The crowd gathered early Thursday, filling the streets of downtown ahead of the start of the 48th annual Greenup Old Fashion Days.
The festival, which runs through Saturday, is a beloved tradition that draws hundreds to the family-centric celebration each year.
Among the event’s most beloved traditions is the appearance of student music groups from local schools and the parade of students dressed in old-fashioned costumes, both of which took place Thursday.
Nostalgia for the festival drew Chris Thompson, 44, on her day off. “I thought ‘I’m going downtown to see what they are doing early,’” she said. Thompson’s son was in school, but they would be back together over the weekend, she said.
“I grew up down here. I live in Raceland now. When I was a kid the whole Greenup grade school walked in the parade. I walked in it for years,” she recalled. “I love to see the ones dressed up in their old-fashioned dresses. The shoot-outs they do are always fun — they arrest people and put them in jail. I just think it’s awesome to come down and everybody gets together to visit, and see people you haven’t seen in years that you maybe you grew up with.” She added, “It’s just old-fashioned fun.”
Wurtland Middle School eighth-graders Mackenzie Mulkey and Ashton Sturgill are still making their childhood memories. The girls were among the choir members who performed Thursday morning — their favorite part of the festival. “I look forward to it because we get to perform in front of everybody,” said Sturgill.
Charlie Hayden of South Shore said he has also been coming to Old Fashion Days since he was a child, and was waiting Thursday morning to hear his son Zach, 15, sing with the Greenup County High School Choir. The family, he said, comes every year to the event.
“My favorite part now, and probably then, is the hamburgers, the Lions Club hamburgers,” he said.
Saturday’s parade, which takes place at 4 p.m., is the perennial favorite of Lori Poe, but her friend and fellow Greenup County schools bus driver Sue Adkins prefers the talent show, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
“I like it. You see people you haven’t seen in a while and get to communicate with everybody,” said Poe.
Dorothy and Bob Long, of Boyd County were attending their first Old Fashion Days. “We just saw it in the paper,” said Bob Long, explaining the couple thought they would stop by on their way home from the Wheelersburg flea market for a bite to eat.
Dorothy Long was finishing up a sandwich as her husband waited for some hot wings.
The festival continues today with craft and food booths open at 9 a.m. and attractions including a corn-shucking contest and a bean dinner starting at 10 a.m. The annual baby pageant begins at 11:30 a.m., followed by a pizza-eating contest at noon; story hour at 1:30 p.m.; a children’s tricycle race at 3 p.m. and pumpkin tossing for children at 3:30 p.m. The opening ceremony for the Old Fashion Days Tractor Show will be at 6:30 p.m., along with the Old Fashion Days Shoot-Out.
Music on Main for Friday features the Heritage Dance Team at 6 p.m.; bluegrass band The Velvet Blue at 7:30 p.m.; and Bronson Bush closing the evening with a performance at 9 p.m.
Bush is a veteran local performer who recently moved to Nashville to attend college and pursue his music career. The Blue Velvet is a bluegrass band with members from Lexington, Vanceburg, Morehead and Kingsport, Tenn., which features lots of three-part harmonies.
The annual celebration continues Saturday with many events, including an art show, health fair and costume-contest registration at 9 a.m. The Mutt Strut and the costume contest begin at 10 a.m., when entries are also accepted for the annual apple pie baking contest. A kiddie tractor pull begins at noon, along with the festival’s traditional Shoot Out, before the parade is assembled starting at 3 p.m. Veterans will be recognized at 3:15 p.m. and the parade starts at 4 p.m. This year’s grand marshal is Gary Cremeans.
The Greenup County band Mad Dog Mean, made up of Josh Brewer, Nick Carr, Ian Ellerbrock, Mark Hamilton and Jason Kiser, will perform at 6 p.m., followed by the Old Fashion Days Talent Show at 6:30 p.m.
Formed in 2011, Mad Dog Mean “is a hard rocking group of musicians from the Ohio River Valley. Each member grew up near the Country Music Highway Route 23 and were influenced by a wide range of music genres,” according to the band’s Facebook page. “The musicians of Mad Dog Mean have been in a variety of different bands through the years. This past experience in playing bluegrass, country, rock ‘n’ roll and metal gives Mad Dog Mean a foundation on which to build their sound.”
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org