EARLY —A recently instilled Early tradition will go by a different name following an unveiling ceremony by the Early Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Sept. 13th, 14th, and 15th Early Pioneer Days is now The Early Texas Showcase following Wednesday’s unveiling, which also included the ECVB naming country music singers Roger Creager and Sam Riggs as this year’s headliners.

“The name change, which is going to be The Early Texas Showcase, it’s to showcase Early, Brown County, our sponsors and non-profits that help us put this on and the area in general,” said Denise Hudson, ECVB coordinator.

Hudson added the name change came because of a shift in tone from the original Early Pioneer Days, which invoked the idea of covered wagons and associated old settler activities. Hudson said the original theme was to feature pioneers in areas of science and achievement and shift the theme year each year.

“That never really happened,” Hudson said. “We got into the horse-drawn wagons and that sort of stuff. We are trying to market it and tell people about the event to people outside of this area. When you say ‘Early Pioneer Days’ the first thing that come to their minds is they are coming to an event that is horse-drawn wagons back from the older days. We did that in the first four years of it.”

Considering Early is located about 30 minutes from the geographic center of Texas, Hudson believes The Early Texas Showcase should feature local talents via the Pioneer Man/Woman Competition, South Park Medical Plaza Cook-Off, the Connelly Softball Tournament and the recently announced Mills County State Bank Baseball Tournament, as well as state-wide talents such as country music singers Roger Creager and Sam Riggs.

“This is year six so they will be the fifth and sixth (performers) and are in the top 40 of Spotify’s list of most streamed Texas country artists,” Hudson said. “We try to bring top Texas country artists to the area. It gives everyone a chance to go to concerts … It’s an outdoor concert that’s a fun, family event. It’s a big draw. It makes a difference in if people want to come and spend one night or two nights in Early.”

Hudson said an impact study by the City of Early revealed 2017’s Early Pioneer Days added approximately $200,000 to the local economy. By broadening the theme, showcasing local and state-wide performers as well as contests in which residents and visitors alike can compete, The Early Texas Showcase may attract more visitors this year and those visitors may be the next wave of Early residents and business owners.

“Most of the time, before a company moves its business they visited that city as a tourist,” Hudson said. “… We are the center of Texas. We’re only 39 miles from the geographical center of Texas. We are a hub and people are coming through all of the time. The intersection of (highways) 183, 67, 84 and 377, nearly 28,000 cars a day pass through that intersection. We’re a hub and people are coming through all of the time. We’re a population of 2,700, but we see a lot people in this area.”