Concerts with bluegrass, gospel and country-rock artists, a large car show and a variety of food vendors will highlight this year’s 34th Annual Old Fashioned Trading Days festival that will kick off Thursday and run through Saturday evening in Williamsburg.
“It is going to be a really good festival. We encourage everyone to come down and enjoy,” said Williamsburg Tourism Director Alvin Sharpe, one of the festival organizers. “We have a lot of food vendors. Some of the best things will be the entertainment.”
Sharpe said that all the food booths have been sold out for a few weeks but there is still some space available for other types of booths.
Sharpe cautioned local residents that Main Street would be shut down after buses run Tuesday afternoon so set-up for the booths can begin. Cumberland Avenue will also be partially shut down after school buses run Thursday afternoon.
“Mayor Roddy Harrison will be making announcements on that. We are working to get one of those big signs so we don’t have an 18-wheeler come down Main Street during the festival,” Sharpe said.
Once again, parking won’t be allowed on the Main Street and Cumberland Avenue bridges going into and out of Williamsburg.
One change to this year’s festival is an event that won’t be taking place. The annual Williamsburg Kiwanis Harold Mauney 5-K race has been canceled this year, but may be held at a later date.
Sharpe noted that it won’t take place Saturday because of a conflict with the annual Lion’s Chase.
“I wish that was a different date so we could have kept it because it had gone on for so long,” he added.
In 2013, Old Fashioned Trading Days added a second stage for entertainment, which is continuing this year.
While stage one will still feature the traditional bluegrass and gospel music concerts that Old Fashioned Trading Days is known for, stage two will feature country-rock artists.
On stage two, Low Down South will perform Thursday night and Tim Hall and Buffalo Country will perform Friday night. Both North Carolina groups are making a return trip to Old Fashioned Trading Days and play country-rock music.
The Frontier Band will perform Saturday. The Frontier Band has played Williamsburg block parties before, but this is their first time playing at Old Fashioned Trading Days. The group plays a lot of upbeat country.
“They are real good,” Sharpe said.
All shows on stage two will start at 7 p.m. nightly.
“Our committee has worked real hard putting this together and I think it will be as good as we have ever had if not better,” Sharpe added. “I am real excited about this year.
I think it is going to be one of the best ones that we have ever had.”
Old Fashioned Trading Days will start Thursday with booths opening on the courthouse lawn that morning. Set up will officially start after 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Quilting and canning registration will take place Wednesday from 10 a.m. – noon at the old Whitley County Extension Office, which is across the street from Williamsburg City Hall.
Entries will be on display at the old extension office from 1 – 6 p.m. both Thursday and Friday. The displays will be available for pick-up from 6 – 7 p.m. Friday.
Bluegrass music will start Thursday at 3 p.m. on stage one with Gene Siler and Brushy Mountain performing followed by Whitley County Colonel Strings, Tidal Wave Road,
Virgil Bowlin, Tad Paddle, and Jenny and The Shouse performing.
Friday’s festivities will start off with registration for the vegetable show from 9 – 10:45 a.m. Judging will start at 11 a.m.
The Whitley Central Intermediate School Patriotic Performers will start the entertainment at 9:30 a.m. on stage one.
Several local choirs and bands will take the stage beginning at 10 a.m. Friday starting with the Williamsburg High School Choir, followed by the Williamsburg High School
Band, the Whitley County Middle School Choir, the Whitley County High School Choir and the Whitley County High School Band.
Gospel music kicks off at 3 p.m. Friday on stage one with Peggy Inks, followed by Wanda Cornelius, Kevin Byrd, Straight Creek, The Southern Grace, The Murray Family,
The Believers and an encore performance by The Murray Family at 8:30 p.m.
Reclaiming Futures juvenile drug court program will once again conduct the annual cornhole tournament. Registration will start at 9 a.m. with practice time from 9 – 10 a.m. The tournament begins at 10 a.m.
The car show will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and will run until 2 p.m.
From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Williamsburg police will be handing out children’s ID kits to parents at the information booth.
The kits enable parents to collect blood and hair follicle samples that they can keep for up to five years and use to positively identify their child in the event it goes missing.
Saturday’s entertainment will start with The Dance Centre performing at 10:30 a.m. on stage one followed by Rusty and The Green Horns at 11:30 a.m., Leanne Hoffman at 1 p.m. and Rusty Strings at 2 p.m.
WKYT’s Bill Bryant will be the special guest Saturday afternoon.
Gospel music will follow on stage one starting at 4 p.m.
The singing will kick off with the Heavenly Heirs, followed by The Whisnants, the Mike Bowling Family and The Primitives.