Come Friday, “five of the finest bluegrass bands in Texas” will be “rosining” up the bow and “picking” on the banjo with the start of the fifth annual Texas Bluegrass Celebration.

And tonight, bluegrass aficionados who want a taste of what’s to come, may want to show up for supper at the Depot Plaza. Beans and cornbread will be cookin’ and for dessert, there’s gonna be a free-for-all jam session.

This year’s celebration features the Batten Family, Bluegrass Solution, Digger Davis & Tombstone, Joe Bass & Double Mountain Boys and the Mears Family.

“It’s exciting,” said Charlotte Parrack, Early Chamber of Commerce member helping organize the event. “I really am expecting a big crowd. I believe this show is starting to really hit its stride.

“I go all over Texas, all year long, to listen to bluegrass bands, and I really think we’ve got five of the best coming to our celebration this year.”

The “fine Texas Bluegrass bands” will perform some 15 hours of music Friday evening through Sunday morning, Parrack said.

The festival originated five years ago as a fund-raising benefit for Brownwood State Park, but has since been taken over by the Early Chamber of Commerce, and some of the proceeds are turned over to the park.

Parrack said this year’s line-up is an “awesome and impressive group of entertainers.

“This is just a wholesome, wonderful family event,” she said. “No one should miss this, it’s truly great.”

The “free beans and cornbread dinner” runs from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m. today at the Depot Plaza, near downtown Brownwood. Jam sessions are to start at 7 p.m., and Parrack said in case of rain, the dinner and jam session will be moved to the Adams Street Community Center.

The Friday festivities are scheduled to get started at 5:30 p.m. at the Brownwood Coliseum, and Bluegrass Solution takes the stage first, followed by Digger Davis & Tombstone, Mears Family, then Joe Bass & Double Mountain Boys and concluding with the Batten Family. Admission for the Friday music is $10.

On Saturday, things get started at about 10 a.m., at the coliseum with a Gibson Flat Pickin’ Contest. For a $25 entry fee, the winner will receive a Gibson banjo that Parrack said she understood would be “top of the line.”

The bluegrass bands take the stage at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, starting with Bluegrass Solution and continuing with the same rotation of the five bands. Supper breaks at 5:15 Saturday, and the music starts again at 6:45 p.m. going on until 9:45. There is a $15 admission charge for the day Saturday.

Sunday activities are planned to start with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at the Depot Plaza, then Digger Davis & Tombstone and the Mears Family will each perform, before a devotional service at 10:22 a.m. Parrack said, unfortunately an alternate location will not be available in case of rain, so the Sunday morning activities will be canceled if it does rain. Each artist will perform sets of 30 to 45 minutes. For information on the bands, and about this year’s celebration, go to ww.texasbluegrasscelebration.com .