The Wilson Family will highlight the entertainment at the 175th celebration of the Old Soldiers and Settlers Reunion in Drakesville July 29-31.

After 175 continuous years of holding the celebration, it seems fitting that the family that has indelibly marked the community as a hub of bluegrass and country music will be the featured entertainment on the last night of the 175th Reunion. They are scheduled to appear on stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 31, in the Drakesville Park.

For over 60 years, the family has been playing music together.

It all began when brothers Bob and Mike Wilson grew up playing bluegrass and country music on the family farm west of Drakesville.

“The two would become lifelong champions of the music they loved and have passed that passion down to their children and grandchildren,” the Souvenir Program of the 175th Reunion says.

The family tradition of music-making is being carried on by Cindie Wilson Deputy, Tabatha Wilson Hood, Marnie Wilson Andrews, Erin Wilson Wagner, Casey Weldon and Brian Wagner. All of them play multiple instruments and sing lead as well as harmony.

“’Growing Up Wilson’ meant that you picked up whatever instrument someone else wasn’t playing at the time and sang whatever part was necessary to round out a close, 3-part harmony,” a family member said. “Being family makes those harmonies tight and clear, which makes their unique sound even better.”

Also in the band is long-time family friend and fiddler, Kirk Brandenberger, who is claimed to be one of the most influential fiddlers in the country today.

The Reunion begins Thursday, July 29, with the queen contest, talent show, and bingo.

Friday will feature games, a pedal tractor pull, team roping, the Reunion Parade, and the presentation of a chair to the oldest soldier present. Bingo and a stage show featuring the Harvest Band with Beth Hunter will round out the entertainment for the day.

Saturday’s events include a youth fishing tournament, kid and adult games, baby contest, tractor pull, frog jump, beard and ponytail/pigtail contest, presentation of chair to oldest settler present, bingo and the Wilson Family Band.