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Pikeville prepares for multi-day Hillbilly Days festival

A picture of the carnival grounds at the yearly Hillbilly Days festival in Pike County.
Larry Epling
/
Pikeville-Pike County Tourism CVB
A picture of the carnival grounds at the yearly Hillbilly Days festival in Pike County.

Eastern Kentucky’s Hillbilly Days festival is expected to bring around 150,000 people to Pike County later this week.

The multi-day Appalachia-themed event started out 47 years ago as a small parade in downtown Pikeville. Now, it attracts hundreds of vendors from around the country and internationally. It’s become an important marker on festival and fair routes.

“We've got vendors who come from Florida and New York and all over,” festival chairman Jordan Gibson said. “We've also had some international folks, a lot of people come in from Canada, who are down in this part of the country just for the spring.”

The festival includes a carnival, parade, live music, handmade crafts and locally crafted beer.

Gibson says the festivities double as a big fundraiser for the Shriners’ Children’s Hospital in Lexington.

“It's all for a good time, and it's all to get out and relax and act a little goofy, but ultimately, this is the festival with a heart and we're trying to raise money for the Shriners Hospital,” Gibson said.

The festival will run Thursday through Saturday, with a half-marathon also scheduled Sunday.

More information about the festival is available on its webpage.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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