Summer of Red Bay: Festivals

Our first festival was the Watermelon Festival in Russellville, AL. We went with friends and was looking forward to eating watermelon, since the flyer said all day watermelon festivities. Well we got there around 3pm, it was the weekend and we all wanted to sleep in, since you can’t during the week. Well we walked around the festival looking for the watermelon. Nothing….no watermelon anywhere. Then we see the sign “Free Watermelon 11-1.” Are you kidding me you have a 2 day Watermelon Festival and you only have watermelon for 2 hours?  The only watermelon we found was watermelon flavored Italian ice.  Yep. This might be one of the most disappointing festivals we have ever been too.

A few weeks later Lee and I decided to go to the Labor Day Coon Dog Cemetery Annual Celebration. It has been held every Labor Day since 1937. We hadn’t been to the Coon Dog Cemetery, so this gave us a reason to go. We walked around and found Troops grave…he was the first coon dog buried there. I pet some adorable coon dog puppies looked at a few vendors selling things and left. I think we were there less than 10 minutes.

There are several requirements to be buried there.

  1. The Coon Dog must be a Coon Hunting Dog.
  2. A witness must certify in a written letter that they have observed the dog tree a coon.
  3. A photo of the dog must be provided to prove the Coon Dog is a Coon Dog.

More than 300 Coon Dogs are buried here. Each headstone is unique, some are made of wood or metal and others are large stones.

Lee and hadn’t planned on being here for Red Bay Founder’s Day but since we were still getting work done we figured we would go. Plus I was curious to see the Buck Dancing competition. Buck Dancing is basically flat footed tap dancing. The competition wasn’t really a competition. You had one lady who did true buck dancing and 2 young girls who did Irish Step Dancing. They also had a furthest traveled competition. Lee and I came in second, we claimed South Dakota as our home since that is where we technically domicile. A couple from Arizona won. At one point she was throwing t-shirts into the crowd. I wanted one, so I went up there. I did catch one but it was a child small, I saw a little boy with a shirt that appeared to be adult size, so I asked him to trade. He said ok. Later, when I looked at the shirt I realized it wasn’t one being thrown off the stage. Not sure if the boy traded me a shirt he bought or won somewhere else at the festival. But needless to say, I ended up with a nice shirt. Before we left we had fun looking at the old cars on display.

The Red Bay Museum was offering free admission on Founder’s Day, so Lee and I also went there. It’s a tiny building filed with a lot of Red Bay History. It was a well laid out and a thorough museum. They had artifacts from almost all the old businesses. They had dedicated sections to the rail road, doctors office, bank, school room, theater, ice cream parlor. Upstairs they had a large section dedicated to Tammy Wynette. I guess she called Red Bay her home town even though she wasn’t technically from there. She was born in a small town just across the Mississippi border, but because Red Bay was the largest town near by, she called Red Bay her home.

Lee and I went to to the Iuka County Fair. This fair should have been a festival, since my church festival back home was bigger than this. It did have a small petting zoo with farm animals and a cool duck species with funky feather style on its head. There were a lot of rides, carnival games but unfortunately only 3 food vendors. There was a beauty pageant and a rodeo as well. It was fun to go to, but not worth the price to get in.

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