The Sons of Hermann Hall in Rowena, fondly known as “The Hall” by locals, has long been a staple of the Agriplex area, offering everything from dances and concerts to teen nights. The Hall is now under the management of Patriots Hill Enterprises, LLC. The general manager of KRUN radio, Jeff Smith, and the Olfen ISD Ag teacher, Mark Pittman, Jr., own Patriots Hill Enterprises and signed on the lease when Nathan Lange decided to pursue other interests.

Smith and Pittman have big plans for The Hall, located at 704 Edward Street, and will be kicking off Maris Gras with a concert and crawfish boil on Saturday, February 29th, at 7 p.m. Pittman said that the plan is to do something different every month, “We are going to have themed night parties each month. We’ll have Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, Tejano nights, Cinco de Mayo, etc. It’s just something that we wanted to do to bring live music into the county. We wanted to pick up where Nathan left off and continue the great things he was doing.”

There is a new band in the county, the Runnels County Outlaws, who will be playing the inaugural concert under the new management. The band is fronted by Aaron Grenwelge and has Chris Holloway on bass, Dwain Balta on lead guitar, Ryan Young on drums and John Rodriguez on rhythm guitar. Also playing that night will be Ballinger High School freshman Korey Cavazos. There is also big named talent booked for upcoming concerts and dances.

Smith said that he and Pittman want to bring the old days of the barn dances back to Runnels County, “It’s an opportunity to grow, to fill a void in the county. We have folks who enjoy live music and there isn’t really much of that here in Runnels County. This is an opportunity to bring live music here and help the live music scene grow here in west Texas. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we just want to bring back that old dancehall spirit. The dancehall days are a niche that we really want to bring back and establish here. It’s like vinyl records and A.M radio that are making comebacks now. We can do the same with the dancehall spirit. It’s going to have the old barn dance and square dance feel, like, sawdust on the floor. That is what we want to bring here.”

They duo are working hard to that end. It’s a week before the Mardi Gras crawfish boil and the Runnels County Outlaws are spending 4 hours on a Sunday rehearsing for the concert. Cavazos is also in there rehearsing her music as well as singing with the band. Pittman’s wife, Lizette, and his son are working to get the rest of The Hall ready for the big night. Bags of Mardi Gras decorations sit on tables as they wait to be hung up around the main room. Smith’s brother, Barrett, is also there lending a hand in quality control and ensuring that the beer is cold.

Some big names have been booked for upcoming gigs, including The Studebakers, who will perform on April 4th from 7 p.m – 11 p.m. with a $10 cover; Jody Nix will perform on April 11th from with a $20 cover; “Nobody Wins” Texas native crooner Radney Foster will be there on June 6th. Smith said that The Hall is looking to book new talent as well as established talent. Anyone interested in playing at The Hall can contact him at 325-276-0994 or Pittman at 361-701-8920.

The Mardi Gras celebration is this Saturday and will begin at 7p.m. and go until midnight. There is a $30 charge for food and cooler fee. If you don’t want to eat, you can pay $10 for the cooler fee.