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Navasota preps for Blues Fest

Navasota preps for Blues Fest

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By MICHELLE CASADY

michelle.casady@theeagle.com

It may not be the birthplace of the famed sound, but this weekend, Navasota will be packed with fans and musicians celebrating the blues.

"I would estimate we'll get about 1,500 visitors each day," said Mary Crawford, who's been the Navasota Blues Fest's executive director for 15 years, but said this year she's serving as more of a consultant while trying to find a new director to take over. "I figured it's time somebody else try and do it, but I haven't found anyone just yet."

The two-day festival celebrates the life and music of blues musician Mance Lipscomb, a Navasota native who died in 1976.

Each year, the festival hands out scholarship money to locals pursuing higher education in Lipscomb's name.

"This year, in addition to the scholarships for the graduates of Navasota High School, we'll be handing out seven continuing-education scholarships. That's the most we've ever had," she said.

The scholarships will be given to students who received a scholarship after high school graduation and are still in school -- one will be given to a Navasota native pursuing her doctorate.

Mayor Bert Miller has been volunteering to help put on the show for at least a decade and said he never had much exposure to the blues prior to the festival.

"Navasota is the blues capitol of Texas now, too, so this is a really big event for us," he said referencing the distinction given to the city by the Texas Legislature in 2005. "Everyone gets excited for it, and we hope lots of folks come out and enjoy it."

The celebration will take place indoors at the Grimes County Expo Center, which Crawford said helps draw a crowd during the summer heat wave.

"We don't want to get much bigger than we are, because we want to have it indoors," she said. "As long as the musicians want to come and play the festival, and there's a good crowd at the Expo, we'll consider it a success."

For more information about the Blues Fest, visit www.navasotabluesfest.org.

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