‘Ham’ it up this weekend

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Country ham breakfast, the Turtleman, a Moonshiner and much more... the weekend is jam-packed with events

By Stephen Lega

Just in case you forgot, Marion County Country Ham Days returns to downtown Lebanon this weekend, Sept. 28-29.
Ham Days has a little bit of everything, whether its grabbing a bite to eat, taking in a parade, playing games or just listening to some music. Visitors can even meet “The Turtleman” Ernie Brown Jr. of Animal Planet’s “Call of the Wildman”, and Tim Smith, of the Discovery Channel show, “Moonshiners”.
“It’s going to be a packed weekend,” said Stacy Mattingly, Marion County Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Links to a map and a schedule of events are available on the chamber website at http://www.lebanon-ky.com/hamdays.html.
The Funtime Carnival opens Friday at 6 p.m., and the MIKE FM Battle of the Bands will also take place at 7 p.m. at Centre Square.
The Dunn Chrysler Country Ham Breakfast will take place Saturday and Sunday mornings, and Mattingly said they still need volunteers to help in the breakfast tent. Anyone interested in volunteering
should call the chamber office at (270) 692-9594.
Nearly 700 runners have pre-registered for this year’s Farmers National Bank Pokey Pig 5K, which will start and end on Main Street.
Kids games and contests will be held at St. Augustine School as well as on and around the Maker’s Mark/Kentucky Cooperage Main Stage.
Stick around for the hog calling contest and the auction of this year’s champion ham before the start of the Pigasus Parade at 1 p.m.
The Turtleman will make a brief appearance on stage after the parade, and he’ll return for a meet-and-greet in front of the David R. Hourigan Government Building from 4 to 8 p.m. Turtleman fans may also want to know that the Marion County Heritage Center just received a new shipment of youth large Turtleman t-shirts. (Other sizes are available as well.)
Smith will be appearing at Limestone Branch Distillery from 2 to 5 p.m. Limestone Branch makes Smith’s Climax moonshine in addition to their Sugar Shine varieties.
Music lovers can take in or even participate in a karaoke contest or take in a show by Elvis impersonator Caleb Brown on the Main Stage.
The music continues Sunday with performances by John Mikkiah Thompson (an 18-year-old with autism who did not speak until he was 8 years old), The Honeysuckle String Band, and No Deceit.
On Sunday morning, antique tractors will be on display at the Hourigan Building, and Main Street will fill up with classic cars and trucks during the State Farm Insurance Erica Barnes-Agent Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show.
That afternoon, kids can sign up for the pedal pull contest, and anyone can take a heave during the hay bale toss contest.
And throughout the weekend, arts and crafts will be available from a number of vendors.
“Hopefully, it’ll be another successful Ham Days,” Mattingly said.

Added attractions
While not officially part of the Ham Days festivities, visitors will have some new entertainment options Saturday evening.
Starting at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, anyone can stop by Popes Creek Ranch for the Turtleman Live Action Corn Maze. The turtle-shaped maze will be open each Friday and Saturday through the end of October. For more information, call (502) 330-3027.
Cedarwood Restaurant is hosting a Classic Car Cruise-In on Friday evening.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, the Ham Days Tractor Pull will take place at the Marion County Fairgrounds. This is part of the Battle of the Bluegrass Pulling Series.
Tom McConnell, CEO of the pulling series, said they anticipate having nearly 100 pullers in several classes, including semis, diesel trucks and “smoke blowing Super Stock and Hot Farm Tractors.”
Anyone looking for a laugh can stop by Centre Square at 8 p.m. Saturday. Kentucky Classic Theatre is presenting a Night of Comedy featuring three family-friendly comedians. The headliner is Joey I.L.O., who has performed across the United States and Canada, and has been a regular performer in Branson, Mo. 
Other performers include Keith McGill of Louisville, who has performed on Royal Caribbean Cruises, BET, CMT and the Bob and Tom Show, and CJ Harlow, who grew up in Campbellsville. Harlow said the show will be a homecoming of sorts, and this weekend’s show may be the first of multiple performances in Lebanon.
He also stressed that the Night of Comedy will be clean.
“It’s a total PG show,” Harlow said. “You can bring the family. You don’t have to worry about anything inappropriate.”