What is a Hoedown anyway?

The Caswell County Hoedown has been an annual tradition for 37 years and each year festival goers can expect something different. This year local bands will provide live entertainment. 

Plans for the September 21, 2019 Caswell County Hoedown are underway.

After researching various definitions most confirmed that the concept of a hoedown is some type of an informal country party where people may be square dancing, folk dancing or clogging that is usually done after the day's work is completed. One source confirmed that a hoedown occurred once the hoe was put down from working.

Well for most of us here in Caswell County, The Hoedown is an event that when mentioned conjures up a few fond memories of family, community, food and fun in Yanceyville where lots of folks came in to experience a taste of life in Caswell County. It has traditionally been a time at the end of the summer after a lot of hard work in the fields, to gather as a community, put the ‘hoe down’ and have a little bit of fun with our neighbors.

The Hoedown has been around for over 37 years now and the planning is going full force for the 38th Annual Bright Leaf Hoedown. Throughout the course of time the event has seen the likes of many tobacco spitting contests, hollering matches, lots of horseshoe pitching, a variety of bands and entertainers and tons of great southern cooking from the various churches, fires departments and Ruritan clubs in the county.

As the county and Yanceyville grew, the event moved from the Square to the Pavilion area to make use of the stage that had been constructed there. The car show was able to take advantage of the Square and moved their portion of the event there. Transitioning from a two-day event to a single day event, the festival has experienced challenges when the tobacco company funding was no longer a part of the budget planning.

This year there is a renewed interest and an excitement around the event that will be held on Saturday, September 21. Events planned so far include a focus on the various types of agriculture here in Caswell County. Exhibits demonstrating traditional crops as well as some of the diverse specialty crops being grown here will be available.

Crafters this year will include many of the artisans that attended the Christmas Tree Lighting event last December as well as other crafters that have developed unique items that are great gift giving ideas. We are very excited about the quality of offerings that are planned to be at the event this fall.

This First Annual Caswell Corn Hole Tournament sponsored by Ace Home and Building Center, will be held at the event ($40 per team entry fee) with a grand prize of $500, 2nd prize $250 and third place team $150. There are other contests also including a booth visitor contest for a chance to win $500 and perhaps some type of fun eating contest!

Embracing the heritage of tobacco in Caswell County will be shared via story telling on the Pavilion Stage. There will be a demonstration of a tobacco sale and old-fashioned tobacco tying and hand stringing as well. More on that heritage will be available at the Richmond-Miles Museum next door and the Caswell County Historical Association has walking tours originating there are that are sure to intrigue the history buffs among us. For other festival goers, on the stage will be Cat5 and Cruise Control two popular regional bands, as main attractions. And a selection of other bands (to include hip hop/R&B and bluegrass as well as some gospel) to appeal to all audiences will also be performing and announced once confirmed.

For the children “Kids Kountry’ will include the all-time favorite, Farm Olympics, as well as a Petting Zoo provided by the Bartlett Yancey FFA. There will be several other activities for the youngsters as well as a plan to include a possible amusement ride or two.

An art contest for a 38th Annual Hoedown t-shirt is being coordinated with Caswell County Schools with the winner to be chosen by the Caswell Arts Council. T-shirts will be available for sale at the Chamber/Information tent where visitors will pick up the map of booths and activity schedule for the day.

The Bright Leaf Hoedown is a free community event organized by the Caswell County Chamber of Commerce. We are in the process of recruiting sponsors as it would not be possible without that support to fund the event. The planning committee looks forward to providing updates as the event draws closer. The 2019 Bright Leaf Hoedown will be on Saturday, September 21. Rain date September 22.