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  • Writer's pictureCheré Dastugue Coen

10 Weird Ways to Begin Summer

Looking for something to do now that summer's here?

May 19-21

Kyle Fair: A Tex-Travaganza, Kyle, Texas

You don’t have to be named Kyle to enjoy this festival that includes everything from a Ribs and Rita Competition (meat and margaritas) to arts and crafts and music. But the real fun at this three-day event at Lake Kyle Park is the annual World Record attempt of the Gathering of the Kyles. So, if you are named Kyle, be sure and help them achieve world status.

May 19-20, 2023

Ice Cream and A Moovie, Bowling Green, Kentucky

We all scream for Chaney’s Dairy Barn’s summer family movie schedule. It begins this weekend with the film “Puss n Boots” and, best of all, it’s free admission! Bring lawn chairs or blankets, but leave outside food and drink at home. Movies start at dusk but gates open at 5:30 p.m. If the kids get restless, Cheney's offers $3.99 kids meals and a jumping pillow for $2 a pop. Come back during normal hours for farm tours and fresh ice cream from Jersey cows.

May 19-21, 2023

"Kenny & Dolly in Harmony," Wytheville, Virginia

The small town of Wytheville, Va., has a big secret — the amazing Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre, a German-themed dinner theatre that produces outstanding shows. The performance space offers ongoing musicals and special events and this weekend it’s a tribute to country music legends Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.

May 20, 26-27, 2023

Ghosts of Staunton, Staunton, Virginia

Who needs to wait for Halloween when you can have spirited fun now? Walking ghost tours are presented yearly in the Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton, Va., and summer schedules are being finalized. But you may learn about who haunts the Blue Ridge Mountain town in the last of the 90-minute spring tours.

May 26-Labor Day, 2023

Rock City's Summer Music Weekends, Lookout Mountain, Georgia

Rock City’s Summer Music Weekends returns with live country, folk and bluegrass music from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer. There's also Matt Downer (top photo), the Old Time Traveler, playing traditional American folk music on several instruments, including his one-of-a-kind “See Rock City” banjo, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Look for Amber Carrington, a top-five finalist on season four of NBCs “The Voice,” singing several covers and originals on Fridays; master drummer and Ghana-native Kofi Mawuko Saturdays; and the Highbeams, an Atlanta-based folk-rock trio performing on Sundays.

May 27 and July 1, 2023

Rockin’ the Docks, Lenoir City, Tennessee

Welcome summer at Fort Loudoun Lake for this annual event that features a wide array of live music, food and children’s activities not once but twice during the warm weather months — Memorial Day Weekend and July Fourth Weekend. Just don’t leave until the fireworks, which are lit on both summer evenings.

June 2-4, 2023

JACKALOPE, Virginia Beach, Virginia

After skateboarding 3,000 miles cross-country, skateboarder Chad Caruso will arrive at Neptune’s Park in Virginia Beach on Friday, May 19, 2023, in time for the first edition of JACKALOPE, a Montreal-based, action sports event expanding this year to Virginia Beach for the first time. Once Chad completes his trip, he also will be a Guinness World Record holder for the fastest crossing of America on a manually powered skateboard for a male. JACKALOPE festival will include world-class competitions and demonstrations by world-renowned skateboarders and boulderers, plus BASE jumpers leaping from atop the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront hotel.

June 2-4, 2023

Dixie Highway Yard Sale, North Georgia

This annual 90-mile yard sale closely follows the original Dixie Highway through northwest Georgia. Locations include the cities of Ringgold, Tunnel Hill, Rocky Face, Dalton, Resaca, Calhoun, Adairsville, Cassville, Cartersville, Emerson, Acworth, Kennesaw and Marietta.

June 2-4, 2023

Gheens Bon Mangé Festiva, Gheens, Louisiana

Don’t worry, we’ll tell you what it means. Bon Mangé in French means “good eats” and that’s what you’ll find in this annual Cajun Bayou festival. The early June fete includes freshly made Louisiana dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya and seafood derived from the state’s wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico. Ça c'est bon, y'all!

June 3-Aug. 20, 2023

Barter Theater’s 90th Season, Abingdon, Virginia

Nestled in the quaint town of Abingdon lies a jewel, the longest-running professional Equity theatre and one of the last professional resident repertory theaters in the country. And the Barter offers a great list of productions for summer, beginning with “Footloose” starting in June. But there’s more. Check out the exciting 2023 season schedule online.

And lagniappe....which means a little something extra.

June 6, 2023

Children of the RMS Titanic, Branson, Missouri

There were 135 children on board the fateful voyage of Titanic, with ages ranging from 9 weeks to 15 years, and the Titanic Museum of Branson will honor their stories with an exhibit this summer. But on June 6, the museum welcomes Joan Marie Pope Randall, the youngest of four children of a Titanic survivor. Randall, her son and grandson will watch as her mother’s shoes — worn on the night of April 14 and 15, 1912 — are put on display as part of the exhibit. Her mother Louise Gretchen Kink was just 4 years old when she boarded the ship. That's her at lower left with her mother, also named Louise, and three survivors from the Sandstrom family. Young Louise is wearing the shoes that will be put on display at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson on June 6.

Credit: Joan Randall family photo.

Weird, Wacky & Wild South is written by Cheré Dastugue Coen, who always brakes for a weird, wacky and wild Southern festival.

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