The festival, which has grown in popularity over the past 28 years including an 80,000-person attendance in 1998, will likely welcome tens of thousands of people from all over the country to Cadiz.
Highlighting the event are many different attractions including the regular amenities Ham Fest regulars enjoy. At the West Cadiz Park, carnival rides and games will be set up throughout the weekend for kids and all through the downtown area booths and vendors will be selling different things to those in attendance.
As it has been done since the beginning of the festival, the Miss Trigg County pageant will be held Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m. This year 29 girls will be competing for the Miss Trigg County crown, more than twice the number of contestants as last year.
Music to highlight festival
This year, several different musical talents will be gracing the stage for those who stroll Main Street during the festivities. Highlighting the musical brigade is Mike Snider who will take the main stage at Renaissance Square at 6 p.m. Saturday. Snider comes to Cadiz from Nashville where he has performed in the Grand Ole Opry, and been a member, since 1990.
Snider will be joined by his string band composed of two fiddles, a guitar, a banjo, a bass fiddle, and a mandolin, which Snider will be playing. Snider and his band have made hundreds of appearances on the former TNN’s Nashville Now and are regulars at the Grand Ole Opry. He also spent seven years in the “cornfield” of the syndicated television show “Hee Haw.” WSM radio disc jockey Eddie Stubbs said Snider and his band are “the best string band in the nation.”
Other musical talents will be venturing to Cadiz to entertain festival-goers. Tami Smith, a voice that attendees might recognize, will take the stage at 6 p.m. Friday. Smith’s most recent album, “Un-Signed,” was co-written and produced by some of the best in the music business. Her producers have also worked with superstars like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Carlos Santana.
Currently, she is working on another project while being a featured singer at BB King’s in Nashville, Tenn. She has already put several things on her performance résumé including national commercials, several major hotels in Las Vegas, and a special project with country music stars Paul Worley, The Dixie Chicks and Martina McBride.
An old-time, one-of-a-kind performance will also be here to entertain attendees with comedy, music and a tent. The Toby Tent Show featuring Maxine Lacey, portrayed by Dawn Larsen will take Renaissance stage just before Smith at 4 p.m. Friday.
Tent shows were common among rural communities until around 1960 when they were made obsolete by television and radio. At one time, there were 400 tent theater groups travelling the United States with an attendance larger than travelling Broadway shows. Larsen has taken the reigns of one of the last travelling tent shows in the country. Her show mocks the performances done by Lacey, who passed in 1996. The performance will include music, skits and comedy to entertain the audience. Her performance is funded in part by the Kentucky Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Booths, carnival food will line Main Street like years past
This year more booths will be lining Main Street from KY 139 up to Brown Street. The usual booths will be there including the fair food booths which will be selling funnel cakes, lemon shake-ups, corn dogs and the rest.
Unique food items will be Greek gyros, German frosted nuts, walking tacos and deep fried twinkies.
Vendors from all across the region will be having a booth at the festival. Everything from realtors to photographers will have a spot on Main Street. The West Kentucky Dream Machines Open Car Show will be held in the Cadiz Baptist Church parking lot at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Local dream machines as well as regional cars will be on display for the public.
Activities for kids are always popular with this Ham Fest being no different. The very popular Money in the Haystack contest will be Friday at 10 a.m. Participants are encouraged to arrive early. The 4-H sponsored Tractor Pedal Pull will also be held at the West Cadiz Park at 12 p.m.
And as usual the park will be filled with carnival rides and games that appear at every Ham Festival. Rides will begin taking tickets Friday.
At the end of festivities on Friday and Saturday, fireworks will say goodbye to each day at the park as well. Fireworks will begin at 8 p.m. both nights. There will be no charge to watch the display.
To say farewell to the festival all together, The Grand Finale Parade will march down Main Street Sunday at 3 p.m. Participants will be required to line up for the parade at 2:30 p.m. A change to this year’s parade will prohibit horses from being ridden in the parade. Four-wheelers will also be prohibited. Participants will be required to sign up for the parade prior to the parade, no one will be permitted to simply show up and participate.