Every year, thousands of East Texans descend upon Longview for various forms of entertainment and nightlife throughout the summer, which is not a lot of other East Texas cities can boast.
“Any given weekend, there is always a lot of activities going on,” said Shawn Hara, Longview spokesperson. “There are so many groups in town that do special events, in addition to ongoing activities from our arts and culture groups. ”
Hara highlighted several events taking place inside the city, including the 41st annual Great Texas Balloon Race, the City's Fourth of July Weekend celebration and the biannual Downtown Live music series – the latter now featuring the Big Pines Blues Festival Junior Showcase.
“The (Big Pines Blues Festival) is not happening this year,” said Cynthia Hellen, a board member for the seemingly-defunct music festival.
She said the popular Junior Showcase, which has featured Mississippi blues prodigy Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Bastrop's popular The Peterson Brothers quartet and Kilgore's darling blues rocker Ally Venable, will take place May 26 during Downtown Live along with a yet-to-be-announced performer.
This year's spring iteration of the 100 Acres of Heritage music festival will last eight consecutive Friday nights – with a “Downtown Live Double Shot” the final Saturday.
No exception to the summer, Longview's Fourth of July Fireworks and Freedom Celebration is taking place without a hitch July 4 at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Compelx, and will feature musical acts Sammy Kershaw and Ray Johnston Band among other entertainment.
The holiday celebration is also hosting amusement rides, food and beverages, an assortment of vendors, a Patriotic Pup Fashion Show and a Tutus and Troops Children's Style Show, along with a petting zoo, weenie dog races and other activities.
An area known for its many things to do, the City of Longview also features another staple: the Great Texas Balloon Race, which takes place July 27-28 at LeTourneau University's College of Aviation and Aeronautical Science.
“We're actually having some special shapes that we've never had before,” said Rhonda Bullard, member of Great Texas Balloon Race's board of directors. “We have five special shapes that have not been flown yet, not including Darth Vader and Yoda.”
Keeping up with tradition, the balloon race will also host musical guests each night of the competition. The Eagles tribune band 7 Bridges performs July 27, while pop country singer David Nail closes things out the following day.
Nail is most known for his Billboard U.S. Country chart-topping 2009 single “Let It Rain,” featuring Sarah Buxton, as well as 2013's “Whatever She's Got.”
And to think, this is just a tip-toe into all the musical festivities coming to Longview in 2018.
*Event: Downtown Live Junior Showcase
*When: May 26
*Where: 100 Acres of Heritage, Downtown Longview
*Music Lineup: TBA
*Other Activities: Food trucks, vendors
*Event: Fourth of July Fireworks and Freedom Celebration
*When: July 4
*Where: Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Complex
*Music Lineup: Sammy Kershaw, Ray Johnston Band
*Other Activities: Fireworks, food trucks, vendors
*Event: Great Texas Balloon Race
*When: June 27-28
*Where: East Texas Regional Airport
*Music Lineup: David Nail, 7 Bridges
*Other Activities: Balloon race, food trucks, vendors