‘Everyone is excited’: Pikeville prepares to host 45th Hillbilly Days Festival

The 2022 Hillbilly Days Festival starts on Thursday, but folks got a bit of a head start on the...
The 2022 Hillbilly Days Festival starts on Thursday, but folks got a bit of a head start on the celebrations when the carnival opened Wednesday night.(WYMT)
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 6:23 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - After being canceled in 2020 and 2021, hillbillies are eager to hit the streets of Pikeville, listen to bluegrass and grab a funnel cake at the 45th Hillbilly Days Festival.

“I feel like everyone is excited, you know,” said Pikeville Tourism assistant director Lauren McCoart. “The city is excited, people from the county are excited, from all over Kentucky, you know, we’re expecting a big crowd because, where we haven’t had it in two years.”

The festival officially opens on Thursday, April 21, but the carnival opened a bit early at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

“There’s a lot, a lot of stuff going on and it looks super fun, super exciting,” said McCoart, “so if you want a little pre-Hillbilly Days, make sure to bring your kids or whoever down with you to the carnival and just enjoy yourself.”

First responders are also getting ready for the festival and preparing several stations across the city.

“They’ll be staffed by EMS personnel, firemen, and police officers, plus we have roving patrols,” said Pikeville PD Public Information Officer Tony Conn. “We still have people out patrolling vehicles outside the outskirts of town, and we also will have people on foot patrol, so you’re going to see officers, firemen, everywhere.”

Officials also warned about heavy traffic and limited parking due to the more than 100 vendors that needed to come to town and set up.

“After 5 p.m., downtown is going to be off-limits, anything parked downtown after that is going to be towed at the owner’s expense,” said Officer Conn. “We put signs up for the last week or so with big red letters, so please don’t park after 5 p.m. on Wednesday.”

Officer Conn also said to drink plenty of water and keep your valuable belongings locked away in your trunk when you park.

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