Picture-perfect blue skies, pleasant weather, and a whole lot of varied entertainment helped make the three-day Baileyton Celebration a success.
It featured former TV movie star and real-life police officer Eric Estrada, who dutifully signed autographs and posed for photographs for mostly female fans.
Also well attended was a performance by hometown favorites the Aaron Walker Band, a variety of food trucks, a parade, over 100 booths for everyone from a taxidermist to Greene County Sheriff’s Department officers, and much more.
It was estimated well over 1,000 attended at least part of the fun-filled 27th celebration, held on the lawn of Baileyton Elementary School in downtown Baileyton, organizers said.
Joel Douglas sat under a canopy with his family evidently relaxed, and listened to the Railway Express Band and special guest Clayton Q perform country rock music on a stage.
Douglas said he went to the Baileyton Celebration “to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air.”
Douglas was accompanied by his wife, Lainie, and sons Cooper, 11, Lincoln, 7, and Westley, 6.
Prominently displayed on the grounds was a replica of the DeLorean vehicle used in the “Back to the Future” movies, including extensive, external wiring needed for special effects.
Keeping a watchful eye on his creation was Mark Zoran, of Razorfly Studios, which he said replicates vehicles for museums and private owners.
He admitted to a reporter that only one small item on the vehicle was not authentic to the popular movie series: a Chicago Cubs sticker. Zoran said he was a big fan of the former World Series champion professional baseball team.
Donna Miles said she drove alone from northern California to escape the massive wildfires there.
“I couldn’t breathe” because of the smoke from the fires, she said.
Miles said she was “very much having fun” on Saturday at the Baileyton Celebration. “It’s so beautiful here,” she said of the area, which she plans to move to permanently in a couple of months.
Other stars present included Byron Cherry (“Coy Duke”) and Margie Daniel (“Marge in Charge”) from the TV hit series, “The Dukes of Hazzard” and Claudia Wells, who played the girlfriend of the Michael J. Fox character in the first “Back to the Future” movie.
Wells rode in the DeLorean replica in Saturday morning’s parade.
The theme for the 2021 Baileyton Celebration was “Looking to the Future.”
The first-place theme winner in the parade was the North Greene High School Future Farmers of America float, which juxtasposed an early era schoolhouse wooden desk with a modern classroom and solar-powered vehicle.
Baileyton United Methodist Church won second place in the theme float contest with “The Rapture,” which included chairs with clothes draped on them that signified what may be left behind when the rapture, or “catching up,” of Christians into the sky with Jesus takes place in the future, according to Bible prophecy. Third place in the theme float competition went to Woolsey Overlook Farms.
First place “non-competition” float winner was Davy Crockett TA Travel Center, which saluted patriots in multiple vehicles.
Second place “non-competition” float winner was a tie between Crystal Jessee and Brad Mercer.
Booths organizer Virginia Cooter said she drove Estrada, who played “Ponch,” a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer in “CHiPs,” a popular TV police drama that aired in the 70s and 80s, in a vehicle in the parade. At one point they stopped along the route to recognize Ashley Odom, who was celebrating her birthday.
Estrada, who is 72 years old, kissed Odom, who was thrilled, Cooter said. Cooter also estimated that around 30 women must have yelled out, “I love you!” to their heartthrob Estrada as he passed them on the parade route.
On Saturday afternoon, there was a long line of people waiting to have Estrada sign an autograph or pose for a photograph.
Cooter stated, “He has been an amazing guy. He really goes out of his way to make everyone feel special.”
Also present at the Baileyton Celebration were a full-size NASCAR simulator, U.S. Army vehicles, comedian Anne-N-Bren, boxer Butter Bean (Eric Esch), the Moonshiners Smoke Ring, three celebrities from Master Distillers, Biggins (a comedian), wrestlers, and Melody Kinghton, who portrayed Lucy from the “I Love Lucy” TV show.
Organizers said 60 people participated in the Cruise-In Car Show on Friday.
The Mayor’s Choice winner was Bill Sickels and his 1997 Ford F-350.
Best of Show winners were, in first place, Shannon Dillow, with a 1962 Chevy Nova; in second place, Aubrey Brown, with a 2017 BMW M 240 X Drive; and third place, Clint Saylor, with a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda.
Best Classic winners were Freddie Solomon, with a 1956 Ford Victoria Fairlane (first place); Gary Hammond, with a 1956 Chevrolet Bel-Air (second place); and Brian Shipley, with a 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 (third place).
Best Truck winners were as follows: first place, Tim Hawk, 1928 Roadster; second place, B.J. Crum, 1973 Ford; and third place, Mike Martin, 1980 Dodge Power Wagon.
The 2021 Tractor Show winners were: Best of Show, Brean Van Baren, with a John Deere; Most Original, Howard Bowers, with a 1961 Ford; Oldest Tractor, Allen Weems, with a 1936 Allis-Chalmers; and Furtherest, Terry Sensabaugh, from 25 miles away, with a 1961 Ford.
Said Baileyton Celebration booths organizer Cooter to a reporter on Saturday, “It’s 2:40 p.m and look at these grounds – more than 1,000 people. Our crowd has been tremendous this weekend.
“We’ve been blessed with great weather all three days. This is a blessed event.”