Monday, June 21, 2010

#28 Hillbilly Days - Lebanon, MO - June 19, 2010

Hillbilly Days - Bennett Springs State Park (Lebanon, MO) - June 19, 2010

I was really looking forward to this festival, as the silliness potential was off the charts. Yes, it was a 2 1/2 hour drive each way, but one moonshine joke and it would have all been worth it. Sadly, I actually have a "real" job which required me to work late the night before and delayed my departure this fateful day. Apparently all of the silly games took place in the morning and I missed the cow chip throwing, lady nail driving and even the skillet toss. I did speak to a reporter that promised to forward me pictures, so check back for an update.

Yet, there was still a festival to be had. I was hoping for some roast possum, squirrel or any other type of roadkill animal but there was none to be found. Instead I came across this barbecued beef sandwich which tasted suspiciously like a sloppy joe. It did have actual pieces of beef (or so I was told) and it was pretty delicious. I definitely would have had another. This festival only allowed local non-profits to provide food, and they kept the proceeds. It is a great idea, unless you are there for the food. Culinary creativity did not reign.

Corn on the cob goes hand in hand with Summertime. Grilled corn reminds me of backyard BBQ's with my father at the grill. Alas, this corn was boiled. Boiling may be the worst cooking method for anything not named pasta. The corn was rather tasteless, but it was nice to eat an ear while sitting on a bale of hay in the middle of nowhere. I choose the typewriter method to eat my corn, how about you? What is the right way? My method wasn't the fastest last year.

Now this was more like it. I could see a person hanging a pot over this fire to be, and preparing whatever poor critter happened to cross their path. Instead it was just left to my imagination.

Bennett Springs Park was beautiful. The park has its own trout hatchery which brings in fishermen from around the region. Pictured here is a dam that was more picturesque than pictured (if possible). You can see the anglers in the water just above the crest where the trout would congregate trying to avoid being swept over the edge. The water was so clear you could see all the fish swimming around 3-4 feet below, and I got a better look as many of these anglers caught their dinner.

Festival Trinket of the Week: I was hoping for something whittled, made out of a jug of moonshine or something with a crafty saying on it. Instead I found these finger puppets. This is Yoda, what I expected to see here, and a penguin. Fun, but somewhat disappointing; my apologies.

Video of the Week: The entertainment for the night didn't actually begin until that evening, and I couldn't wait. I came across some young musicians jamming as they prepared to go onstage, but the moment I asked to record them the skies opened up with a torrential downpour. Needless to say, I didn't get the recording. They informed me the headliner for the night was Karli Cheyanne. Her promoter even told me she is the next big thing. Still feels creepy though. Yet, I feel this site has taken a role in bringing you some of the hottest musical artists on the festival circuit, and I must maintain that responsibility.

This festival started out as a one-time silly thing to raise some money for the city, but it was so successful that this was now their 37th year. Somewhere along those years this festival may have lost some of its soul. Don't get me wrong it was a great festival, but when you name something Hillbilly Festival you kind of expect to see some....well Hillbillies. Maybe Lebanon, MO has gotten awful tony for a mining town in the last 37 years. (If you knew that was from Tombstone then this clip is for you).

I guess I was just expecting more. With a name like Hillbilly Days, I simply thought hi jinx would ensue, but maybe I missed it in the morning. I think I was thinking of the cult classic movie "Dancing Outlaw" when I went. Don't worry, I have the whole film if you want to see more. Or, maybe I was even thinking of Cletus from the Simpsons when I got in my car to drive on down the road.

I was wondering where the term "hillbilly" came from, and was sadly not surprised when the state of Arkansas came through with the answer in their own special way. This site has always been primarily focused on the food, but I will indulge in other festivals if they are silly enough. If you are a FFF purist, then here are some hoo-dawgy recipes for you. Hillbilly has become a slightly derogatory term the way I have come to know it, but it shouldn't be that way. Here is a great sight featuring hillbilly music, and here is another great sight defending hillbillies across the country (explore this one). Or, if you just want a quick laugh then here are some new uses for your old computer.

So this festival wasn't as hillbillyriffic as I had hoped, but it was a beautiful day and drive. I will have to return to Bennett Springs State Park to canoe or fish some day, as that water looked amazing. This was also the first festival I had spoken to a reporter and a promoter. Maybe this site can actually be somewhat professional? I hadn't ought done do such a fool thing. If you want to see the hillbilly dictionary too, click here.

P.S. I'm thinking of a new Shorter Website Name to change to. Any thoughts?


  1. i think that puppet is more like Shrek then Yoda...
    Great article again.

  2. Thank you Anonymous for the kind words! I guess that puppet does look a little Shrekish as well. Maybe I need to re-write the puppet show I had in mind.


    it's avail!

  4. Hey thanks for the post, but now you need to write-in a suggestion to have a hillbilly there next year. What was up with that campfire starter kit? It is a bundle of sticks, but what makes it "Hillbilly"?

    I like the rizfest - it works!


    Maybe not shorter but catchy. Good read. The finger puppets are hilarious.

  6. Thanks anonymous for the suggestion, I hope to make a decision soon. Imron - Thanks for the comment, but I think you may be over thinking the concept. A dangerous thing to do in these parts. I think the suggestion box was a knot on a tree. Bucky - You continue to impress.