Armed only with lawn chairs and guitars for some good old fashioned, down-home, toe-tapping summertime singings outdoors is what a group of friends hope to someday bring to Pauls Valley on a regular basis.
Friends like Bill and Doris Good of Pauls Valley and Betty Archer of Ada are already coming together with plenty of others for casual music gatherings all over neighboring Arkansas and even Branson, Missouri.
After renting the local Wacker Park pavilion over the recent Memorial Day weekend for the same kind of gathering they got the idea this could be an organized thing right in the heart of PV.
“We would like to have it once a month, on a regular basis,” said Archer, who stresses it’s not like the Pauls Valley Opry – something she knows well since she’s been a featured singer at the monthly event held at the PV High School auditorium before the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shut it down.
“This is just music in the park. It wouldn’t cost the city anything. Just bring an instrument, pull up a chair and start playing and singing.
“Lawn chairs can be spread out and it’s outside, so it would be safe even with the pandemic.
“I have a lot of friends here, and I like to come over just to hang out and play songs.”
The group learned from the recent gathering in the local park there appears to be some interest out there even from those not belting out songs.
At that time around 50 or so came for the outdoor gathering to play some music, sing a few songs or just kick back in a lawn chair and listen.
“We rented the pavilion, set up some chairs and just started playing,” Doris Good said.
“People drove up and stopped to listen for a while. People would be jogging in the park and just stop and listen.”
The group of friends coming together on occasion over the past few years actually call themselves the Friends and Family Travel Group.
Maybe 40 or so friends from places like Pauls Valley, Ada and even down in Davis come together for some old fashioned summer gatherings giving them the chance to play, sing or just listen to some country, bluegrass and gospel music.
The group has made a number of trips to places in Arkansas like Mountain View, where these types of gatherings on a much larger scale are held on a regular basis in the summers.
“There are little venues all over the place,” Archer said these places out-of-state.
“Sometimes we come together at a friend’s house and just start playing. It’s something seniors really like to go to. You just show up with instruments and you start playing.
“People like to sing and play and it’s all a lot of fun.”
Now the friends believe this kind of thing can come to Pauls Valley and be organized on a regular basis.
The Goods believe Wacker Park is already set up to host them for the fun part but also as a way to draw in visitors as a tourism event.
“Wacker Park is perfect for this,” Bill Good said. “I think Pauls Valley would be ideal for something like this.
“We thought it would be better for the town if we got the community to support it. We’re hoping to generate some support for this.”
His wife Doris agrees this kind of thing could be good for local tourism here.
“We could at least have it with other events like the art walks here,” she said.
“They have all the hotels here and good restaurants. We think this would be good bring people into town.”