Country music star Neal McCoy returned home on Friday to take part in the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of Jacksonville's Historic Tomato Bowl.
A $15 million refurbishment overseen by architectural firm Claycomb Architects and Associates and Jackson Construction was completed in late spring, ensuring the beloved venue would be around for decades to come.
Shortly after the formal ceremony had concluded – and officially kicking off the latest chapter of the stadium that first opened up in 1940 – McCoy, a 1976 graduate of Jacksonville High School, and his band hit the stage erected in the southwest corner of the stadium, much to the delight of the thousands of fans who had assembled at the Tomato Bowl for the free musical performance.
McCoy, clad in an official 2019 Tomato Fest t-shirt and freshly-starched western jeans, thoroughly entertained those in attendance for approximately 75 minutes.
McCoy served up many of his highly-anticipated hit singles, some popular cover tunes – even a traditional gospel song – in addition to sharing his charm and wit with an appreciative crowd, some of whom had lined up for more than three hours before show time to secure seating.
It truly was a night to remember; both for the fans and for McCoy, who at times seemed as though he was having as much fun as the crowd, according to one concert-goer.
The concert was sponsored by the Jacksonville Tourism Bureau, Jacksonville Independent School District, Jacksonville Educational Foundation and Claycomb Architects and Associates.