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Remembering Patsy Cline: Annual celebration honoring Winchester native grows

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By Josette Keelor - jkeelor@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- This Saturday, Patsy Cline fans will remember the day she died 48 years ago and celebrate a life that inspired so many in only a short amount of time.

Every year near Cline's birthday in September and near the anniversary of her death in March, her fans gather in remembrance of the singer who hailed from Winchester, making her start on local radio stations. This year, with March 5 falling on a Saturday, the local celebration of her life will be larger than usual, says Tracie Dillon, event coordinator.

"This being the day that she died, we just wanted to do something very special," Dillon says.

"A Crazy Affair ... Remembering Patsy Cline" will take place at the Best Western Lee-Jackson Conference Center Hotel, at 711 Millwood Pike in Winchester from 6:30 to 11 p.m.

In addition to musical acts, food and trivia, the event will include a tribute offering videos of Cline singing "Come On In" and "Always." The movie will also include Elvis singing a song to Cline, Dillon says.

"It's a very moving tribute," she says. "It's just a real tribute to her life. ... This is the first time it's been shown."

All proceeds from the event will benefit Patsy Cline's Historic House at 608 S. Kent St., which Dillon says is due to open as a museum in late spring.

"We're going to do complete replicas of everything that was in the house," she says.

"A Crazy Affair," which will include dancing, an auction and trivia of Cline's life and legacy, also intends to draw friends and family of Cline, notably Chrissy Armel, whose second cousin, the late Bud Armel, sang with Cline.

"I've always sang Patsy stuff," says Armel, lead female singer for the band Crosswinds, which will play at the tribute. "I was raised right around the corner from her mom, where her mom lived."

Armel's father and Bud Armel were first cousins, she says.

"We always called him Uncle Bud."

She and her band mates will perform "Walkin' After Midnight," "Crazy" and "Sweet Dreams," in addition to their own music, Dillon says.

The band Souled Out will also play the event, and Dillon expects friends of Cline's to attend.

The Lee-Jackson will donate a dollar to the museum for every Bud or Bud Light visitors order, as well as for a bourbon mixed drink called Patsified, Dillon says.

Food, too, will make the event something to remember, she says.

"And this meal that is unreal," she says, will be included in the $20 admission ticket and include Swedish meatballs, tuna, ham and two special cakes honoring Cline.

"It's a great idea," Armel says. "So many people in this area don't realize the talent [raised] in this area."

"For someone like her to come from our hometown, from Winchester" is important to remember, she says.

"It's good that they're trying to redo her home to turn it into a museum, because she does deserve that," Armel says.

Singing Cline's music is also important to her.

"It touches my heart when I sing it," she says. "Our band does them whenever we play."

For tickets to "A Crazy Affair ... Remembering Patsy Cline," call 542-1326. For more information, visit the page for Patsy Cline's Historic House on Facebook.

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