Canton Labor Day Festival has a new concert headliner

Aug. 30—CANTON — A last-minute medical issue will prevent Canton's Labor Day Festival headliner, Sammy Kershaw, from performing Sunday evening.

Instead, well-known country artist Lorrie Morgan was recruited at the last minute to anchor the evening. Ironically, Morgan is Kershaw's ex-wife.

Assistant Town Manager Lisa Stinnett said she learned over the weekend that Kershaw was under strict doctor's orders for complete rest. She flew into action by contacting the town's booking agent, John Hardage with Moore Music Group, who was able to line up Morgan to fill the Sunday slot.

"We've been working with him since 2015, and he knows a lot of people in the business," Stinnett said. "That's all he does is find headliners. He's been a huge asset for us, and without him, we wouldn't have been able to do anything."

While it is unfortunate Kershaw is unable to perform during the town's two-day Labor Day festivities, Stinnett said unforeseen things happen all the time. Luckily, Kershaw is expected to make a full recovery and "sends his sincerest apologies as he was really looking forward to performing for everyone down the road," she said.

Morgan is known for showcasing music with a rainbow of emotions, from the darkest heartache to bright, shiny humor. Her hit songs include "A Picture of Me Without You," "I Guess You Had to Be There," "Except for Monday," and "Something in Red."

Another last minute addition to the event is a mechanical bull for adults — one that will be placed in an area separate from the kids mechanical bull attraction announced earlier.

The event will be jam-packed not just with activities such as a kids zone, air dog stunt show, a car show, live music and games but with plenty of food, farm and craft booths.

"We have 55 vendors and 15 food trucks," Stinnett said. "I don't know that we could fit another thing in."

A last-minute addition is an artist who will be drawing caricatures. That's in addition to the booths selling jams, jellies, woodwork, leather work, jewelry, T-shirts and more.

"We've got a lot of fun things lines up for this year," Stinnett said. "We hope there will be something for everyone."

As a salute to all the former mill workers who lost their jobs with the closure of the town's 115-year-old paper mill, the town has reduced its prices to $5 a day or $8 for a two-day pass purchased in advance.

The landmark weekend event, the Labor Day parade, starts at 10 a.m. Monday, and if past parades are any indication, will last an hour or more. After that, the full retinue of activities that many will have visited the previous day, will be open and ready to entertain.