WINFIELD - The annual Mule Day celebration in Winfield is only days away.
The festival is scheduled for this weekend (Sept. 21-23) with the Friday portion now highlighted by Mule Night Madness, as local merchants will remain open until midnight offering special sales to local residents and visitors.
While the main focus is still on the Saturday festivities and the annual parade, there is so much for visitors now to enjoy the evening before.
Vendors, musicians and a countless number of shoppers will fill the streets the night before the main event while the final day (Sunday) is focused on the live Civil War reenactment at the Ivan K. Hill Recreational Park.
Large crowds are expected for the festival as a number of recreational vehicles typically begin arriving in town as early as Wednesday to mark their spots for the coming days.
Winfield Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Killingsworth recently noted the amount of work involved with the festival as it will mark its 44th year.
“This takes so much work, but it is made possible by the chamber and volunteers in the community who give of their time to open Winfield’s doors and welcome in many visitors to our community,’’ Killingsworth said.
The chamber president said that they usually predict anywhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people to attend the three day event.
She suspects there will be larger-than-usual crowds as this year’s Mule Day events correspond with the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.
She also noted that the Winfield Pirates have scheduled its homecoming game against the Lamar County Bulldogs of Vernon on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Points of interest
Killingsworth noted the following points as part of the chamber’s efforts to inform the public of events associated with the festival:
• Information Booth: An information booth will be jointly operated by officials with the Winfield Chamber of Commerce and Winfield Main Street.
The booth will sit near the State Bank and Trust Mid-Town Branch.
Official Mule Day T-shirts will be available at the booth, as well as brochures, maps and general information.
Information about the booth is available through the Winfield Main Street office at 487-3002.
• Bluegrass and jazz musicians will be playing near R.W. Harris and Son Store on Friday night.
• Live music will also be available at the gazebo at the Johnny Micheal Spann Memorial Park on Friday night with cloggers, line dancing and hip hop scheduled for the site the following morning.
• Handicapped parade viewing will be available at Winfield City Hall and at the former Amoco station near the Winfield Church of Christ.
• School day will return to the Skirmish at the Luxapalilla this year. The live Civil War reenactment will mark its 17th year at Mule Day and will return to its original plan of providing a live educational setting on Friday to allow local school children to visit and learn more about the era.
The school day festivities will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21.
The following is a list of the activities, along with the time and location of each:
• Mule Day Parade: The annual parade will begin to make its way through the downtown district at 11 a.m.
Gov. Kay Ivey will be serving as the grand marshal for the parade.
Lineup for participants will be held at the entrance to Winfield City High School starting at 8 a.m.
Organizers have stressed those wishing to take part in the parade be at the school for lineup at 8 a.m. as some have attempted to enter the line despite arriving after 9 a.m.
While the parade does not make its way through the downtown district until 11, the parade leaves the school and meanders near a few residential areas and by the local nursing home well before the pass through the downtown area is made.
Organizers remind those who plan to participate in the parade that candy and other items are not to be thrown into the waiting crowd.
Registrants are expected to pick up a number in order to properly align in the Mule Parade while also becoming eligible for prizes.
Leading the parade will be a Boy Scouts color guard with the American flag in full view.
For more information on the parade, interested persons are asked to call the Winfield Main Street office at 487-3002.
• Mule Judging: A mule judging event will be held immediately after the parade in the area between the high school baseball field and the elementary school located on Marion County Road 14.
Registration for the event will be held from 8 a.m. until noon. Registration fees are $5 for a single or double entry.
For more information, interested persons are invited to call Kevin Holcomb at 412-9218.
• Arts and Crafts: One of the most popular areas of the festival will be located on Ashwood Drive in front of the Winfield Public Library.
Segments of the event, which is sponsored by the Winfield Business and Professional Women’s Club, will also be held in the parking lot of the nearby Winfield Church of Christ.
Exhibits of all kinds will be on display with artisans and craftsmen starting to set up their wares as early as 5 p.m. on Friday.
Entry fees for a booth in this part of the festival will be $50 each or $75 for a booth with electrical service.
For more information on this event, interested persons should call Heather Bozeman at 495-8557 or Kassie Hamlett at 528-0228.
Persons are also invited to mail entry fees directly to the organizers at: Mule Day/BPW, P. O. Box 1108, Winfield, Alabama 35594.
• Flea Market: The annual flea market flows across the downtown district as booths are erected in multiple areas.
Vendors will open on Friday evening and on Saturday.
Killingsworth said that all of the chamber’s 300 booths have been sold out.
Persons wishing to learn more about the flea market are invited to call Killingsworth at 487-4265.
• Antique Tractors: This event is scheduled to take place in the Foodland parking lot with registration to begin at 8 a.m.
The tractors will form a line and ride in formation in the Mule Parade.
Persons wishing to learn more may call W. H. Box Jr. at 465-9352.
• Mule Day 5K Run: This annual event is sponsored by Encore Rehab and the Winfield City High School cross country team.
The event serves as an annual fundraiser for the cross country team as team members and their families serve as volunteers with the event.
The 5K run will begin at the main intersection at the Pastime Theater clock tower.
Pre-registration for the event is $20 with registration on-site beginning at 10:45 p.m. The run is scheduled to begin at midnight on Friday.
The first 100 participants will receive a free T-shirt. Gold, silver and bronze horse shoes will be awarded to the top three finishers.
Persons wishing to learn more about the event are asked to call Brett Wakefield at 487-7600.
• Music and Dance: There will be clogging, line dancing and various types of music at multiple sites at the festival on Friday evening and all day on Saturday.
Live music will be provided in the downtown district from 6-10 p.m. on Friday and from 11:45 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. on Saturday.
Winfield radio station WKXM will conduct a live remote at the festival.
• Mule Night Madness: Local merchants will again follow the practice of being open for business on Friday night with many open until midnight.
• Antique Cars: There will be an antique car show at the Winfield Middle School parking lot on Saturday.
More than 200 vehicles were involved in the event last year—the most ever.
A registration fee of $20 will be charged with sign-up beginning at 8 a.m.
Cash prizes and door prizes will be awarded along with a 50-50 drawing.
Trophies will be awarded for Best of Show and the Top 25 participants. T-shirts and goody bags will be available to the first 100 registrants.
Persons wishing to learn more about the car show can call Whit Miles, III at 412-1655 for more information.
• The Skirmish at the Luxapalilla: This event will mark its 18th year as a part of the Mule Day festival.
The Civil War battle re-enactment and living history will be held at the Ivan K. Hill Recreational Park with activities set for the entire weekend.
Re-enactors will ride in full uniform in the parade prior to offering the first of two Civil War battle scenes at the park on Saturday.
Visitors may visit the camp site as early as 9 a.m. on Saturday with the first of the two battles set for 2 p.m.
A period ball will be held at 7 p.m. at the park with re-enactors dressing in period dress to add to the visual effect of the event. Visitors are invited to “come as you are’’ to witness the fun.
The camp will again open at 9 a.m. on Sunday for open visitation followed by the second live battle set for 2 p.m.
The campsite has become a living history with several hands-on exhibits and authentic encampments, along with demonstrations from artillery, calvary, and infantry.
School day presentations will be held on Friday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Persons wishing to learn more about the battle should call Randy Brown at 412-2089 or 487-1938 for more information.
See complete story in the Journal Record.