By Jessie Williams
Pack up the lawn chairs and bring the entire family out to the 42nd Annual Macon County Hillbilly Days event sponsored by the Lafayette Lions and Lioness Lions Clubs on June 15, 16 and 17 at Key Park.
Beginning on Thursday, June 15th, an opening ceremony will be held at 6 p.m., followed up by the Itty Bitty Hillbilly Beauty Pageant at 6:30 and a cakewalk at 7 p.m. Pageant entry forms can be picked up or dropped off at Whittemore’s Bookkeeping (across from Piggly Wiggly). Girls 0-8 years old and Boys 0-4 years old can enter the pageant, and all are encouraged to dress in their finest “Hillbilly” attire.
Friday, the gospel concert will take place at 6 p.m. featuring the Happy Hearts, Dale Meador and Kinship, Brother Adcock and Joyful Road. The highly anticipated ‘All-You-Can-Eat Fish Fry’ will also be sure to draw a crowd. Cost for the fish fry, which includes catfish, slaw, fries, Ms. Ercie’s famous hushpuppies and a drink, will be $8 per adult and $5 for children 12 and under.
Saturday will be jam-packed with exciting instrumental events for all ages kicking-off at 10 a.m. with a flat top guitar showdown, followed by mandolin, harmonica, banjo, Jr. Fiddle (all ages under 50), Sr. Fiddle (51 and up) and the 6th Annual Ped Scruggs Memorial Fiddle Challenge.
New to this year’s Hillbilly Days lineup is a corn hole tournament set to begin at noon on Saturday. Teams can enter for a fee of $35, and first, second and third place teams will receive trophies.
At 1 p.m., the Fried Pie Contest will be held at the back pavilion, followed by the Billy & Joanna Roark Community Service Award and the Mr. & Mrs. Hillbilly contest which will be held around 2:45. This year’s Mr. Hillbilly is Mark Templeton and the 2017 Mrs. Hillbilly is Savanna Harper. The two will battle it out to see which club raised the most money, with the loser receiving a pie to the face!
Singing and dance competitions will take begin at 3 p.m. with the Buck Dance competition (ages 15 and under), followed by the 16 and up Buck Dance performers at 3:15, and open mic at 3:30 for anyone who would like to perform. Male vocalist performances are set for 4:30 p.m. and female vocalist performances will follow at 5:30 p.m.
First place winners in the music and dance competitions will win $150 in the Jr. Fiddle & Sr. Fiddle categories, $50 in the buck dance and harmonica categories and $100 for all other categories.
Second place winners will win $75 in the Jr. & Sr. Fiddle categories, $25 in the buck dance and harmonica categories and $50 in all other categories.
Third place winners will receive $35 in the Jr. & Sr. Fiddle categories, $15 in the buck dance and harmonica categories and $25 in all other categories.
The entry fee for each category is $5.
The Bluegrass Band Competition, better known as “The Big Show,” will end the 3-day event at 7 p.m. on Saturday, with the first place winner bringing home $700, the second place champ awarded $400 and the third place victor presented $200. A $30 entry fee is required to compete in the bluegrass competition and first and second place bands will perform for 30 minutes each after the competition is completed.
Those planning to compete in any of the competitions are to be registered at least one hour prior to the scheduled time of the category competing in.
Judges for this year’s competitions will be Sandy Bybee, Lisa Gore and Jonah Beasley. Sound and equipment will be provided by Darrell Braswell.
This year’s Big Show will be held in memory of James Arnett, who provided sound and equipment for the event for many years.
Other activities for guests to enjoy throughout the event will be a variety of arts and crafts booths, contests and plenty of games and rides for children.
Those who plan to attend are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and settle in for a day of Bluegrass music, entertainment, food and fun!
“Everyone looks forward to this event each year,” Gann remarked. “It’s a fun, family-friendly event, and it serves a great purpose. We hope to see everyone at this year’s Macon County Hillbilly Days…you won’t want to miss it!”