson. “We’ve sold tickets to people from Japan, the UK and over 15 states.”
The Spirit of the Cowboy Facebook page has generated interest around the globe.
“All the cowboy folks are out there posting every day about the event,” said Wilmeth. “There’s a lot of people who are excited about coming to Texas and seeing their favorite cowboys.”
Prices for the Spirit of the Cowboy tickets are:
Adult One Day/Two Day: $15.00/$25.00
Child One Day/Two Day: $ 8.00/$15.00
Children Three and Under:
At the Gate
Adult One Day/Two Day: $
Child One Day/Two Day: $
Children Three and Under:
Stick Horse Rodeo
Entry Fee (includes Stick Horse) $10.00
Dinner with the Stars at The Pantry
Saturday (if available)
VIP Fundraising Dinner Honoring Our Wonderful Volunteers
Story submitted by Cindy Johnson