Planning is underway for the region’s largest festival of the year, Hillbilly Days.

The 44th annual event will take place April 16-18 in downtown Pikeville. The Hillbilly Days Committee met on Tuesday to discuss plans being made for the event.

“The 2020 Hillbilly Days Festival is gearing up to be another fun event for our community and the more than 100,000 visitors who will venture to our region for the festival,” said Jordan Gibson, Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “We are excited to be offering some new events at this year’s festival. Those additions, paired with the great annual offerings, are sure to make for another great year.”

Some new plans for this year’s event include a dinosaur-themed show, crafters at the Appalachian Wireless Arena and virtual simulation experiences through Motion Adventures Plus, according to the Southeast Kentucky Chamber.

Hillbilly Days will kick off at 5 p.m. on April 16 with an opening ceremony at the Appalachian Wireless Arena, followed by fireworks that night. The Hillbilly Days Parade is scheduled for 2 p.m. on April 18, and Hank Williams Jr.’s concert at the Appalachian Wireless Arena will take place at 8 p.m. on April 18, according to the city’s provided event schedule.

Throughout the weekend, live entertainment includes Abby the Spoon Lady & the Tater Boys at the Appalachian Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. on April 16, Nick Jamerson & Friends at the App at 6:30 p.m. on April 17 and Thunderstruck America’s AC/DC Tribute at Bank 253 at 7 p.m. on April 18.

A variety of bands will take the Billy Johnson Stage, including Halo and the Rewind Band, Kudzu Killers, Down to the River, Rock of Ages, Burden of Proof, Tyler Smith and the Stillrunners and Johnny Pop Day, among others.

Other events include the Hillbilly Days Arm Wrestling Competition scheduled for April 18, the Hillbilly Days Run for the Kids 2020 at 8 a.m. on April 18, stump speaking, square dancing and clogging.

Trolley services will be provided every 30 minutes to pick up visitors from four different locations around Pikeville and drop off visitors at the Appalachian Wireless Arena Bypass entrance.

Hillbilly Days is an annual fundraiser for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Lexington. Last year, the festival raised $71,000 for the hospital. The event is a collaboration between the Southeast Kentucky Chamber, Hillbilly Clan 1 Outhouse 2, City of Pikeville, Pike County Fiscal Court, Pike County Tourism, Pikeville Tourism and Utility Management Group (UMG), according to the Southeast Kentucky Chamber.

The next Hillbilly Days Committee meeting will take place at the Garfield House on March 10 at 3 p.m.

Vendor applications are still being accepted. The application, and more information, can be found at, www.sekchamber.com.

For more information on Hillbilly Days, including lodging, parade, vendor and music registration, parking, event details and purchasing tickets, call, (606)-432-5063, visit, www.hillbillydays.com, or check out the “Hillbilly Days Festival” Facebook page.

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