Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

November 8, 2009

The Great Hahira Pick-In

Classic bluegrass festival returns for one last blast

HAHIRA — The sounds of fiddles, banjos and violins could be heard along the streets of downtown Hahira Saturday as folks young and old celebrated the return of the Great Hahira Pick-In.

People gathered around the Mountain Stage site, set up campsites and brought lounge chairs to enjoy the bluegrass festival for the last time.

The event, sponsored by Harveys Supermarket, allowed bluegrass lovers to enjoy one more pick-in before the company begins construction on a new grocery store at the site.

The new Harveys store is part of the Gateway to Hahira project, which includes commercial development along Ga. Hwy 122.

Attendees relished tunes from bluegrass performers such as Marty Raybon, Valerie Smith, Liberty Pike, Red and Chris Henry, Thin Ice, Volume Five, the Cross Creek Cloggers and the Hahira Bluegrass Band, which features one of the Pick-In’s founders, Wilby Coleman.

Throughout the day, each group brought its own unique blend of instrumental variations, chord progressions and multi-pitch harmony, creating an atmosphere filled with traditional bluegrass music.

As the bands performed, festival attendees could be seen lounging and singing along to the music. Benjamin Dane and his girlfriend, Tracey, both of Atlanta, were found among that crowd.

“This has been a fantastic experience,” Cowart said. “We’re glad we had the opportunity to park our RV and just relax to some good music today.”

The festival began at 10 a.m. Saturday and ended around 11 p.m.

“Harveys was pleased and delighted to be able to give the people one last Pick-In,” said Avery Walden of Southern Allied, the contractor over the Gateway project. “At least 3,000 to 4,000 people have come out to the festival and we could not ask for a better turnout.”

The Great Hahira Pick-In was an annual event from 1980 through 1995.

Wilby Coleman, members of his family and others booked bluegrass acts from various cities and states to perform. Bluegrass performers arrived from all over and camped on the grounds or stayed in a nearby motel.

The Great Hahira Pick-In highlighted bluegrass during one of the music form’s valleys.

The Pick-Ins finally came to an end in 1995. The festivals drew good crowds, but the event never really recovered from one rainy year.

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