The Port Arthur News
Around six or seven years ago, Shanna Ferro had a choice to make.
At the urging of her father, she had gathered four songs to turn in to Alton “Boo” Hollier as part of her audition for the Nederland Heritage Festival Annual Country Music Show.
Still, as she drove over the Rainbow Bridge from her home in Bridge City, Ferro wasn’t 100 percent certain she had the guts to do it.
“I was crawfishing, thinking, ‘I’m not going to turn these in — am I crazy?’” Ferro said.
But when she looked up to see the bridge bathed in rays of sunlight, her thoughts turned immediately to her grandfather, who had died two weeks earlier.
“I felt like that was my grandfather pushing me to do it,” Ferro said.
Ferro turned those songs in, and she has been a staple at the festival every year since. And this year, at the 33rd Annual Country Music Show — slated for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Central Middle School, 200 N. 17th St. — she will return as one of the festival’s “regulars.”
“It’s a fun challenge, and it’s an outlet,” Ferro said. “There’s nothing like belting out a song. It’s the best therapy in the world.”
Last year Ferro chose the Dixie Chicks tearjerker “Travelin’ Soldier” for her other grandfather, her mother’s father.
“I barely got through it,” she said. “I was holding back tears.”
This year, Ferro said, she kept it simple with Shania Twain’s “The Woman in Me.”
“I’ll be singing to my husband this weekend,” she said.
Other performers include Kasey Griffin, Brintney Reynolds, Zack Campbell, Baylei McGowan, Jinni Akins, Mike Tobias, Taryn Koncaba, Brittany Alexander, Dylan Balsamo, Mark Griffin, Nick Watts, Haley Hicks, Walter Boyd, Halie Venable, Lisa Welch, Jacob Smith and Payden Packman.
That crowd is a mix of show regulars and first-timers who have always dreamed of taking centerstage, Alton “Boo” Hollier, master of ceremonies, said.
“We try to give everybody a chance,” he said.
And for that, Ferro thanks them.
“They don’t have to do this, but they allow local people like us to have an opportunity like that,” she said. “It’s just great.”
The winners of last year’s “Nederland Idol” competition will perform the national anthem, and crowd favorite Skeeter Jones and the Beer Can Band will be back to headline the show.
“I think it’s going to be a good little show, I really do,” Hollier said.
Advance tickets are available for $4 at the Nederland Heritage Festival office, 1523 Boston Ave., and Ferro’s shop, The Candle Cottage, 203 11th St. Tickets at the door are $5 — the same price that was set when the show began three decades ago.
“We have not raised the price,” Hollier said. “It’s something we do for the community.”