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A great weekend…

Last weekend, my family traveled down to the Smoky Mountains to visit some good ol’ boys (and a good ol’ girl) from a little place called Hazzard County. Seven stars from the Dukes of Hazzard were at the Smoky Mountains Fan Fest: Coy and Daisy Duke, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, Deputies Enos Strate and Cletus Hogg, the mechanic Cooter Davenport, and Sheriff Little from Chickasaw County. My boys and I enjoyed meeting the cast members of one of the greatest television programs ever produced, and got several autographs to boot.

Joshua got his new Dukes of Hazzard “01” baseball cap signed by all 7 stars, while he had his mother get a few signatures on an old Dukes trading card…

Derek got a few signatures on a coloring book that I gave him…

And I had five of the Hazzardians sign my season 5 box (the only season that Coy and Vance were on the show)…

To be honest, we were quite disappointed Saturday morning when we got there. Sure, there were a ton of General Lee cars parked out front, and a few Hazzard sheriff cars, a couple of Roadrunners, Daisy’s Jeep, and even a Chickasaw County cruiser. Once inside, we made a beeline to Coy’s line because that’s who Joshua wanted first. We hopped over to Rosco from there, then Cooter. Cooter’s line was extremely long, and took quite a bit of time to get through it because Ben Jones was visiting with everyone. He sat and talked to my boys for a good 3-4 minutes while signing our items, and he didn’t charge for a single thing (more on charging later).

What disappointed us most was the lack of stuff to do. Yeah, they had a few stars signing and taking pictures, but that was it during the day. No vendors, no activities, nothing. We left after getting the three autographs in the morning to check into the hotel and eat. Joshua and I went back during the evening to get more autographs (Enos, Cletus, and Sheriff Little) and check out Cooter’s Garage Band. The next day, we returned to get Daisy’s signature and headed out.

The tickets were somewhat expensive, some of the stars charged for their autographs on top of the ticket price, and there was nothing else to do. I don’t know if it was poor organization or if my expectations were just too high, but I was not impressed with the event at all. As mentioned, Cooter did not charge for anything, and was just a genuinely kind person. Coy and Daisy both signed the first item for free, then charged $5 after that. I’m okay with that. But Rosco, Enos, Cletus, and even Sheriff Little all charged $5 per signature, and more if you wanted a posed photo with your own camera! That’s why we only had Cletus and Sheriff Little sign one item, and Enos only two. I love these guys, but I already dropped more than $50 just to get in the door.

Merle Haggard was scheduled to perform Saturday night, but due to health issues had to cancel out. Janie Fricke and Cooter’s Garage Band still played, and Cooter put on a great show. That was probably the best part of the event.

In all, I enjoyed it (despite what you might deduce from the above complaints). I’m not sure if I would spend that much money on it again (I probably would), but I hope that if they continue doing these they add more activities to occupy the time in between autographs.

Here are some videos from Cooter’s Garage Band…

“Mama Tried”

“Good Ol’ Boys”

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