|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (July 2014)|
Crowd on Hambley Blvd.
|Observed by||Pikeville, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Date||Third Saturday in April|
|2014 date||April 19|
|2015 date||April 18|
|2016 date||April 16|
|2017 date||April 15|
Hillbilly Days is an annual festival that takes place in Pikeville, Kentucky. The festival is hosted by Pikeville on the third weekend of April. Each year it brings in over 100,000 people, from all across the continent of North America, who line the streets of the City of Pikeville. Each year this festival raises money for the local Shriners Children's Hospital. According to WYMT Mountain News in Hazard, Kentucky, this event, "gives hillbillies of all ages a chance to have a little fun.....And it lets them embrace the hillbilly lifestyle."  This event continuously grows and according to the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, "Hillbilly Days 2013 will be bigger and better than ever."
Hillbilly Days was first founded in 1977 by a group of Shriners as a means to raise money for the Shriners Hospital. Two shriners from the Hillbilly Clan Outhouse No. 2, Howard "Dirty Ear" Stratton and "Shady" Grady Kinney, decided to start the festival in 1976 after visiting a festival in Portsmouth, Ohio. They got a group of shriners together and they began the festival in 1977. It has continued ever since. In 2011 this festival was able to raise $72,000 dollars for the Shriners Hospital. Over 100,000 people come once a year experience the event and culture of Appalachia. Participants wear overalls and other rural attire while roaming the streets of Pikeville to help raise money for a cause. The planning committee for this festival usually starts meeting around September and then work on their plans each workday up until the festival begins in mid-April.
At this festival, there are numerous opportunities for entertainment. All around the City there are many locations designated for each different type of entertainment. In the city park, courthouse square, Hambley Blvd., and on the Billy Johnson Stage on the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center plaza participants can listen to live music and performances, while inside the Expo Center there are numerous events and concerts occurring such as Brantley Gilbert. Music is not the only option for entertainment, though. Set up in the city park, Coca-Cola sponsors the Hillbilly Days Corn Hole Tournaments, which runs all 3 days at various times. While Pepsi/Mountain Dew sponsors several events such as Hillbilly X Factor, which features 25 contestants, and also the Hillbilly Days Scavenger Hunt, which includes other sponsors such as Appalachian Wireless and Dr. Pepper.
Arts and Crafts
The 2013 Arts and Crafts section was known as EQT Craft Bazaar. It was sponsored by the Equitable Gas Company, which is commonly known as EQT. In 2013 there were 72 booths set up on the first floor of the Pikeville City Parking Garage. These booths contained everything from purses and jewelry to information about Health care and University of Kentucky Men's Basketball players signing autographs.
One of the craft event that is held every year is the Quilt Show. This event is held at the Pike County Extension Service Office. On the first day, Thursday, the Quilt check-in begins, check-in runs from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Then on Friday and Saturday the quilt show is open. On Friday the quilt show runs from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and then on Saturday it runs from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The check-out for the show is from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
The festival always runs three days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but each year the carnival kicks off a little early. On Wednesday night around 6 p.m. after everything is set up, the Carnival gets an early start. Located in the Riverfill 10 Cinemas parking lot the carnival is filled with rides and games. Tickets, each year, run around $20 for an armband and/or $1 per single ticket. In 2013 tickets went up to $1.25 per single ticket, or $20 for an armband, but participants who have a coupon for Wednesday night only, can get $5 off. The carnival is set up and ran by Gold Medal Shows. On Thursday night after dark one of the bigger attractions of the festival starts, the Appalachian Wireless Fireworks Show. Routinely the fireworks are held on Thursday but can be delayed until Friday or Saturday in accordance with the weather. 
The Annual Hillbilly Days Parade is always on the Saturday of Hillbilly Days. It starts at 2 p.m. and runs from the Pikeville public library and ends at the Social Security Office. In order to enter the parade you have to fill out an application and have it turned in by the set date. A list of rules are set for the parade entries to ensure the safety of everyone in the parade and the bystanders.
Food and other vendors line the streets of Pikeville each year selling deep fried goods, lemonade, T-shirts, and Hillbilly attire. Vendors set up along Hambley Boulevard, College Street, Main Street, Huffman Avenue, and the area around the Courthouse. There are an estimated 300+ vendors who line up each year along both sides of the street.
- Odunde Festival, a similar festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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- Hillbilly Days 2013: The Festival With A Heart. Pikeville. Pike County Tourism, 2013. Print.
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