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Event filled weekend kicks off on Thursday

By Dawn Burleigh

There is plenty do and something for everyone this weekend in Orange.

Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River with the Orange County River Festival starts with a ribbon cutting with the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the City of Orange Boat Ramp. Anglers will launch at 6:45 a.m. that morning.

Four weeks ago, Bassmaster asked if the tournament could return to the original date in April following Texas Governor Greg Abbott ending the mask mandate as the number of active COVID cases decline across the state as the vaccine becomes more available to the citizens.

Competition days will be April 8-11 with daily takeoffs from City of Orange Boat Ramp at 6:45 a.m.

“The funny thing about the Sabine is you can’t gather information like you can other lakes,” Greg Hackney, angler, said. “It’s a great fishery, but it’s not (a common tournament destination) because it lays just south of two of the best fisheries in the country — Toledo Bend and Rayburn. So, it’s not a fishery where you can get a lot of information off the internet.”

Hackney has fished the Sabine on each of the Elites’ three prior visits, he claimed his most recent of six B.A.S.S. titles here in June 2018.

In 2018, Hackney caught his summer fish by throwing a 1/4-ounce black Hack Attack Select ToadBuzz rigged with a black plastic toad (no skirt) and a Strike King Sexy Frog, and by flipping a Strike King Rage Bug.

In that 2018 event, Hackney posted a Day 1 limit of 16-3, which included a 5-14 kicker. (Brock Mosley won the Phoenix Boats Big Bass award with a 6-3.) He’d add three more limits of 11-15, 12-14 and 7-5.

This year, Hackney said he’s looking for similar numbers. Around 14 to 15 pounds a day should be very competitive, while 10 a day will likely earn a Championship Sunday spot.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the much-anticipated Kids Catch and Release Fish Tank Sponsored by Gopher Industrial will be ready for younger anglers from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

School choirs will perform prior to weigh-ins ach day. West Orange Stark High School Choir will perform at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 8. Bridge City High School Choir will perform at 2:45 p.m. on Friday, April 9. Little Cypress Mauriceville Choir will perform at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 10. Orangefield High School Choir will perform at 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, April 11 just prior to the final weigh in for the tournament.

A carnival is open throughout the event opening on Thursday from 1 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday the carnival will be open from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. On Sunday, the carnival will be open until 6 p.m.

Thursday night, Joey Greer will perform at 7 p.m. at the Riverside Pavilion. The concert is free. Geer is local talent from Orange who brings a classic mixture of Southern Rock and 90’s Country with his own twist. His show is sure to stand out as he displays his passion for music.

Bag of Donuts, sponsored by Entergy, will hit the stage at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 9. With a flair for kabuki make-up and extravagant costumes, the four New Orleans natives cover songs in a style they have branded as Superpop: Any song popular from any era. In the great tradition of stunning acts, BOD has to be experienced live to fully feel the impact. The universality of their show stems from the idea that everyone likes to have an escape, a release, according to their official website. The concert is free.

Britt Godwin will give a free concert at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 10. Godwin has over 30 years experience of singing, playing and song writing. By age five, Britt was performing at church and school functions.  He formed his own band, The Concrete Cowboys at age ten.

He is also recognized in other circles as an accomplished jazz and Big Band swing singer and has worked with numerous Big Bands.  Britt now has his own 20-piece big band called Britt Godwin’s Remember When Orchestra.

Following Godwin is Neal McCoy at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, sponsored by Industrial Thermal Services. McCoy has released 15 studio albums on various labels, and has released 34 singles to country radio. In 1993, Neal McCoy broke through with the back-to-back number 1 singles No Doubt About It and Wink from his platinum-certified album No Doubt About It. His commercial success continued into the late 1990s with two more platinum albums and a gold album, as well as six more Top Ten hits.

Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting the 19th Annual Art in the Park and 2nd Annual Orange Riverfront Car Show this weekend as well.

These wonderful events will join forces to provide a day full of fun on Saturday, April 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Art in the Park will be held in its traditional location at Stark Park and the Orange Riverfront Car Show will be held at the Riverfront Boardwalk and Pavilion. These two events will be walking distance from one another to provide entertainment for all ages and interests.

Orange County Master Gardeners will also host its annual Bloomin’ Crazy Plant sale on Saturday, April 10 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Cormier Park, 8235 FM 1442 in Orangefield between the railroad tracks and the Catholic Church. There is a large variety of plants along with several vendors to enhance your gardening experience. Masks will be required to enter the pavilion. Temperatures will be taken prior to entrance. Tickets will be given out on a first come basis and the number of people allowed in at a time will be limited to properly social distance. For more information, email ocmg1990@gmail.com