BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
In a way, it has become a tradition among mayors.
Bulls Gap's most famous native, the late Archie Campbell, came by the title "mayor of Bulls Gap" during his time in show business.
According to the Archie Campbell Museum & Home site in Bulls Gap, Archie was never actually mayor, but he remains a hero to the town.
He was a country comedian, a star at the Grand Ole Opry and on the long-running "Hee Haw" television show.
On Monday, downtown Bulls Gap celebrated the 24th annual Archie Campbell Day, a celebration that the town's government took on several years back.
Campbell's son, Phil, has been present at almost every celebration and was master of ceremonies on Monday.
"I like the fact that there's so much effort by the entire town to do this," he said. "It takes a whole year to plan."
Campbell, of Powell, Tenn., said he believes the event is a great homage to his father's life.
Many in the crowd called out hellos to Campbell, even coming up to shake his hand or take a picture with the son of their favorite former townsman.
"It's a good shadow to live in," Campbell said before taking the stage with special guest Bill Landry, host of television's "The Heartland Series," to reminisce on their days together playing various characters on the small screen.
Mayor Mike Solomon was a part of the crowd watching their on-stage interaction, but was also often hurrying around downtown to make sure everything ran smoothly.
"I think that we've had a good turnout, not having the celebration for two years," Solomon said. He was referring to the event's having been rained out two years ago, and canceled because of delays in planning last year.
"The overcast weather has kept some people away [Monday], but that's their loss. I hope they turn out next year," he said.
Former mayor Robin Horner was also in attendance at the event and noted having seen another former mayor, Bill Grubb, as well.
Horner was out with his daughter, Amber James, who said she grew up watching Hee Haw, and his granddaughter, two-year-old Addison "Addy" James.
"Granddad" was treating Addy to a little girl's dream day out at the festivities, including a ride on the Elmo train, a carriage ride and a treat in the form of some peach pie.
"I love Hee Haw and Archie Campbell; I love everything about it," Horner said, recalling his days planning the event as mayor.
"It's all about just getting people here -- kind of like a homecoming. People you don't see for the whole year, a lot of times you'll see."