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Saline County Tourism Board to honor George Harrison visit

 
By Travis DeNeal tdeneal@dailyregister.com
Posted on 6/4/2021, 1:00 AM

SALINE COUNTY -- Beatlemania will return to Saline County this September, at least for a day.

The first U.S. performance by a member of The Beatles, which happened in Eldorado, will be remembered during Town and Country Days on Sept. 17. In a combined effort of Saline County Tourism Board members and the Eldorado T & C Days Committee, a state historical marker will be placed near the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in downtown Eldorado, with a concert to follow.

The marker will call back to September of 1963, when a young George Harrison sat in with local band The Four Vests to play at the VFW Hall.

The story became more well known in 2000, when local author Jim Kirkpatrick wrote "Before He was Fab," a chronicle of Harrison's visit to his sister Louise Harrison Caldwell, who lived in Benton.

In the May 2020 edition of the Smithsonian, author Alan Pell Crawford wrote "The Charming Story of George Harrison's Vacation in Small-Town America," which retold the story.

Saline County Tourism Board members have been working for some time with the Illinois Historical Society to document the occurrence in the form of a state historical marker. The marker will be placed in conjunction with a performance by Beatles tribute band "Liverpool Legends" based in Branson, Missouri.

Liverpool Legends is a group hand-picked by Louise Harrison that has its own theater in Branson. The group tours worldwide, playing tunes by The Beatles and dressing the part. Tourism board members in conjunction with Travis Beasley from the Eldorado T & C Committee, arranged for the band to play in special performance this year.

The band is scheduled to play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17 at a free concert at Town and Country Days.