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HerrinFesta Italiana deserves a gold medal for truth in advertising.

Many festivals claim to provide a broad spectrum of activities that will appeal to the masses, only to leave visitors disappointed with poor carnival rides, a couple bands and limited food selections.

Named the Best Festival in Illinois in 2015, this year HerrinFesta continues a strong tradition of providing incredible entertainment diversity at affordable prices, one of the top-three rated carnival companies in the country and a virtual unlimited number of food vendors.

Events associated with the annual celebration range from golf and bocce ball tournaments to a triathlon and grape stomp.

“We truly do offer something for everyone,” says HerrinFesta president Chris Trapani. “From the earliest planning stages, our goal is to host an event that will appeal to all ages and a broad range of musical tastes.

“The variety of entertainment genres has expanded this year. We are really excited about the addition of Faith and Family Night on Memorial Day. We have partnered with the Southern Illinois Worship Center to bring in national Christian touring acts Natalie Grant and Jordan Feliz.”

The major musical portion of Herrinfest kicks off at 6 p.m. May 24 with a concert by Pop Evil, and concludes with the Grant/Feliz show on May 28. In between, there will be performances by country superstar Lee Brice on May 25, the legendary Beach Boys on May 26 and a triple treat of Queensryche, Slaughter and Kix on May 27.

An 11-year-old from Golconda is causing HerrinfFesta to break out of the gate early. The 'Festa is helping sponsor a show featuring internet sensation Mason “Little Hank” Ramsey at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Herrin Civic Center for the SI Opry.

The first official events of HerrinFesta are beauty pageants at the Civic Center at 2 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday.

A complete list of all festivals events, performers and ticket prices can be found on line at

Another new feature for the festival, celebrating its 28 years of existence, is the weather guarantee. If the featured act does not perform, you get your money back. In the past, all ticket sales were final and nonrefundable.

“We wanted to take care of our customers,” Trapani said. “In the past, people would wait until the last minute to buy tickets because they didn't want to lose their money on a rain-out. Now they are protected.”

Trapani said the secret to the success of the event is a loyal group of volunteers and sponsors working in harmony with a partnership involving the city of Herrin, the Herrin Chamber of Commerce and the Herrin Civic Center.

Pop Evil is burning up the concert trail promoting its recently released self-titled fifth studio album, playing six shows in seven days at distance venues in California, Colorado and Nevada before arriving in Herrin.

The new LP contains current hit single “Walking Lions.” Other concert favorites by the group include “Somebody Like You,” “Boss's Daughter,” “100 in a 55” and Michigan Wolverine anthem “In the Big House.”

After being founded by lead singer Leigh Kakaty in 2001, Pop Evil signed with Cherry Hill Publishing and Universal Republic Records in 2009. Other current members of the band are Dave Grahs, rhythm guitar and vocals; Matt DeRito, bass guitar and vocals; Nick Fueling, lead guitar and vocals; and Hayley Cramer, drums.

Brice wrote the 2007 Garth Brooks hit “More Than a Memory” and performed the song with the icon in front of 75,000 fans at the Stagecoach Music Festival in April.

“I'll never forget that night,” Lee states on his offical website. “Standing on stage with my musical hero, singing a song that changed by life as a songwriter and as as artist. There are really no words except 'thank you' Garth.”

His songs have also been recorded by Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw and the Eli Young Band.

In 2007, Brice signed with Curb Records. His four studio albums have contained hits like “I Drive Your Truck,” “Drinking Class” and “I Don't Dance.”

The Beach Boys were inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 1988. Creators of the “California Sound” that was infused with teenage romance, surfing and hot rods, the group's massive hit list includes timeless classics ”Surfin' U.S.A.,” “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Help Me, Rhonda,” “California Girls,” “Good Vibrations,” “Barbara Ann” and “Kokomo.”

The band was formed in 1961 by brothers Carl, Dennis and Brian Wilson, their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. The incredible vocal harmony instantly attracted attention from major record labels and the band signed a seven-year contract with Capitol Records in 1962.

Surviving much turmoil during an amazing career spanning six decades, founding members Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine still tour with the band. Keyboardist Bruce Johnson has “only” been with the band since 1972.

Fans actually get a three-for-one deal on May 27.

Queensryche has recorded 15 studio albums, sold more than 20 million units worldwide and is best known for signature tune “Silent Lucidity.” Slaugher was formed in 1988 and a whopping seven singles were released from debut album “Stick it to Ya.” Hard-rocking Kix is best known for concert anthem “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.”

Grant won the Gospel Music Association's Dove Award four consecutive years, starting in 2006, and has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards. Feliz is known for his unique Christian pop sound that is heavily influenced by elements of soul and folk rock music.

VINCE HOFFARD can be reached at 618-658-9095 or


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