Annual festival just hours away

Published 12:59 pm Friday, October 25, 2013


Escambia Academy and Escambia County High School may have already had their official homecomings, but for many Atmore natives, the annual Williams Station Day is like “another homecoming.”

“Williams Station Day has almost become a homecoming for people who lived in Atmore and then maybe moved away later,” said Sheryl Vickery, executive director of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce. “People might only come back to Atmore one time each year, and that’s to celebrate Williams Station Day.”

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Vickery said it’s unclear how many people visit the festival each year, because there is no admission and no way to keep track of attendance, but she estimates that more than 10,000 visitors come to the event. This year’s event is the 22nd annual Williams Station Day.

“We try to make it bigger and better each year,” Vickery said. “It’s definitely something that everybody looks forward to.”

The fun kicks off with a 5-K run at 8 a.m., and the official opening ceremony for the festival is at 9 a.m. The proceedings will include a presentation of the colors by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and local Boy Scouts. The Rev. Debora Bishop will give the opening prayer, and Felecia Bishop will sing the national anthem.

Atmore Mayor Jim Staff will read a proclamation declaring the festival open, and then chamber president Ellis Beachy will welcome everyone to the 22nd annual Williams Station Day.

Throughout the day, there will be music and other kinds of entertainment. Some of the acts will perform at the main stage, which will be located in front of the Atmore Area YMCA, while others will be at the bluegrass tent and children’s activities will be at the Atmore Public Library tent.

Along Pensacola Avenue, from approximately the intersection with Craig Street to the intersection with Owens Street, there will be countless arts and crafts vendors as well as several tasty food options. Local artists and artisans will be selling a variety of wares, including handmade items and home-baked goods.

Vickery said the Atmore Public Library tent is a new feature to this year’s Williams Station Day, replacing the old Storytelling Tent. One of the planned activities includes a game fashioned after the “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” game show, where kids will try to prove they know more questions than adults. The games will be at 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.

There will also be performances by the Greater Escambia Council for the Arts, and presentations of book writing winners from the various schools. At the end of the day, Tillie the Turtle will give children a lesson about preventing litter, at 2:30 p.m.

“We’re going to try it this year and maybe expand it every year,” she said. “I’m excited about some of the activities that are going to be held at the library stage.”

Vickery also said the classic car show will again be held, and this time the cars will be parked at Heritage Park throughout the day. There will be a hayride set up to take festival goers to and from the car show, she said.

Of course, one of the highlights of any Williams Station Day event is the main stage entertainment, and this year includes a familiar face.

The Alabama Blues Brothers are once again bringing their talents to Atmore, making their fourth appearance at Williams Station Day. They will start at noon at the main stage. Another famous Huntsville-area band, Microwave Dave and Nukes, will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day, the main stage will feature Adams Bartlett School of Dance at 9:20 a.m., Willie Hawthorne’s Gospel Choir at 10 a.m. and advanced twirlers from Twirl Times at 11 a.m. Later in the afternoon, Down Home Bluegrass will close out the main stage’s musical entertainment at 3 p.m.

No matter your taste in food, art, or music, Williams Station Day is certain to have something for you. Come out and enjoy the fun Saturday, Oct. 26.