UNCLE DAVE MACON DAYS How It All Began . . .
Dave Macon Days began as an afternoon banjo picking’ contest. Uncle Dave Macon Days started on the East side of the Rutherford County courthouse in July of 1978. Jesse Messick and David “Ramsey” Macon, a grandson of Uncle Dave Macon, started Dave Macon Days. The two men planned the event over a lunchtime sandwich at a nearby drugstore. Organizers painted signs on large plywood boards advertising the ‘Banjo Pickin’ Contest.
Messick owned the local Martin Rexall Drug Store on the north side of the square. He was looking for a way to bring business to the area. He remembered, how in the past, the historic square buzzed with activity on Saturday when local folks came to town.
The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted The Dixie Dewdrop in 1966. They often enjoyed perching on a courtyard monument and playing the banjo. Holding a little music gathering on the square was a grand way to have fun and keep Macon’s memory alive.
Messick set out to raise some operating funds and asked his neighboring merchants to contribute $25. Members of the Macon family assisting with emceeing and registration duties the festival was born. George Parrish, a local newspaper columnist oversaw the publicity.
Gloria Shacklett Christy took over the director responsibilities in 1984 and continues in that role. The event moved off the square in 1989 to Cannonsburgh due to increasing crowds. Murfreesboro established Cannonsburg as a United States Bicentennial restored pioneer village project.
UNCLE DAVE MACON DAYS TODAY
Today, the three-day, family-oriented event is recognized as one of the premier traditional music and dance festivals. It consistently is selected as one of the top 20 events in the southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. More than $10,000 in prize money is awarded; it is home to three national championships in Old-Time Banjo, Old-Time Clogging and Old-Time Buckdancing. During the weekend there is an arts and crafts show, “Motorless Parade,” children’s activities, historic demonstrators, gospel and shape-note singing, an historic photo exhibit and more, designed for everyone to enjoy themselves.
Below are a few pictures from this year’s festival: