What to Expect For Hillbilly Days 2020

Hillbilly Days is one of Kentucky’s most popular and well attended festivals, hosting over 100,000 visitors over the course of 3 days in April. This year’s Hillbilly Days festival will feature all of the goofy characters, food and treat vendors, live concerts and carnival rides that has made the event such a hit with visitors over the past 44 years. However, this year, Hillbilly Days will be offering a lot of new attractions as well. Let’s take a look.

Dino Roar! Tour

The Dino Roar tour brings dinosaurs to life for an exciting, informative, and downright roaring-good time! This educational show teaches kids fun facts about dinosaurs, with interactive dinosaur experiences, as well as a fossil showcase featuring real and replica fossils.

This is a great, family friendly attraction for Hillbilly Days 2020, with shows scheduled for all 3 days of the event. Check out the flyer for showtimes.

Abby the Spoon Lady & the Tater Boys

Youtube sensation Abby the Spoon Lady will be performing alongside the Tater Boys at the Appalachian Center for the Arts, Thursday, April 16 @ 7:00 p.m. Known for her unique and amazing talents as a percussionist (playing spoons), her brand of folk/bluegrass captured the ears and hearts of millions on youtube. This very special performance compliments Hillbilly Days perfectly, as Hillbilly Days features a host of bluegrass, gospel and folk musicians each year on the Pikeville City Park Stage. Taking place at the Appalachian Center for the Arts, this will be an intimate stage performance in the heart of Hillbilly Days on Second Street in Downtown Pikeville. Check out the Appalachian Center for the Arts website for ticket information.

Hillbilly Days Arm Wrestling Tournament

Presented by Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery, this will be the second year that Hillbilly Days will feature an Arm Wrestling Tournament. Festival organizers wanted to add more unique and interesting events to the festival, experiences that visitors can engage in. This event will feature three classes of competition, from Pros to Amateurs, and a Ladies division. World Arm Wrestling Champion Travis Bagent will be returning as well, making this a truly unique event to attend, even if you decide not to compete. This event will be located under the Big Top Tourism Tent on 101 Division Street. Click here to download the flyer.

Nick Jamerson & Friends

Eastern Kentucky native Nick Jamerson and his friends will be performing their blend of americana country at the Appalachian Center for the Arts Friday, April 17, 2020. Jamerson is known for his stint as one half of the popular duo Sundy Best, whose 2014 album Bring Up the Sun reached #11 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart. Showcasing his unique voice and instrumental prowess, you will love his flavor of true-to-life music that harkens back to the legendary sounds that made country a staple in American music.

Hank Williams Jr.

Hank Williams Jr. and Hillbilly Days were made for each other. The legendary Hank Williams Jr. will be headlining for the Appalachian Wireless Arena’s Hillbilly Days concert for 2020, Saturday April 18. An American country and southern rock legend, Hank Willaims Jr. is known for such hits as “If the South Woulda Won”, “There’s a Tear in my Beer” and “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight”, just to name a few. Ticket prices for this event will be $89.50, $69.50 and $39.50, and can be purchased at the Community Trust Box Office, or online at Ticketmaster.com.

Secure Your Hillbilly Days Lodging

With Hillbilly Days coming soon, you may wish to secure lodging as soon as possible. Pikeville-Pike County has a wide assortment of quality hotel and motels that are conveniently located near the festival. Take a look, and feel free to reach out to the hotels to check on availability.

For More Hillbilly Days Information

To learn more about what Hillbilly Days has to offer, and keep up-to-date on all things hillbilly, visit hillbillydays.com. Hillbilly Days is “The Festival with a Heart”, and serves as a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Lexington, Kentucky. Shriners Hospital of Lexington serves children from all across Kentucky who have skeletal disabilities or injuries such as burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate, and other complex health care needs. Please consider supporting the Shriners Hospital for Children by purchasing a shirt, cap, or button from the hillbillies who will be located on Huffman Avenue during the event.

The App presents: High School Musical 2 Jr.

The Appalachian Center for the Arts presents High School Musical 2 Jr. , July 12 and 13, 2019 in Pikeville, KY.

The gang is back for an action-packed summer extravaganza as Troy, Gabriella and the rest of the Wildcats finish junior year and blast onto the summer scene in Disney’s High School Musical 2 JR. Based on Disney Channel’s blockbuster TV movie, Disney’s High School Musical 2 JR. can be performed as a follow-up to Disney’s High School Musical JR. or as an introduction to everyone’s favorite Wildcats.

At the Lava Springs Country Club, popular girl, Sharpay, reigns supreme while the Wildcats get to work — literally! Featuring every ounce of the light-hearted fun that made High School Musical a household name, this buoyant sequel follows our East High favorites as they face the realities of the adult world and begin to grow up. Friendships are tested, summer romances go haywire and the meaning of success is redefined.

Rockin’ songs, action-packed dance numbers and ample opportunities to highlight a strong ensemble make this an ideal show for young actors. Jump into the pool with the Wildcats as you swim along with this crowd-pleasing, fun-filled charmer!

Click here to view full synopsis.

Age 9-13

8 Must-Dos for First-Time Visitors | Pikeville-Pike County Kentucky

Pikeville-Pike County, Kentucky is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination for not only those interested in Hatfield and McCoy Feud lore, but also those who enjoy authentic country experiences, and outdoor adventure. Over the past few years, tourist spending has been at an all time high in Pike County, with travelers who are looking for alternatives to better known historic and outdoor destinations flocking to our Appalachian mountains. Sometimes it’s more interesting to switch things up, and explore some of America’s lesser-known treasures, and Pikeville-Pike County is stocked full of hidden gems. So what are some must-dos for the first time visitor? Let’s take a look. 

Each day brings a new adventure in Pikeville/Pike County, Kentucky

1) Hatfields & McCoys Historic Feud Tours

How amazing would it be to hold bullets fired in the OK Coral showdown? Bullets fired in the infamous Hatfield New Years attack on the McCoy homeplace are on display for visitors to see, and so much more, in Pikeville-Pike County. Firearms owned by “Devil” Anse Hatfield, as well as many of the significant sites where the Hatfields and McCoys lived, worked, and fought are all open to tourists to explore with the Hatfields & McCoys Historic Feud Tour.  With this self-guided tour, visitors will traverse the mountainous region we call “feud country”, featuring the McCoy Homeplace, the Hog Trial Cabin, Aunt Betty’s House, the Historic Pike County Courthouse (site of the trial of the Hatfields and “Cotton Top” Mounts), feudists graves and so much more, all available during daylight hours. The Big Sandy Heritage Museum features a Hatfield and McCoy exhibit, which contains the world’s most complete collection of Hatfield McCoy artifacts. Want to learn more about the Irish heritage that became Hatfield & McCoy heritage?

2) Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery

Pikeville’s premiere brewery and distillery, Dueling Barrels features a tour that not only explores how moonshine, bourbon and beer is made, but also the rich culture that makes Appalachia so colorful and unique. Tours cost $12 per person and guests over the age of 21 will receive four tasting tokens to use in the tasting bar. With a fully stocked gift shop, this tour has become a staple for the Hatfield McCoy Feud Tour experience. Stay tuned for news on the opening of their highly anticipated taproom, Pearse’s Place.

3) Downtown Shopping & Dining

Also located in Downtown Pikeville is an assortment of charming “mom-and-pop” stores, with clever, high quality gifts, clothing, locally made products and more. Out Historic Downtown shopping district includes popular spots such as Ritchie’s Art and Gift Shoppe, Mickey’s Menagerie, CC Belle (a clothing store) and Dance World, each offering something all their own. Rustic Roots on Second offers locally crafted art, as well as t-shirts, candles and more. If you have a knack for creativity, or simply want to try something new, Rustic Roots also offers art classes.

There are several dining options as well, from Bank 253’s sports bar to Chirico’s authentic Italian, and everything in between. For one of the best burgers in town, look no further than Joyce’s Place. The award-winning Blue Raven is a must try for visitors who want to taste expertly prepared dishes that use local ingredients. Dorsey’s Dairy Bar is a staple for those who fancy the flavors of a classic, down home drive-in restaurant. Their hotdogs are the stuff of legends.

For those of you who enjoy the most important meal of the day, Southern Biscuit and Grill is now open on Second Street as well, offering delicious breakfast, lunch, and a bit of everything else.

4) Outdoor Adventure

Pike County is home to towering Appalachian Mountains with a great variety of hiking, biking, horse and river trails. Hosting over 100 runs a year, Pikeville-Pike County’s outdoor scene is booming. Visitors make it a point to travel into the region from all over to take part in the many 5Ks planned throughout the year, as well as special outdoor events, such as the Southlake Trail Ride at Lick Creek, Hatfield McCoy Powersports Spring 2019 Ride the Ridge, whitewater rafting in Elkhorn City and so much more.

Pikeville City offers something truly special for the outdoor enthusiast. Pikeville’s Zip, Paddle & Saddle features horseback riding on approximately 3 miles of horse trails, kayaking down Pikeville’s lazy Big Sandy River, and Zip across the top of a mountain on 7 lines up to 1000′ long. Visitors can enjoy all of this for one low price.

One cannot mention outdoor adventure without mentioning…

5) Breaks Interstate Park – Elk Viewing, Cultural & Outdoor Activities

With over 4000 acres of breath-taking beauty, wildlife, and 25 miles of trails, the Breaks Interstate Park is one of America’s most breath-taking hidden gems. The Breaks is regionally known as the “Grand Canyon of the South”, and prominently features a 5-mile wide gorge that reaches 1650 feet deep. One of the Breaks most exciting and popular offerings is the Elk Viewing tours, where visitors can potentially see over 100 elk on a vast, scenic preservation. The Breaks even offers lodging and dining options, with cabins, cottages, and a lodge available for reservation.

For a truly memorable experience, visitors are invited to enjoy dinner overlooking the canyon at the Rhododendron Restaurant.  With floor-to-ceiling windows, visitors can dine in a comfortable atmosphere while taking in a breath-taking scene of an Appalachian mountain range. The menu is also amazing, offering a broad selection of delicious dishes.

The Breaks also offers a variety of educational opportunities as well, from a moonshine still demonstration, to a plant and animal life presentation with a segment on coal. The Breaks Interstate Park is truly a must-see destination, worthy of a weekend getaway, or an extended stay.

6) Pike County Cruise-ins

Pike County is a car lover’s paradise. With cruise-ins showcasing classic cars and hotrods being held most every month (during the warm months of the year), gear heads will feel right at home. Pike County is home to several car clubs, full of passionate car enthusiasts with a heart of gold. Many car shows held in our region have their own flavor, and often serve as fundraisers for charities, making this a truly wonderful thing for visitors to become a part of.

7) Pikeville Farmer’s Market

Visitors love to explore local flavor, and nothing gives you a more authentic Pike County flavor than locally grown produce. The Pikeville Farmer’s Market offers more than delicious produce, however. Scheduled for Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., each event also features crafts, demonstrations and free samples. Many of the Pikeville Farmer’s Market events also include unique presentations, such as the Spring Fling Mother’s Day Market, seed swaps and so much more.

8) Live Entertainment

US 23, also known as the Country Music Highway, runs through Pike County, and along it can be found the homeplaces of many of Country’s most prolific stars. Artists such as Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, Tom T. Hall, Billy Ray Cyrus, Patty Loveless and Dwight Yoakam all hail from our region. 

Eastern Kentucky’s talent pool is brimming with new rising stars, which is put on display on various weekends throughout the year, May through October. Main Street Live! is one of Pikeville’s most popular live entertainment options, featuring a variety of artists from an array of genres, from country to rock and roll.

Pike County also features two theatres that showcase award-winning talent; Elkhorn City’s Artist Collaborative Theatre, and Downtown Pikeville’s newly minted Appalachian Center for the Arts. Both theatres offer an assortment of top quality productions throughout the year, from beloved classics to contemporary hits, as well as shows uniquely their own.

Where To Stay in Pikeville/Pike County, KY

When you think of the rustic outdoors of the Appalachian Mountains, you may think of untamed adventure, unique culture and authentic experiences. What you most likely won’t be thinking of is decent lodging. Many of our visitors are surprised to learn that Pikeville-Pike County offers a wide variety of lodging to fit most any budget, which includes many well-known franchises such as the Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and the Holiday Inn Express. Our locally owned hotels and motels also provide a great lodging experience as well. To see a full list of our lodging options, click below.

Hatfield Handgun Surfaces, but is it Legit?

On April 12, 2019, Leslie Rivers paid a visit to the Big Sandy Heritage Center with a very special item from Hatfield-McCoy feud lore, a Deringer-styled handgun that may or may not have been, at one point, owned by “Devil” Anse Hatfield, and his son “Cap” Hatfield. William Keith Hatfield, great-grandson of Devil Anse was also invited to this special event to attempt to authenticate the weapon. Big Sandy Heritage Center curator Everett Johnson and local historian/museum board member Reed Potter was also present, as well as a host of media, to determine if the gun is in fact Hatfield related.

In the video above, provided by PikeTV, William and Leslie give us some history behind the gun and the process of authenticating historical items. Did Devil Anse pass this gun onto Cap, who then gifted it to a close family friend, Dr. Dana Moore? Check out the video above and decide for yourself.

Hatfields and McCoys Feud Tour

Thousands of people from all around the world have visited Pike County, Kentucky to immerse themselves into some of America’s richest historical locales. Pike County is home to most of the significant Hatfield and McCoy feud sites, and as a result of the recent spike in the feud’s popularity, Pikeville/Pike County offers a self-guided tour of these interesting historic locales.

The Hatfield and McCoy Driving Tour is a self-guided tour that includes all historic sites, both in Kentucky and West Virginia, of the feud. Visitors are provided a Hatfield and McCoy Driving Tour brochure for free, which features step-by-step instructions for finding each feud site that is open to the public. An optional Hatfield and McCoy Driving Tour CD is available for purchase below. Both items can be found in our visitors’ center store, located in the Hampton Inn on 831 Hambley Blvd, Pikeville. The audio CD serves as a tour guide for the feud sites, and offers professional voice talent and music, which spices up the already wonderful tour.

Hatfields & McCoys: Remembering “Cotton Top”

Ellison “Cotton Top” Mounts was hanged in Pikeville, Kentucky on February 18, 1890. Cotton Top was one of the last people to be hanged in Pike County, and many believe his hanging was the final incident of the infamous Hatfields & McCoys feud.

In my 8 years as Marketing Director of Pike County Tourism CVB, I have had the privilege of speaking with descendants, historians and feud experts on the lesser known tales of the feud. Some painted Cotton Top as a victim, an innocent boy with a mental condition that prevented him from truly realizing the horror that he caused. Others characterized Cotton as a vicious man, who was a loose cannon, eager to earn his place among his Hatfield kin. Each story was told with such a fever that one would think the storyteller knew Cotton personally.

So, in remembering Cotton Top, I feel it would be best to let a descendant of the Hatfields share his perspective on who Cotton was, and how the family, from his perspective, views this complex character from feud lore. So I reached out to William Keith Hatfield, descendant of Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, who has spent many years tracing his family’s lineage and studying the intricacies of the feud story.

The Site of Cotton Top Mount’s hanging is open to visitors, and features an historic marker detailing the circumstances around Cotton Top’s hanging.

The Real “Cotton Top” Mounts

1. Who was the real Cotton Top, as compared to how he is portrayed in stories and media? Was he a ruthless man? Was he consumed with proving that he belongs as a “true Hatfield”?

He was a man full of pain and the desire to belong. He was never fully accepted by the Hatfields. He was the butt of jokes and rough horseplay. He was rather slow and developmentally challenged. He was not so much ruthless, as he was just unaware. In his desire to belong and to be accepted, he would do bad things for the Hatfields, either at their direction, or, if he thought it would bring him their favor. He never really considered the people he hurt or the pain he might cause others.

2. Are there any elements to the story of Cotton Top that is not widely known?

(Concerning the 1888 New Year’s Night Massacre) Cotton Top was made fun of for the way he tried to disguise his voice as he called out to the McCoy cabin inhabitants. The Hatfield’s laughter was incongruent with the grim business of what they were about to do. Cotton Top was teased about this and mocked by the others using disguised voices long after the raid. Also, Cotton Top was the most easily recognized that night. Alifair knew who he was by his hair right away.

3. How does the Hatfields remember Cotton Top? 

A poor addled boy, a victim of pain and illegitimacy.

4. Was Cotton Top’s execution necessary to end the feud?

No. It did cause the McCoys to urge Randall to give it up. The Hatfield move to Sarah Ann, the pressing problem of caring for Aunt Sally, the lack of funds to continue the bounty hunter incursions, and the lack of enthusiasm from the law in pursuing Ran’ls vendetta, all would have ended it without the hanging.

With so many questions, what if’s and strong opinions, we may never know the full story of Cotton Top. But it is important that we never forget the price of unforgiveness, the ramifications of a vendetta gone too far, and the victims such things leave in its wake. On February 18, 1890, yet another life was claimed by the feud, and it serves as a reminder that anything, left unchecked, can spiral out of control.

William Keith Hatfield

William Keith Hatfield is the pastor of Charity Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he has served for thirty-six years. After he moved Charity from its traditional building into a nine-apartment project, it now ministers to many broken and poor people. William and his wife, Sharon, have six children and thirteen grandchildren.