This Hillbilly Days article is from 2014’s event. For Hillbilly Days 2016 information, click here.
Let’s be honest folks, there’s nothing in the world like Pikeville/Pike County Kentucky’s Hillbilly Days. It is a strange combination of gaudy fun, family-friendly atmosphere, music and well, who knows what else? Every year, there’s something at Hillbilly Days that makes you do a double take and say “Did I just see that?” And while it is impossible to say what you will see at Hillbilly Days 2014, we here at Pike County Tourism CVB thought it’d be neat to show you some unusual things that Hillbillies have come to expect.
6) Deep-Fried Foods (That You Wouldn’t Expect to be Fried)
Many may debate whether Honey Buns and Oreos should be deep-fried, but my opinion is, why not? Nothing is tastier than something delicious that has been deep-fried, or chocolate-covered (like bacon). Hillbilly Days’ treats are certainly unique, and out-of-this-world good. With all the things you’ll be seeing and doing during the festival, you may end up burning off some of those extra calories.
In true Hillbilly Days fashion, Coats for Kids usually makes an appearance to raise funds to provide coats for underprivileged children. How do you show your support? By enjoying a delicious, often deep-fried treat. If you’re watching your figure, they accept donations too. One can only hope that this year they have deep-fried moon pies. Other vendors will feature a variety of tempting treats as well, such as classic mainstays like funnel cakes, bloomin’ onions, and of course elephant ears.
5) Hillbillies from Abroad
It is thought that hillbillism (is that a word?) is relegated to the southern states, but this is a misconception. Hillbilly Days brings hillbillies from across the globe to Pikeville for a few days of causing a ruckus for the sake of raising money for the Shriners Hospital for Children. While we’re not sure how all of these Hillbillies are summoned (maybe by carrier pigeons?), we do know that despite all the goofy fun they bring, they are very serious about making sure the disabled children of our region have the best medical care possible.
4) Dancing You Will Not See in the Nightclub
Hillbilly Day’s focus is on having fun for a great cause. That means letting your hair down, and cuttin’ loose. While Appalachian bluegrass is in full force at Hillbilly Days, it is not uncommon to see hillbillies young and old dancing in their own unique way to country music, gospel, rock and even metal. You never know, you may pick up some moves for your next trip to the nightclub? Hillbilly Days is for trend starters and folks who just love having a good time for a great cause.
3) Jalopies that May or May Not Run
Jalopies, also known as “Hillbilly Limousines”, are contraptions that not only confound, but entertain. One could spend hours just reading the goofy license plates, stickers and painted-on decals of these whimsical hillbilly creations. Despite their funny personality, these hillbilly automobiles are works of art that are quite impressive. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a hillbilly jalopy that can travel through time. How else will the hillbillies get ahold of the moonshine of yesteryear?
2) The Possum Queen
The Possum Queen embodies everything Hillbilly Days. She is the life of the show wherever she goes, and her antics will leave you rolling and laughing. She has been a part of Hillbilly Days as long as anyone can remember, and with each year comes new gags and stories that will leave you with stories to tell your friends for years to come. While we are not sure what pageant the Possum Queen competed in (or what the competition looked like), we do know that she is someone who really enhances Hillbilly Days, so be sure to meet her if you see her at the Pikeville City Park.
1) The Festival with a Heart
While Kentucky features many festivals and events that serve as fundraisers for important charities, there’s nothing like Hillbilly Days, which was established with the purpose of raising funds for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Lexington, KY. Each year, approximately 150,000 people travel to Pike County, Kentucky to enjoy Hillbilly Days festivities. As stated before, hillbillies love having a good time, but are passionate for this cause. What many people may not realize, however, is that some of these hillbillies also volunteer to transport the children from Eastern Kentucky to the Lexington hospital. This service is invaluable, as transportation may not be readily available for some families who are in need. Of course these hillbillies are too proud to boast, but it is something that we here at Pike County Tourism CVB, and myself personally, being a former Shriners kid from years past, truly appreciate. So be sure to purchase a button or t-shirt when you pass a hillbilly, and thank them for their work in serving the children of our region.