ARLEY - With all the ice and snow we had this winter, some are looking forward to warmer weather. With warmer weather, outside activities begin in earnest. What is the best way to kick off summer you ask? Arley Day is a sure-fire way to do it.
Presented by the Arley Women’s Club, the 47th annual Arley Day Festival will be Saturday, May 15. AWC chairs for Arley Day are Johnna Bailey and Montie Pafford who are working to make this Arley Day fantastic.
The day will begin with a 5K run at 7 a.m., presented by the Meek High School Band of Champions. More details will be forthcoming on this event as the time gets closer.
One difference this year is the breakfast, which will be held in two locations, Bailey said. The community and pancake breakfasts will begin at 7 a.m. and last until 8:30 am.. The community breakfast will be at the Meek Baptist Church Fellowship Hall on Helicon Road, while the pancake breakfast will be sponsored by Arley First Baptist Church at the Arley Fire Department, also located on Helicon Road.
The parade line-up will be at Dollar General on County Road 41 south starting at 8 a.m., with the parade scheduled for 8:30 a.m..
“We’re still working on putting (the parade) together,” Bailey mentioned. “The chairperson this year has some really good ideas, and she’s already working on it. It should be just wonderful.”
The antique cars in the parade will then go to Hamner Memorial Park off of Helicon Road, where the rest of the festivities will be held, starting with the car show at 8:30 a.m..
“The cars in the parade really lead everybody to Arley Day,” Bailey continued. “That’s been a tradition. Everybody gets so excited about those cars. That mixed in with the floats and the bands and things like that make it a neat lead-in.”
At the park, there will be games, rides, arts and crafts, entertainment and food with a Kids’ Zone and Toddler Town, including water slides and a bungee trampoline.
“(Toddler Town) is going to be shaded for the little ones and will have a fence all the way around it,” Pafford explained. “It will be a nice little area. We’ll have things like floating ducks with prizes. We’ll have benches for the parents and grandparents to sit and watch them.”
All kids can participate free this year and will get free hotdogs, thanks to the sponsors who have donated enough money for this.
“Our sponsors were so generous last year,” Pafford added.
The entertainment portion is still in the works, though a DJ will be there. Country and bluegrass musicians and bands are currently being sought. Additionally, a cornhole tournament is expected, along with a putting area.
“There is a lot of excitement,” Bailey said. “We’re headed for the best Arley Day ever.”
What began as one of the most promising Arley Day’s ever before was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Arley Day Festival had been held consecutively every year for 46 years prior to 2020, all the way back to the founding of the Arley Women’s Club. This year will be the 47th Arley Day in 48 years.
“It will be a celebration, after the pandemic and everybody being stuck at home,” Bailey said. “We’ll be celebrating the community.”
Last year’s sponsors were given a choice of the AWC earmarking the money they donated toward this year’s event or getting a refund, AWC President Barbara Wills said.
“A number of them said to hold it to this year, so that which was given last year has been held for a whole year for this year,” Wills continued. “More said to keep it for next year rather than ask for it back.”
“We’re adapting (to the pandemic situation),” Wills said. “One of our rides is putting too many kids together, so we’re going to do something different. We’re hoping when May rolls around and enough vaccinations get out, maybe things will (be better).
“We’re excited to be able to offer this to the community,” Wills continued. “We’re grateful our supporters have continued to support us over the last year and we’re able to continue to do this as a gift to the community.”
Vendors wishing to participate should fill out the application, which can be found on the “Arley Day 2021” Facebook page.
The festival, car show and parade have been the pivotal event in fundraising activities for the AWC, a non-profit group which gives back to the community throughout the year with multiple projects.
For more information, contact the AWC at email@example.com or find them on Facebook.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.