Sings and Strings Festival welcomes all on April 8

Published 12:03 am Saturday, March 17, 2018

GARYVILLE — The sounds of oldies, jazz, blues, country, folk, bluegrass and classic rock will resound once again in April in Historic Garyville when the Garyville Timbermill Museum Association hosts the fifth annual Sings and Strings Festival.

The event is held from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 8 at the museum and surrounding grounds on Museum and Historic Main streets. General admission to the festival is $5. Children under 12 are admitted for free, if accompanied by an adult.

More than 100 musicians are scheduled to participate in the event, which raises money to restore the Garyville Timbermill Museum.

Musicians from throughout Louisiana and Mississippi will be in town to accompany other musicians in performances on the porches of landmarks of the Garyville Historic District. Festivalgoers will be able to see vintage landmarks, including the Timbermill Museum, White’s Pharmacy, the Dr. Ory House, the Navarra Shoppe and Garyville State Bank.

In addition to great music, a chef’s choice cookoff, arts and crafts, and a 5K run will be featured.

The 5K starts at 8 a.m., and the fee is $25. For a registration form, contact Candace McGaff Falgoust at 504-782-5385.

The cook-off runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For a cook-off entry form, send a message to Donna Chauvin Falgoust on Facebook. Cookoff tickets to sample the entry dishes and vote for a People’s Choice award may be purchased at the gate.

People interested in entering an arts/craft booth may contact Tina Guidry at 985-703-1531. And, musicians interested in performing may call Peyton Falgoust at 985-233-0168.

All of the musicians said they are excited to showcase their musical talent while raising money for such a worthy cause – the restoration and reopening of the Garyville Timbermill Museum, a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The old office complex of the Garyville Timbermill Museum, once a booming cypress company, has been closed because of its substandard condition.

In 2014, the Louisiana Secretary of State donated the museum and its surrounding property back to the Garyville Timbermill Museum Association with the hope that the community could restore the building and open the structure for tours and educational exhibits.

Since 2014, a grassroots effort has been underway to preserve the building, said association president Mike Coburn.

The association established non-profit status, and the Sings and Strings Festival, started by Peyton Falgoust of Garyville, was the association’s first fundraiser. Peyton, his uncle Carl Monica, his parents, Armant and Donna, along with several of their relatives and friends, and the Timbermill Museum Board organize the event.

With proceeds from the 2014-2017 festivals, approximately $64,000, as well as support from the community and contributions from local businesses, the association board was able to restore the heating and air to the museum’s Annex Building, obtain insurance, replace the museum roof, lift and repair the front of the building, rebuild the widow walk on the museum roof and restore the “Garyville Timbermill Museum” wording on the front, totaling around $54,000 in improvements thus far.

The association also rented the museum recently to a film company that has been filming a portion of “Tales from the Hood,” produced by Spike Lee.

Falgoust said he and his Uncle Carl began brainstorming ideas for a festival in Garyville after Peyton, who was 12 at the time, attended a smaller music festival jam on the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville in 2008.

“This festival allows us to reveal the hidden treasures of our parish, ranging from not only our musicians but genuine people, food, artists, crafters and history,” Peyton said. “This is a festival like no other where anyone with an instrument can walk up to a stranger and introduce themselves without saying a word, but by playing a song. I believe my family, friends and I started a great thing in a great place and everyone should experience it.”