Friday Night Live aims to shine a statewide spotlight on Madisonville in its first event of the 2019 season. The city of Madisonville will host the event in the downtown area from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, and the fun is free.

Entertainment for all ages in the form of live music from local and international entertainers, food and retail vendors, a craft beer garden and an expanded Kids Zone area of inflatables and activities will be some of the featured attractions. And, unlike last year, it appears the weather will cooperate this time around with temps expected to be in the 70s and only a slight chance of rain in the forecast.

The event will feature country stars Tracy Lawrence and Joe Nichols as co-headliners for the main stage, with local band Green River Drifters from Webster County as the opening act. At 7 p.m., Green River Drifters will perform on the main stage while Xtraordinary Gentlemen featuring Alonzo Pennington will perform on the west end stage. Nichols and Lawrence will each play a 75-minute set, with Nichols performing at 7:45 p.m. and Lawrence scheduled at 9:15 p.m.

According to City Public Relations Director Skylar Phaup, officials have been planning this event since early February.

"This year, we really expanded the stage. We also added more entertainment for the youth," Phaup said. "The event has a lot of moving pieces. Our

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overall purpose was to be intentional with each small piece so that we have something for everybody."

Friday Night Live will also have a theme, which is a new aspect of the event that has started this year, according to Phaup. Since the event falls on Flag Day, the city will honor its veteran community with a Hometown Heroes ceremony at 6 p.m.

"We feel like veterans are such an important part of our community, so we wanted to give back to them and incorporate their sacrifices into our event," Phaup said.

According to Phaup, the city is expecting 3,000 to 6,000 attendees -- and many of those being outsiders.

"I know people that drive five to seven hours to attend this event," Phaup said. "Our main goal is to bring in those people from out of town so they can enjoy local entertainment and the Madisonville experience."

According to Phaup, Friday Night Live is an opportunity to increase sales for local Madisonville businesses. In conjunction with Friday Night Live, Ferrell's Restaurant will reopen Friday to since its closure after a September 2018 fire.

Phaup said the event also hopes to bring the Madisonville community together.

"This is a really good way for Madisonville to shine in this area," Phaup said. "But it's also a way to continue to show citizens how much we care about this city. We put our whole hearts into making something that they can enjoy with their families."

Other events planned for the summer include performances by the Charlie Daniels Band, For King and Country and Grand Funk Railroad.

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