Watch daredevil stunt pilots. Be spooked by ghost stories. Take a step back in time at the Heritage Festival. And enjoy the concerts of more country music artists than you can shake a stick at.
That’s what’s in store for Scott County’s Sizzlin’ September, and it all begins with Trails End Campground’s Labor Day weekend “Ridin’ Dirty” event, headlined by country superstar Travis Tritt.
“We’re super excited about our Sizzlin’ September,” said Stacey Kidd, executive director of the Scott County Chamber of Commerce. “This is our time to shine, with thousands of people visiting our region for the first time.”
While they’re here, Kidd said, first-time guests will experience the beauty of the Cumberlands, from the stately Cumberland Mountains that border Scott County on its east side, to the scenic Big South Fork of the Cumberland River that borders Scott County on its west side.
“These people come to Scott County to enjoy the great shows that are tourism partners are presenting, but while they’re here, they discover that there is so much more for them to do,” Kidd said.
From the 125,000-acre Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area that encompasses the Big South Fork River to the historic Victorian English village of Rugby, there is much to occupy guests. The BSF is America’s only national park to receive the International Mountain Bike Association’s coveted “epic” rating for its bike trails, and also offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails, equestrian trails, campgrounds, backcountry camping, whitewater rapids for paddlers and lots of rock for rock climbers. Historic Rugby is a quaint English village that borders the park on one side, while the Big South Fork Scenic Railway on the other side of the park allows guests to take a train ride back in time to when coal was king in this region.
Here is the complete itinerary for Sizzlin’ September:
First weekend: Trails End Campground is the sight of the third annual Ridin’ Dirty event on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-5. The campground is situated on River Road in Huntsville and offers access to hundreds of miles of ATV trails in the 145,000-acre North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.
Travis Tritt will headline Ridin’ Dirty, but he’ll be joined by several other high-profile country music artists, including David Lee Murphy and Halfway to Hazard.
The 52-year-old Tritt is a two-time Grammy winner, a four-time CMA winner and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1992. He has also appeared on a number of movies and television shows.
Tritt’s rock-country style has produced several hit songs over the year, including his 1989 debut, “Country Club,” which reached No. 9 on the U.S. Country charts.
Tritt’s follow-up single, “Help Me Hold On,” was his first No. 1 hit, and he took “I’m Gonna Be Somebody” to No. 2 on the charts in 1990.
His sophomore album, It’s All About to Change, produced several more Top 5 hits in 1991, including “Drift Off to Dream,” “Here’s A Quarter,” “Anymore,” and “The Whisky Ain’t Workin’.”
Other big hits over the years have included “Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man” and “Can I Trust You With My Heart” in 1992, “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” in 1993, “Foolish Pride” in 1994, “Tell Me I Was Dreaming” and “Sometimes She Forgets” in 1995, and “More Than You’ll Ever Know” and “Where Corn Don’t Grow” in 1996.
Joining Tritt on the stage Saturday night, Sept. 5, will be Halfway to Hazard, David Lee Murphy and Luke Combs.
Halfway to Hazard is an up-and-coming country music band from Hazard, Ky. Their debut single, “Daisy,” was a Top 40 hit on U.S. country radio. The group recently filmed the music video for a new song, “American Outlaw,” on location at Scott County’s Possum Trot resort.
David Lee Murphy is best known for his 1995 smash hit, “Dust on the Bottle,” but he is also known for a couple of other Top 10 hits — “Every Time I Get Around you” and “The Road You Leave Behind,” both in 1996. His debut came in 1994 with “Just Once,” from the 8 Seconds movie soundtrack. It was a Top 40 hit on country radio.
In 2004, Murphy took “Loco” to No. 5 on the U.S. Country charts.
Luke Combs is a 25-year-old aspiring country artist from Boone, N.C. He recently opened for The Eli Young Band in Georgia. Country Music North called him “one of the most promising young talents in country music.”
On Friday night, Sept. 4, local artist Chloe Litton will appear on stage, along with Nashville’s mother-daughter trio Lucy Angel.
Second weekend: Scott County Airport will host the annual Wings Over the Big South Fork air show on Saturday, Sept. 12.
“Wings” is the region’s largest air show, and admission is free.
The air show will include war birds, fighter jets and stunt planes, along with live music, food and merchant vendors and a classic car show with cash prizes. Gates open at 8 a.m. for the rain-or-shine event.
Third weekend: Brimstone Recreation in Huntsville will host Polaris Camp RZR on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18-19, for one of the nation’s premier ATV events. Riders from all over the country will come together for two days of adventure and family fun, with demo rides, activities, live music and $200,000 in prize giveaways.
Jake Owen will headline the event, taking the stage on Saturday, Sept. 19. Owen has emerged as one of Nashville’s biggest stars over the past decade, taking “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and “Alone With You” to the top of the country charts in 2011. Last year, he topped the charts again with “Beachin’.”
Owen’s third album, Barefoot Blue Jean Night shot all the way to the top of the country sales charts in 2012, and was certified gold with more than 430,000 copies sold. His follow-up album, Days of Gold hit the Top 5 on the charts in 2013, selling more than 215,000 copies.
Opening for Owen will be Old Dominion, a contemporary country band from Nashville with rock instrumentation and pop and hip-hop overtones. Old Dominion’s second single, “Break Up With Him,” peaked at No. 21 on the U.S. Country charts earlier this year.
On Friday, Sept. 18, Jon Pardi will appear in concert at Brimstone. The 30-year-old singer-songwriter from California is best known for his 2013 single, “Up All Night,” which peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard charts. He had two more singles that charted last year — “What I Can’t Put Down” and “When I’ve Been Drinkin’.” His debut studio album, Write You a Song, peaked at No. 3 on the U.S. country charts last year with 71,000 copies sold.
Also on Saturday, Sept. 19, Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area will host its annual Haunting in the Hills storytelling festival. The 23rd annual event will be held in the fields adjacent to Bandy Creek, with a fun-filled day of stories, music, crafts and more. The featured storytellers for 2015 are Carrie Sue Ayvar, Megan Hicks, Donna Washington and Dan Keding.
Fourth weekend: The Museum of Scott County will present its annual Heritage Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26.
As the nation’s only student-designed, student-built and student-curated museum, the Museum of Scott County is situated on the campus of Scott County High School in Huntsville. The main building contains artifacts from prehistoric times on the Cumberland Plateau, dating up through World War II and the coal mining days of the Cumberlands.
Adjacent to the main building is a second museum, the USS Tennessee Battleship Memorial Museum, with many artifacts from the battleship, which was damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor and later deployed to serve in World War II.
Outside is a sprawling museum grounds that forms a replica pioneer village, complete with buildings that were dismantled and restored on the property, livestock and farm equipment.
The Heritage Festival is free and lasts throughout the day with crafts, food vendors, and a variety of demonstrations, such as flint-knapping, rifle-making and soap-making.