Festival to transform Millsboro into hillbilly heaven

In less than a month, Millsboro will host its first Country Festival (formerly known as the Millbilly Festival), inviting everyone to embrace their inner redneck.

“Millsboro is very excited about this. I don’t go too many places where I’m not asked at least a couple questions about the events that will be going on,” said Amy Simmons, executive director for the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce. “Our president, Kris Adams, committee members and board, we’d all gotten together and talked and knew we needed something new in Millsboro. That’s pretty much how it started.”

To be held on Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., the all-day event will offer something for everyone. A Rust Bucket Parade will kick off festivities on Main Street at 10 a.m. that morning, in which participants will push, pull, drive or drag their favorite rusty vehicles.

Following the parade, entertainment will be provided by Dance Alley’s Alley Cats, leading up to the Flea Ridd’N Bed Races, featuring teams of four or five people racing beds down Main Street from the Dairy Queen to Blue Water Grill.

Teams participating in the bed races are being encouraged to decorate themselves and the bed in a “redneck” theme, and the use of distraction devices, such as water guns, horns, water balloons, megaphones, whistles, etc., are approved and even recommended. At least one team member will ride on the bed, with the others pushing from behind.

“We’re still looking for participants for those two events,” said Simmons of the bed races and Rust Bucket Parade. “Those who are interested can contact the Chamber to register.”

A car, truck and tractor show will also be held on Monroe Street that day.

At noon, events will kick off at the Millsboro Little League Complex, with opening ceremonies, followed by entertainment, offered with a $5 wristband purchase for adults and free for children 12 or younger.

“Music throughout the afternoon,” Simmons noted. “Charles Paparella and his band from WBOC is coming to perform. The Dirty Road Outlawz, which is a local band, is going to perform. Randy Lee Ashcraft and the Saltwater Cowboys will be performing.”

Also starting at noon at the ball field, actor, singer and former Georgia congressman Ben Jones — “Cooter” on “The Dukes of Hazzard” — and the General Lee will appear, offering pictures and autographs in the afternoon.

Cooter’s Garage Band will then take the stage at 7 p.m. for a concert, along with the General Lee.

Simmons noted that Chamber board member Kevin Turner was instrumental in helping set up Cooter’s visit. “Evidently, he knows someone that’s connected with them. He was a big help in facilitating getting him here.”

Attendees will also have their chance to shine, with a Daisy Duke Look-a-Like Contest for girls 18 years or older, a corniest couple contest and a sharpest-dressed redneck contest.

“We’re going to be having Hillbillies Got Talent, which really isn’t a karaoke contest,” she noted. “We want to see some hillbilly acts — hog calling, junk band, washboards. Find your inner hillbilly!”

There will also be plenty for the young’uns, as a Kids Corner will be set up at the ball field all day.

“We’re going to have some bouncies, games, a pumpkin roll, corncob toss, and tire tic-tac-toe. It’s going to be a good time for them.”

Along with the other contests, attendees also can try their hands at Mountaire’s Chickin’ Pickin’ Contest, redneck family fun games — such as toilet-seat horseshoes and tire bowling — and a cornhole tournament to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“We have a super redneck challenge. It’s a timed event. You’ll be asked to do some redneck type things — rolling tires, stacking cans, hanging wet laundry, wheel barreling, flinging hubcaps and chunking TV remotes,” said Simmons. “We’re hoping the event will appeal to families — really, to everyone in the community. We don’t want to exclude anyone from this event. It’s just a family-fun day.”

Craft and food vendors will be on-site throughout the day, including Jimmy’s Grille and the Hocker’s BBQ food truck.

“Jimmy’s Grill is our title sponsor, and they will be here with food, and they will also be roasting a pig,” said Simmons, adding that a beer garden will also be set up at the ball field.

The Chamber has been helping to plan the event for months, and they are still in need of volunteers. For a two-hour time commitment, each volunteer will receive a free T-shirt, free meal and a free wristband for entry into all concerts.

“We are still looking for people! It takes a lot of people to run this,” explained Simmons.

She added that everyone planning the event has had a great time doing so, and they hope the public will enjoy the day.

“We have had a blast. We struggled through some things but, on a whole, this has been a great experience for the Chamber. We wanted something that embraced this area and made a statement for this area, and we think this will be great.”

For sponsorship or volunteer information, contact the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce at (302) 934-6777 or email info@millsborochamber.com. For more information about the festival, visit www.millsborochamber.com.