Hillbilly Days Roller Coaster Weather
It’s time to kick off the spring-summer fair-festival season and what better way than with one of my favs, Hillbilly Days?
Started in 1977, this gathering of Shiners’ and Hillbillies world-wide, truly, has set up shop on Hambly Boulevard in downtown Pikeville for 36 years now. This excerpt from the official HD website tells of part of the rich history; namely,
“Started by Howard "Dirty Ear" Stratton and " Shady" Grady Kinney, two Shriners with the Hillbilly Clan Outhouse No. 2 in Pikeville, The festival is attended by over 100,000 folks and continues to get bigger and better each year. Mr. Stratton says that for about as long as he can remember both he and Mr. Kinney wanted a festival in Pike County. They got the idea for Hillbilly Days in 1976 while going to another festival in Portsmouth, Ohio, and upon returning they started their work. “
The fun is underway this Wednesday night with the carnival rides. Live music begins at City Park in Pikeville at high noon on Thursday with Courthouse Square hosting live entertainment Thursday night through Saturday.
Weather-wise, Thursday will be down right summery with high humidity, hot tropical sun and a gusty breeze. Odds favor a dry day that far south with highs near 87 feeling 90ish due to the large throng of people.
Shirt sleeve warmth will hold on Thursday night for the “official” opening ceremonies and live music.
On Friday the WSAZ Southern Regional team will be heading to town led by Green Thumb himself, John Marra. We will have a tent pitched just off City Park so stop by and say hi and take a chance on winning an umbrella.
Turns out umbrellas will come in handy on Friday as soaking rains are likely morning into early afternoon. By day’s end Friday, the air will have a fall feel to it, so a pullover/sweat shirt will be needed as temperatures fall into the 50s by late afternoon and 40s by late night closing of the park.
Saturday’s fun is highlighted by the Grand Hillbilly Parade, one of the truly unique events you will ever attend. The Shriners will amass in force at the start of the parade which winds its way for a mile down the boulevard. This relatively short parade route packs people in by the thousands with folks gathered 5 and 10 deep from the base of the 99 steps of U-Pike through concessionaire row. They also hang by the "rafters" atop the city in the parking lot.
As a veteran of the parade I can attest to the notion that all parade invitees are accorded “rock star” status.
I will add to this blog as new weather data presents itself, but for now be prepared for a bright but brisk day on Saturday with temperatures in the 50s.