Pikeville Hillbilly Days is one of Kentucky’s most attended festivals, being one of the state’s first festivals of the (mostly) warm months of the year. Hillbilly Days is known for its outlandish character, wide assortment of vendor booths, and charm that has endured for over 40 years. Most importantly, Hillbilly Days is also a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Lexington, Kentucky, a hospital that serves disabled children in the Eastern Kentucky region, among many other areas.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down pretty much all festivals in the state of Kentucky for the foreseeable future, it still doesn’t hurt to reminisce on the Hillbilly Days festivals of yesteryear. Let’s take a look at some photos from previous Hillbilly Days festivals.
Pikeville Hillbilly Days Gallery
Buy Hillbilly Days Merch & Support the Children’s Hospital
Despite being cancelled, Hillbilly Days 2020 merchandise is still available. Purchase collectables for the Hillbilly Days that never was by contacting Robert Adkins at 606-899-9030, or message him on facebook. Hillbilly Days Shirts are $12.00, button pins (white) are $1.00, patches, lapel pins and knives are $5.00 each. Shirts available in adult small thru 3x and youth and infant onesies. Don’t allow COVID-19 to prevent you from showing your support for the Shriners Hospital for Children.
More Hillbilly Days Resources
Wanting to keep track of the updates concerning Hillbilly Days? Follow our Pikeville Hillbilly Days facebook page, or visit www.HillbillyDays.com for updates. As of this writing, Hillbilly Days 2020 has been cancelled, and has yet to be rescheduled. However, it doesn’t hurt to check back from time to time to see if things have changed. You never know.
We here at Pike County Tourism CVB are optimistic that, when the COVID-19 pandemic breaks, people are going to be more than ready to get out and travel again. As you probably could imagine, the tourism industry is taking a massive hit due to the coronavirus, and when the tourism industry hurts, everyone hurts. Because of the hard work that Pike County Tourism CVB has done over the past several years, and the partnerships that we have been blessed to be involved in, 2020 was poised to be another record-breaking year for tourist spending in Pike County. But, the world can be unpredictable at times, and we are staying positive during all of this. As our governor says, “we will get through this together”. So, while we are in quarantine, awaiting this day to come, let’s go over some interesting attractions to plan for. What else do you have to do?
When COVID-19 Breaks, Let’s Head for the Breaks
Despite healthcare professionals urging people to go outside for some sunshine and fresh air (but still maintaining social distancing), the fear surrounding this pandemic is keeping many people locked indoors. So, we predict that once COVID-19 breaks, people will flock to one of our many beautiful outdoor attractions. Pike County has no shortage of them, with places like Grants Branch Park in Stone, Kentucky, to the Lick Creek Horse Trail, and one of our most prized gems, Breaks Interstate Park.
Breaks Park features everything an outdoor enthusiast loves, from rustic hiking trails, to biking, rock climbing, and more sight seeing than you can shake a stick at. Known as “the Grand Canyon of the South”, everyone who visits the Breaks should check out their Rhododendron restaurant for dining that overlooks this 5-mile, 1650 feet deep gorge. The Breaks also offers Elk Viewing Tours, and boasts of a 100% success rate in seeing Elk. We’ll all need to reconnect with nature after being cooped up for so long.
Let’s Get Back Together with Pike County Cruise-Ins
Our Pike County commissioners have been very active in supporting tourism in our county, and have provided invaluable support for us to do what we do best. One tourism initiative that has came about over the past year is the establishment of Pike County Cruise-ins. Although independent car clubs have been hosting amazing cruise-ins for years, it was the desire of the commission, as well as Pike County Tourism CVB, to promote a series of Pike County Cruise-ins that bring folks together from different clubs, and to attract car enthusiasts from all over. Cruise-ins give us the opportunity to not only check out killer hot rods and classic cars, but also to reconnect with one another. Each Pike County Cruisers event features food vendors, ice cream, a swap meet (no yard sale items please), and free dash plaques for the first 100 visitors. This event is normally scheduled for the 3rd Sunday of each month, April through September, but as is true with every event, we will have to wait and see when the first Cruisers meet will happen this year.
