SPARTA — The town of Sparta is going all out to celebrate its 175th anniversary.
"There’s only one of these in a lifetime, and we’ve got so much activity planned to make it a success," Sparta Mayor Charles Kelley said. "The other thing of it is bringing people together and making Sparta the place to go for everything."
The Copperhead Music Festival, at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex, headlines a summer slate of events. The music festival, scheduled for June 20-21, features a Joan Jett concert the first day of the festival. Tickets for the festival can be purchased at sparta175.com.
The town will celebrate Independence Day with the 65th annual Lone Star Rodeo. The two-day rodeo will highlight July 4 the Charlie Daniels Band and a fireworks show following the concert.
On the second day of the rodeo, the World Shooting and Recreation Complex will host a Cowboy Shoot.
"They’re going to do some old stage ride ’em, shoot ’em up off of horses kind of thing," Sparta Mayor Charles Kelley said.
The town will also bring to town a carnival for the first time in 20 years. The carnival, featuring Swyear Amusement carnival rides will take place Wednesday through Saturday.
"I think that will be a great thing, bringing people together, bringing people to town and hopefully capturing some of the nostalgia about the past and bringing it to the future," Kelley said.
The town kicked off its celebration March 14 by welcoming Scott Wilson back to town. Wilson played Harvey Obrest in the academy-award winning movie, "In the Heat of the Night," which was filmed mainly in Sparta. Wilson has recently received attention for his role of Hershel Greene in the AMC TV series, "The Walking Dead."
"He was amazed at the outreach and the love they gave him," Kelley said of Wilson’s appearance in Sparta. "He took a picture with everybody and hugged everybody. He didn’t have to do that, but his comments when he called me last week were, ‘Man, I really love Sparta. Can I come back?’"
A May 17 vintage baseball game, a Sept. 6 vintage air show and an Oct. 18 zombie run are also on the 175th anniversary agenda to complement the annual AIM and Grand American shooting championships, scheduled for Aug. 2 to 16.
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