Gene Watson Boulevard
Tuesday 25 September 2012
Legendary country music artist and Houston resident, Gene Watson, was honoured by his hometown of Paris, Texas with the naming of Gene Watson Boulevard, prior to his concert at Red River Valley Fair in Paris, Texas on Tuesday 25 September 2012.
Gene Watson received his street sign with the renaming of the street through the fairgrounds to Gene Watson Boulevard.
On Monday 9 July 2012, Paris City Council (Paris, Texas) meeting was held to discuss items on the agenda, including item No.13, to discuss and act on request to change the name of the portion of 6th Street NE within the fairgrounds to Gene Watson Boulevard. The motion was passed.
Paris City Manager John Godwin & David Millsap, a longtime friend and fan of Gene Watson, following Monday night (9 July 2012) council meeting (photo credit: Robbie Gunn of InParisTexas)
After the meeting, Paris City Manager John Godwin stated that 'we will make a big deal out of this. Gene Watson has been performing at the county fair for numerous years and he deserves it'.
David Millsap, a longtime fan of Gene Watson, said that he was ecstatic, as he will be presenting the actual street sign to Gene Watson at this year's Red River Valley Fair. 'We are proud to be a part of Millsap's endeavour and are looking forward to the upcoming festivities on Tuesday 25 September 2012'.
2012 marked Gene Watson's 50th year in country music.
Gene Watson has always remained a Texas resident, never moving to Nashville.
The street naming ceremony was held at Red River Valley Fair, an annual concert Gene Watson undertakes for his hometown of Paris, Texas.
The Red River Valley Fair was held every year in Paris, Texas; it was loaded with tasty treats, craft booths, numerous carnival games, thrilling rides, and live music.
2012 was a very special celebration. The entire city had been waiting for this moment as the hometown country music legend was honoured with his very own street labeled 'Gene Watson Boulevard'.
Running right through Lamar County Fairgrounds, from East Hickory to Clement Road, three beautiful street signs were placed, carving Gene Watson's name in the history of Red River Valley Fair.
Wade White opened the show with his melodic southern charm. Wade White & The Plain Label Band performed tracks from their gospel album 'Turn Around', along with classic country songs from the catalogues of Johnny Paycheck (Tuesday 31 May 1938 - Wednesday 19 February 2003) ('A-11'), John Conlee ('Miss. Emily's Picture') and George Strait ('A Fire I Can’t Put Out').
After Wade White’s set, it was time for a truly unforgettable moment. David Millsap and Robbie Gunn (InParisTexas), along with Mayor Hashmi, were humbled to present many proclamations, including a crowd pleasing speech from Mayor Hashmi naming Tuesday 25 September 2012 as 'Gene Watson Day' in Paris.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and a glass etched silhouette of Gene Watson from 'Have a Blast' were among the many keepsakes presented. To top it all off, Kevin Elfite of Texas State Senate immortalized Gene Watson by naming Tuesday 25 September 2012 as 'Gene Watson Day' in all of Texas.
With a heartfelt and tear-jerking speech from David Millsap, he expressed the bond that he and his father had derivied from their mutual love of Gene Watson's music. With flashing cameras all around, everyone cheered as the sign was passed to the man with the crystal voice.
Gene Watson thanked everyone involved, and especially David Millsap, for these timeless tributes, and then put on astonishing vocal-driven display of country music melody. Every seat in the arena was spoken for as Gene Watson and his highly acclaimed Farewell Party Band blasted out many of the songs plucked from the fifty albums that Gene Watson has released during the course of his musical journey, including 'Paper Rosie', 'Climb Higher', 'Fourteen Carat Mind' and, a particular favourite of the hometown crowd, 'Change Her Mind', which was released in 1997.
Gene Watson and company ended the night with a farewell to his beloved friends, family and fans as 'Farewell Party' had everyone singing along.
The State of Texas Proclaims 'Gene Watson Day'
Country music legend, Gene Watson, receives 'Gene Watson Boulevard' in hometown of Paris, Texas and his own Gene Watson Day sanctioned by Texas State Senate.
Gene Watson with Robbie Gunn of InParisTexas and David Millsap in Paris, Texas on Tuesday 25 September 2012 (photo credit: Robbie Gunn of InParisTexas)
As a tribute to country music legend, Gene Watson, in honour of his 50 years in the country music business, the state of Texas declared Tuesday 25 September 2012 to be 'Gene Watson Day'. Furthermore, Gene Watson's hometown of Paris, Texas named a street in his honour.
Work begins on 'Gene Watson Boulevard' sign in Paris, Texas on Tuesday 25 September 2012 (photo credit: Robbie Gunn and InParisTexas)
Early on the morning of Tuesday 25 September 2012, workers with the city of Paris placed three signs proclaiming the main thoroughfare of the Red River Valley Fairgrounds as 'Gene Watson Boulevard'.
The street sign was officially given to Gene Watson by Paris Mayor, Dr. AJ Hashmi, at the start of Gene's annual Red River Valley Fair performance. David Millsap, a longtime fan of Gene's, initiated the idea and it was quickly passed by Paris City Council.
Gene Watson in Paris, Texas on Tuesday 25 September 2012
Texas Governor, Rick Perry, sent a proclamation, which read 'The Lone Star State is world-renowned for its wealth of music talent and unique styles of music. Of the many artists who have helped shape Texas country into what it is today, Gene Watson is a favourite among many. As you celebrate The Red River Valley Fair, I commend you for recognizing this important figure in country music history'.
Gene Watson was also lauded by Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, well known radio announcer Keith Bilbrey and others who sent letters of tribute to the humble Texas entertainer.
Gene Watson, known as 'the singer’s singer' and often referred to as one of country music's finest singers, holds six No.1s, 23 Top Ten hits and over 75 charted songs, including his most requested, 'Farewell Party'.
In 2012, Gene Watson released twenty-five newly re-recorded hits, 'Best of the Best: 25 Greatest Hits' (Fourteen Carat Music, 2012) to critical acclaim.
Asked what the day meant to him, Gene Watson replied, 'Growing up on a dirt road on the outskirts of Paris, Texas it never in my wildest dreams occurred to me that, one day, I'd have a street named for me in my own hometown.
I am deeply grateful to the people of Paris, Texas for this great honour. I owe many thanks to David Millsap for initiating the idea and to the entire state of Texas for giving me my own special day'.
Gene Watson at Red River Valley Fair in Paris, Texas on Tuesday 25 September 2012
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Robbie Gunn, Autumn Hill and David Millsap