DECATUR – The first weekend of August will turn Decatur into a destination for iconic female performers this year at the 29th annual Decatur Celebration.
Along with announced headliner Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Celebration Producer Lori Sturgill officially unveiled the full range of headliners Friday afternoon at the organization's news conference during the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo at the Decatur Civic Center. Jett is joined by two other female headliners on Sunday, Aug. 3, for the first time in Celebration history.
“It wasn't a conscious decision, but it's something I'm excited about,” said Sturgill after the announcement. “It's like a couple of years ago I booked all the headliners and realized I didn't have a single woman booked, and that wasn't purposeful either. You go and book the best talent available, and this time it was some iconic women.”
The full list of headliners includes Jett, Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artists Salt 'n Pepa, platinum country artist Jo Dee Messina, Christian acts Royal Tailor and Jamie Grace, “American Idol” season two winner Ruben Studdard, Led Zeppelin tribute Led Zepplica and returning R&B performer Space Capone, who was featured at the 2011 Celebration.
Also scheduled to return is the popular, high-energy funk band “Here Come the Mummies,” who Land of Lincoln Credit Union's Chris Phillips referred to as Celebration's “unofficial mascots.” They'll kick off the proceedings with a Thursday night pre-show at the Decatur Civic Center, with tickets going on sale June 2.
Also notable is the inclusion of activities from 4-H and University of Illinois Extension, which will be celebrating its 100 year anniversary with various events on the Central Park Stage, including cooking, gardening and healthy living demonstrations.
Likewise, the Macon County pageants run by former Macon County Fair volunteer Melissa Muirhead will join Celebration and be housed in the civic center arena on Sunday, Aug. 3, with Queen, Junior Miss and Celebration Princesses categories.
Finally, popular activities such as the Heinkel's Hot Dog Eating Competition and the Land of Lincoln Credit Union 21 Film Project will return for the 2014 Celebration. The film festival will host its finalist screenings and awards ceremony Aug. 1, whereas the hot dog competition will be Aug. 2.