Catch a Show at our Local Theatres
One thing we all miss is going to the theatre. Whether it’s a movie theatre, or a theatre for the performing arts, being without such experiences is excruciating for many of us. Whenever this thing breaks, our local theatres will be ready to entertain, with a variety of shows for all walks of life to enjoy.
Pike County is blessed to have two amazing theatres for the performing arts, Artists Collaborative Theatre and The Appalachian Center for the Arts, or “The App” for short. Artists Collaborative Theatre has suffered its own setbacks as of late, with their building burning down not too long ago. However, the show must go on, and they will be showcasing productions at the Breaks Interstate Park until a new facility is built.
The App will be hosting several productions later this year, beginning with The Cleverlys, which has been rescheduled from their May 1st date to June 4th. Later this year, more amazing productions are scheduled for the App, such as The Marvelous Wonderettes, The Kevin Prater Band, Sleep in Safety: The Legend of Octavia Hatcher (their highly anticipated October production), and so much more. Check out the Appalachian Center for the Arts page for details.
Let’s not forget the Appalachian Wireless Arena, which has several great shows planned for the second half of the year. Steve Miller Band with special guest Marty Stuart is scheduled for July 22nd, The Price is Right is scheduled for July 26, with Poison performing on August 8th, Toby Keith performing August 14th and Lynyrd Skynyrd performing September 10th.
Hank Williams Jr., a concert that was scheduled to headline the now cancelled (but may be rescheduled) Hillbilly Days, is now scheduled for October 23.
Part of what helps us cope with the current circumstances is knowing that we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our community, and looking forward to the day that we can again welcome visitors to our beautiful region to enjoy the many great things our community has to offer. Until then, making travel plans is certainly a good way to pass the time. If you have questions, or need help planning your Pike County getaway, feel free to reach out to us here.
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.
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
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.
Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys will be performing at Hillbilly Days, Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the UPIKE Gymnasium. Free and open to the public, this event will feature world class bluegrass, an autograph signing and merchandise. Kristi Stanley will be performing in the UPIKE Gymnasium Thursday night, also at 7:30 p.m. Ralph Stanley II (a hillbilly shriner himself) welcomes you to this great event. Be sure to support the Shriners Hospital for Children with a donation to the hillbilly shriners.
Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys are celebrating their Billboard Bluegrass Album Chart that was released on Stanley Family Records last year. Even into 2018, the band is still regularly appearing on that coveted Top 15 chart. This self-titled album was the first release for the group since Ralph II took over the Clinch Mountain Boys band name in 2016 per the wishes of his late father Dr. Ralph Stanley.
The band includes Clinch Mountain Boy John Rigsby on fiddle, mandolin and vocals; Alex Leach on banjo and vocals; Randall Hibbitts on the upright bass and vocals; and Ralph Stanley II on the guitar and lead vocals. This band configuration brings a lot of talent, energy and humor to the stage as they perform old-time favorites, bluegrass hits and new original material.
Ralph II has had two Grammy nominations on previous albums he recorded with Rebel Records. In 2002 he earned his first Grammy along with his father. Dr. Ralph Stanley for their collaboration with Jim Lauderdale on Lost in the Lonesome Pines. Ralph II has proven to be an accomplished songwriter and has 6 solo albums under his belt, along with the highly acclaimed duet album with his father titled Side by Side.
Bluegrass in the Park is a bluegrass event scheduled for Saturday, August 5th, 2017, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Free admission! This event is located in the Coal Run City Park, Coal Run, Kentucky. Presented by Bryan Goins & River Road, featuring The Kevin Prater Band, Mike Bentley & Cumberland Gap Connection, May Family & Friends. Emcee CJ the DJ. In memory of the Goins Brothers.