Special to the Progress

BULLARD -- Bullard’s annual Red, White and Blue Festival is beginning to move forward after music program chair nailed down the headliner for the event - slated for Nov. 10 - late last week.

Todd Fritsch - a name known around East Texas - will be the featured act for the festival’s street dance, according to music chair Mike Alexander.

“Todd’s a really up and coming artist,” Alexander said. “He’ll be a big draw to the festival and to Bullard.”

And Alexander ought to know, his daughter, Lauren, a staple in East Texas County and Western music, will be the act preceding Fritsch.

Fritsch said two years and 200,000 miles might change most men, but neither the time nor the miles have really changed him; he said he’s still the down-to-earth, two-stepping, cattle-ranching cowboy who burst onto the country music scene in 2005.

Alexander said Fritsch “owns” his vocals now, his band has gelled and his stage show is tighter, and he’s writing more of his own material.

His second CD “Sawdust” kicks off with “What’s Wrong With Me.”

The track is punchy and dynamic and Fritsch’s far-ranging vocals meld with the song’s lyrics, making for a great radio record.

Fritsch won’t deny that he hopes this track will boost him to the Billboard chart and place him at the top of the Music Row chart as well.

“It’s one of my goals for 2007,” Fritsch said. “It’s part of the reason we did the video - and it’s cool, with guest stars Roger Clemens and Eddy Raven, so there’s sort of something for everyone.”

Fritsch said he lives in the present but cherishes the past, and he’s vowed to stay true to his roots. The native of tiny Willow Springs has made it clear that he intends to include a traditional “cowboy campfire” song on every CD.

“It’s really what I’m all about,” he said. “I still ride the line, repair fencing, train horses and doctor our cattle, so I can identify with the characters in these old songs.”

His recent hits have taken him to a new level, and he’s now opening shows for the likes of Lee Ann Womack, Trick Pony, Joe Nichols, Cross Canadian Ragweed and others. In 2006, the European Country Music Association honored him in two categories: Male Vocalist of the Year, and Album of the Year; he performed at CMA’s MusicFest; sang the National Anthem at a televised Houston Astros’ game, and toured Europe twice.

In addition to Fritsch, local talent Lauren Alexander and “Nearly There,” as well as area gospel groups will make a great backdrop to the rest of the festival.

“Everything is really coming together well,” said activities and fund-raising chair Teresa Adams-Wilks. “With so much to offer - for parents and children, we hope to see both locals and tourists see what Bullard has to offer.”

The festival is a long-standing tradition - put together by the Bullard Chamber of Commerce.

This is; however, the first year the festival has been moved to November.

Local events kick off at Friday’s football game on Nov. 9 - with a ceremony honoring veterans to be held prior to the Bullard football game. A carnival will also open downtown that day.

But events really gear up on Saturday, Nov. 10, beginning with a parade at 10 a.m.

Entries will line up beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Bullard Middle School parking lot.

There will be trophies for first, second and third place parade entries.

At noon all past and present members of the military who are present will be individually recognized with a token of appreciation from the chamber and a salute from a member of the armed forces.

Throughout the day there will be arts, crafts and other vendors, a car show, myriad children’s activities including a clown, face painters, an obstacle course and pony rides, and a firefighter challenge.

Booths are still available for the event, and a poster contest is under way for both Bullard and Brook Hill elementary children.

For more information or to help sponsor or volunteer for the event, call Adams-Wilks at 903-894-3700.

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