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Blountstown Rocked! The return of the “Villagers”

Submitted by Sharon Leonard-McCrone

Saturday night, August 13, 2022, approximately 400 people gathered to welcome The Villagers back to Blountstown after 54 years.  It was a wonderful night of listening to the music we grew up with and visiting with old friends.  The crowd came from Calhoun, Liberty, Gulf, Bay, Washington, Leon and Jackson counties, along with friends from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and others.  The original Villagers, Cliff Ellis, Walt Dover, Andy Murray and Allen Myers were joined by Billy Blackman and Greg Rane.

During the event, the City Council and Mayor Tony Shoemake presented the key to the city and declared Saturday, August 13, 2022, “The Villagers” Day.  

An anonymous donor gave a red and white electric guitar and the Villagers’ autographed it and a poster of the night’s event.  These two items raised over $700 for the cause.

State Representative, Jay Trumbull, presented Saving Downtown Blountstown, Inc. and Main Street Blountstown, Inc. with a generous check for The Commerce Building  project.

The Ramsey family and Cash Saver’s Grocery Store donated an amazing array and amount of food for the early reception.  The food was outstanding and we are very grateful for their support.

The event was held at the old J&N Sports bar on the west side of town.  James Copeland owns this property and generously allowed us to use it.  The new tenant, Johnny Sharpe from Tampa, is opening the bar back up as The Hitching Post very shortly.  He is also planning to open a restaurant in the next few months.  We are very grateful for their generosity.

The Villagers stated that they would like to return to Blountstown next year.  We hope that everyone enjoyed the evening and will come back next time!

Morrell Bailey (95) had his son, Dr. Steve Bailey, drive him from Gainesville to see Cliff Ellis.  Mr. Bailey was Cliff’s high school basketball coach in Chipley.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) asked communities that sustained damages from Hurricane Michael to apply for the Rebuild Florida Hometown Revitalization Program.   Funding was allocated through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery Program by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address unmet disaster recovery needs related to damages from the storm.   

Calhoun County received a grant for $1,250,000.00 to administer, design and rehabilitate a building of historical and commercial significance that was seriously damaged during Hurricane Michael. Usage of the grant funds includes improvements to the existing parking, street lighting, and building facades in the immediate area of downtown Blountstown to enhance safety and attractiveness to increase foot traffic and appeal to area businesses and consumers. 

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