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Patsy Cline's spirit


Forty-seven years have passed since country singer Patsy Cline died in the crash of a small plane in March 1963 at the height of her career, but she continues to influence events in Winchester, her hometown. Had she lived, she would be 78 years old next week.

Some might accuse the city of exploiting the singer's legend, which includes some wild behavior that did not sit well in some quarters, but we expect that Cline would approve of some upcoming events.

Today a local nonprofit, Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc., will host "The Patsy Cline Birthday Block Party" in the 600 block of South Kent Street, where Cline lived in a modest home from 1948 to 1957. Admission is free, but organizers are accepting donations that will go toward renovating the house, which was Cline's home from her mid-teens into early adulthood.

Saturday's event will celebrate Cline's birthday, Sept. 8, and city Mayor Elizabeth Minor is expected to declare "Patsy Cline Day" in the city.

The event will feature many activities and even a singing contest on the front porch of the home.

Then, one month later, on Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Beach Boys will perform at the Patsy Cline Theatre at Handley High School.

They will be the second big name to perform at the renovated theater, which was dedicated last year with a concert by country singer Willie Nelson, a friend of Cline.

Not only will the legendary surf-rockers light up the theater, they plan to spend a few days in the Winchester area exploring its attractions.

They also plan to stay at the George Washington Hotel, so there may be an onslaught of groupies in the downtown area over that period.

That should be a shot in the arm for the shops and boutiques on the downtown mall.

All of this is a testament to the continuing presence of the powerful spirit of Patsy Cline.


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