Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lynn, Tucker Lead Ham Jam Music, Barbecue Top 13th Annual Country Festival

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lynn, Tucker Lead Ham Jam Music, Barbecue Top 13th Annual Country Festival

Article excerpt

If you're smelling barbecue pork, country music is filling the air and traffic is backing up in Middleburg, it could only mean one thing -- the Ham Jam is near.

Sure enough, the 13th annual First Coast Ham Jam starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday at the Carter Spencer Farm in Middleburg. It promises to be a top-flight weekend with legendary country queen Loretta Lynn and sultry, foot-stomping Tanya Tucker headlining the entertainment.

"This could be the best yet," said Ronnie Munsey, co-organizer of the event along with Paul Deep. "We got lucky and were able to book Loretta Lynn. I'm sure she's going to draw a big crowd."

Big crowds have become a staple for the Ham Jam and a major concern, since the entrance into the carnival-like grounds is via the narrow, two-lane Carter Spencer Road. This year, with additional help from the Clay County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Highway Patrol and a temporary two-lane exit on Friday and Saturday night, Munsey and Deep hope to minimize the congestion.

The Sheriff's Office has assigned deputies from its South Sector Patrol Division, the Traffic Unit, the Auxiliary Unit, the COPS Unit and the Explorers Post to work at the Ham Jam. And for the first time, the highway patrol has assigned a number of officers to assist with traffic control.

Motorists who are not going to go to the Ham Jam are encouraged to avoid the area, especially Friday and Saturday nights. Those who are going are also asked to consider carpooling to the event.

Lynn has been in show business for 40 years and still keeps up a heavy touring schedule. She recently completed her first album of original music in 12 years, Still Country. Some of her greatest hits include Coal Miner's Daughter, I'm a Honky Tonk Girl and You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man.

Preceding Lynn on stage Friday night will be local sensation Danielle Lauderdale, a 13-year-old prodigy who is the same age as the Ham Jam's other star attraction, Tanya Tucker, was when she recorded her first hit, Delta Dawn. …

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