Georgiana celebrates Hank Williams Sr’s 100th birthday
Published 11:01 am Monday, May 29, 2023
The Hank Williams Music Park in Georgiana will host a birthday celebration Friday and Saturday. The 44th Annual Salute to a Legend will celebrate country music icon Hank Williams Sr.’s 100th birthday.
The event will feature a tribute to Williams from singer and songwriter Jason Petty, who has portrayed Williams on state for many years.
“Petty has always been a country soul,” said Gerald Hodges with the Hank Williams Boyhood Home and Museum. “Born and raised in the small middle Tennessee town of Manchester, he began spending a lot of time on his grandparents’ farm in Hickman County, Tennessee, after his Mother’s sudden passing when he was only seven-years-old.”
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Petty will take the stage mid-afternoon Saturday, performing his songs and storytelling for festival audiences.
Originally, the festival was held in the late 1960 in the pasture next to Williams’s boyhood home in Mt. Olive. In the early 1970s the festival was moved to Georgiana and included “street dances.”
Fans like Myrtle Brownlee of Demopolis recall those early festival days.
“They practically shut the downtown area off,” Brownlee told Hodges. “There were lots of folks and they were all enjoying themselves. The music was set up on a temporary stage, along with a big truck that some of the entertainers played from. And, there was dancing in the street. I had problems dancing in my shoes, so I took them off. After about an hour, the soles of my feet were sore from dancing on the hard pavement. It took a couple days for the soreness to go down. But we loved it.”
Hodges said Hank Williams, Jr. made one appearance at the festival in 1976, performing for audiences from a flatbed truck. The City of Georgiana purchased Williams’s boyhood home in 1993 and began hosting the festival in the now “Hank Williams Music Park.”
On Thursday, free karaoke session will begin at 6 p.m.
Darryl Worley will headline the show on Friday. The park opens at 2 p.m. that night and tickets will be available at the gate for $20.
Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday and tickets are $40.
Saturday night, Nashville recording artist Chris Cagle will close the festival performing his country music hits like “My Love Goes On and On” and “Laredo” which have both made the Top 40 charts.
Swedish singer Edward Johnsson will also entertain audiences Saturday, performing with his band “Edward and the Hayriders.” The singer tours Europe performing Willliams’s music and this year’s event will mark his fourth appearance at the annual festival.
Mary McDonald, of Stonewall, Oklahoma, will also perform Saturday along with Colin Leatherwood of Ozark, 17-year-old singing start Mason Ramsey, the bands, “Flashback” and “New Vision”’ as well as Terry Smith, The Bush Family, Mary Battiata, Morgan Brown, Jeff Raybren, and many other entertainers Starla Jones will perform the evening’s Patriotic Tribute.
Gregory said the festival is an outdoor event sponsored by the Hank Williams Museum. There is no reserved seating and guests may bring law chairs. No lounge chairs, coolers, food, drinks, or pets will be allowed inside the park.
To order tickets, or for additional information, call 334-376-2555, or visit www.hankwilliamsfestival.com.
To reach the festival, take Interstate Highway 65 Exit 114, and go one mile east.