Fans of verbal artistry will get a double-dose of prose soon in Salado.
Two poetry events have been scheduled for the May 7-8 weekend — the 27th annual Central Texas Poetry and Prose Readings at Tablerock Amphitheater and the first-ever Salado Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering.
Cowboy poetry event
The Cowboy gathering was originally set for May 2020 but was canceled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said event organizer Sharon Douglas.
“The delay turned into a blessing,” Douglas said. “It gave us time to create a better experience.”
Douglas said she and her husband, Bob, came up with the idea of a Salado event after a similar event in Alpine shut down for good.
“We thought this might be a good time to offer a gathering in Salado,” she said. “We ran the idea by fellow Western music lovers Richard Paul Thomas and Linda Griffith. Linda volunteered to create a website and help with publicity, and our daydreams became reality.”
The event gets started at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 6, with an artist’s reception at Salado Museum, 423 Main St. The event — sponsored by the Salado Cultural Arts District — is open to the public. Snacks and coffee will be available, and Bill Lutz of Heritage Country Church will provide entertainment.
A $10 donation will benefit the museum, Douglas said.
The festival will feature two nights of concerts — Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8, at Heritage Country Church, 9929 Lark Trail in Salado. Gates will open at 5:30 both nights and barbecue will be available. Concerts will begin at 7 p.m. and KCEN meteorologist Andy Anderson will host both shows.
Performing will be Don Cadden, Washtub Jerry, Chris Isaacs, Grady Lee, Gary Allegretto, J.C. Penny, Ol’ Jim Cathey, Teresa Burleson, Devon Dawson, Freddy Fuller and Christian Grigsby.
On Saturday, visitors won’t have to wait until evening to be entertained. Live music and poetry readings begin at 9:45 a.m. at Barrow Brewery, Stagecoach Inn and Salado Museum.
Allegretto will be offering harmonica lessons at 1 p.m. at Salado Museum. Tickets are $20 for an hour class and are available at centraltexastickets.com. The fee includes a harmonica.
A Writer’s Rendezvous begins at 2:30 p.m. and will feature many of the weekend’s performers. Entry is a $10 donation to the museum, Douglas said.
The event will conclude with a 10 a.m. Sunday worship at Heritage Country Church, she said.
Tablerock poetry event
Thom the World Poet, an Austin transplant from Australia, will host the 2021 edition of Central Texas Poetry and Prose Readings on May 8 at Tablerock Amphitheater. Admission is $10 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under.
If it rains, the event will be moved to the building behind the theater, according to event organizer Jackie Mills.
“Face masks are recommended and seating will be limited to 400 because of the pandemic,” Mills said.
The event will start at 5 p.m. with refreshments, followed by the first readings of the evening by Salado poet laureate Patsy Stanford Wilson and longtime Poetry sponsors Richard and Linda Egg.
Mills said young poets will take the stage at 6 p.m. following introductions by Darrell Street of the Salado school board and Salado English and poetry teacher Terri Seaton. The youngsters will be reading from their anthology — Salado Beacon.
Beginning a 7 p.m., about 50 poets from as far away as Europe and Canada — and as close as Bell County — will present three-minute readings from the event’s 13th anthology, a book featuring animal tales. The anthology and the Salado Beacon will be available for purchase.
Local presenters will include Sandi Horton of Waco, Thom Woodruff of Austin, Nancy Fierstien of Dripping Springs, Barbara Sorge of Belton and Donna Bowling of Temple.
Thom the World Poet, also known as Thom Woodruff, followed his heart to Central Texas, according to Mills. An Austin school counselor named Wendy toured Australia 30 years ago. She met Thom during her travels, and he “followed her home.” The couple later married.
Woodruff was nominated as Texas Poet Laureate in 2015, and he frequently attends and participates in poetry festivals worldwide, especially in the United States, England and his former home, Australia.
He has been active in many Tablerock productions and has hosted the poetry festival for 10 years.