The town that wouldn't drown earns its name again during torrential rains
By Jonathan PleasantEven with uncooperative weather, this year’s Old Butler Days Festival at Babe Curtis Park was a big success. Dark and ominous clouds held back most of Friday as the event kicked off and visitors were treated to an assortment of live acts, good food, and plenty of activities for the kids. New this year was an old-fashioned wagon ride pulled by a team of mules, as well as several events including an auction conducted by Commissioner John Brookshire on Saturday.
Proceeds from the event went to the Butler Ruritan Club, which works year round to help support projects throughout the local community. Unfortunately, the threat of rain finally became a reality on Saturday morning. Dry under the many tents set up on the park grounds, festival goers still bid eagerly on the numerous donated items including a Tennessee Vols rocking Chair.
The rain continued off and on through the day, at times becoming very heavy, but rather than give up, organizers made the best of a bad situation, putting down a water slide for the many children who were having just as much fun playing in the mud. Most of the more than a dozen vendors began packing up early, but the crowds continued to grow, and as the rain finally stopped Saturday evening, Ruritan members were extremely busy selling hotdogs, hamburgers, barbeque, and fries all the way up to closing time at 10:00.
Other events included a veteran’s salute and raising of the flag conducted by the Boy Scouts at 10 a.m. Saturday, a line dance performance by the “Dandy Lines” out of Washington County on Friday, and numerous live acts including the annual appearance of “Elvis” and the Blue Suede Soul Band. The biggest show of the weekend came from Charlotte, NC as artist John Woodall was once again joined by local radio host Billy Gambill on the drums.
Gambill worked throughout both days of the festival managing the sound equipment and helping the Ruritan’s own Terry Potter with hosting duties. The duo also worked giving out door prizes in between acts as well as the annual big prize drawing on Saturday night. Raffle tickets were sold for $5 each with two prizes for the men and two for the women. Harvey Burniston was the first name drawn, winning a .40 caliber pistol, while a Green Egg Grill went to Bill Benedict. On the ladies side, Sharon Phillips won an Estee Lauder Gift basket while Deana Shoun took home a shopping spree of gift cards.
Even with the weather the crowds remained strong the whole weekend, mixing many former and current residents of the area with outside visitors coming from as far away as Los Angeles. There were also many local officials that made an appearance, including State Representative Timothy Hill, who took in the auction and visited the museum.
“It was the first time that I’ve been able to attend as representative, certainly,” Hill said. “To be able to spend time with folks that are from Old Butler and to hear their stories was definitely the highlight. Just to see how the community comes out and show their support for their museum and to be there together, it was great time. I think that it is wonderful that there is still a sense of community from Old Butler this many years later. It was great to be a part of that in some small way.”
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