Finger points way to city's naming

April 12, 2007 at 3:18 AM
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FESTUS, Mo., April 11 (UPI) -- Finger-pointing placed Festus, Mo., on the map and in the lyrics of a country song heard in Chevrolet ads.

It's been 30 years since Bobby Braddock tucked a line about the Missouri town in "(We're Not) The Jet Set" for George Jones and Tammy Wynette and is now part of a national Chevy campaign. But, some folks ask, why Festus?

He needed a town in "Missourah" to complete the rhyme scheme with "Riviera" and found Festus as he thumbed down a listing of Missouri cities in a Rand McNally atlas.

"I loved the sound of it," Braddock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

While many residents of the 10,000-population town near St. Louis may not know about the city's country ties, they are well versed in how Festus became Festus.

Originally called Tanglefoot, a reference to its many taverns and the patrons who frequented them, some people wanted a more dignified name.

Legend has it that a businesswoman opened the Bible to a random page and chose the first proper noun she saw -- Festus.

"That name is its greatest feature," said Brian Henneman, a Festus native and lead singer of the alt-country band Bottle Rockets.

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