Pikeville prepping for Hillbilly Days
It’s April, the dogwoods are in bloom and that signals in the musty and rusty U.S. 23 migration of junky Shriner jalopies from around the country.
Held since 1977 and attracting more than 100,000 people a year, it’s the annual Hillbilly Days Festival that takes place Thursday through Saturday, April 24-26 in downtown Pikeville.
This nationally-known annual event is a fundraiser to benefit the Shriner’s Children's Hospital in Lexington, Ky.
Started by Howard "Dirty Ear" Stratton and " Shady" Grady Kinney, two Shriners with the Hillbilly Clan Outhouse No. 2 in Pikeville, they got the idea for Hillbilly Days in 1976 while going to another festival in Portsmouth, Ohio, and upon returning they started their work.
In 1977, they got all Hillbilly Clans together in one place, Pike County, Kentucky.
The biggest event of the weekend is the always wacky and wonderful parade which starts at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The carnival begins Wednesday kicking off the festivities. There’s a fireworks show Friday at the festival which features everything from a corn hole tournament, quilt show and Hillbilly X Factor talent contest (Thursday and Friday nights), to arts and crafts, food vendors and a continuous stream of live music.
Such well-known regional acts as the all-female bluegrass act, Coal Town Dixie plays at 1 p.m. Saturday on the Music on the Expo Plaza, and at 7:30 p.m. Saturday inside the East Kentucky Expo Center, there’s a double-shot of national acts, as country legend Marty Stuart is joined by Americana favorites, Old Crow Medicine Show.
Go online at www.hillbillydays.com for more info and check out more cool travel ideas and good things to do this weekend in Thursday’s Weekend section of The Herald-Dispatch.