By: Jessie Williams
Pack up the lawn chairs and bring the entire family out to the 43rd Annual Macon County Hillbilly Days event sponsored by the Lafayette Lions and Lioness Lions Clubs on June 20, 21 and 22 at Key Park.
Beginning on Thursday, June 20, 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 Citizens Bank (main branch) or 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. All first place winners in each category will also be invited to participate in the Best Overall Itty Bitty Hillbilly and Most Itty Bitty Hillbilly Costume categories.
Friday, the gospel concert will take place at 6 p.m. The highly anticipated fish fry will also be sure to draw a crowd starting at 4 p.m. Cost for the fish fry, which includes catfish, slaw, fries, Ms. Ercie’s famous hushpuppies and a drink, will be $10 per adult and $6 for children 12 and under. Fried pies will also be available for purchase.
The Cast Iron Cooking Contest is back this year and will kick-off at 1 p.m. in the back pavilion. The three cooking competition categories include an all-in-one main course, desserts and breads. The cost to enter is $5 per category.
Saturday will also 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, beginner fiddle (under 16), harmonica, banjo, Jr. Fiddle (ages 16-50), Sr. Fiddle (51 and up) and the 4th Annual Ped Scruggs Memorial Fiddle Challenge.
The Billy & Joanna Roark Community Service Award and the Mr. & Mrs. Hillbilly contest which will be held around 2:30. This year’s Mr. Hillbilly is Alex Martinez and the 2019 Mrs. Hillbilly is Connie Blackwell. 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 41 and under), followed by the 42 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, beginning fiddle 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, beginning fiddle 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 and beginning fiddle 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 will be provided by George Ridenour.
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.
This year also marks the return of Hillbilly Jail, where you can pay to have someone put in jail and they must pay to be released.
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!”