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A Traditional Combination Of Trains, Music and Singing

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As long as there have been trains, there have been train songs to sing. This type of folk music was created and performed by railroad workers and the communities in which they lived.

David Rainwater, local musician and State Park employee, was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.

The 6th Annual Singing Rails Festival will take place this Saturday, June 6th from 11 AM – 5 PM at Railtown 1897 State Park in Jamestown. This year’s festival will feature a Railroad Music Contest and concerts by the Black Irish Band and the Sierra Mountain Band.

Contestants will compete in two categories – Vocal and Instrumental – and will be judged by a panel of three.  Each contestant will perform two songs, one of which must be train-related. Awards will be announced at 5 p.m. when cash prizes of $100 will be awarded to the top contestant in each category. Other cash prizes are awarded for second and third place.

The contest entry fee is $10 and interested contestants are encouraged to pre-register online at or by calling 209-984-4408.

At 4:45 p.m., interested spectators can compete in a free — and amusing — competition for the best vocally-generated train sound. This is free to participate in and no advance registration required. A special “Boxcar Willie Award” and $50 prize will be presented to the winner based on audience response. The contestant entry fee is $10.

Concerts by the Black Irish Band and the Sierra Mountain Band are free with paid park or train ride admission. The entire family-friendly music festival will take place outdoors on the sprawling Roundhouse lawn starting with the entertaining music contest beginning at 11 a.m.

While refreshments and food will be available for purchase, guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic items.  In addition to the special “Singing Rails” activities, steam train rides are available throughout the day.

The admission fee into Railtown 1897 SHP is $5 for adults, $3 for youths ages 6-17 and free for children five and under.

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 AM.