If you are wondering what all the “hollerin’” is about, then you obviously have not heard that the North Carolina Hollerin’ Contest in Spivey’s Corner ended last year. Those in the hollerin’ community did not take that news quietly. Instead, they raised an alarm that a cultural tradition could be lost, and their voice was heard all the way up to New York City.
Hollerin’ champions from the past made a visit to The Late Show, which hosted its first Hollerin’ Contest. The attention garnered from that and other media events convinced Robbie Goodman, a former Army paratrooper, to put on his boots and get to work organizing the Worldwide Hollerin’ Contest on Oct. 8 at Paradise Acres in the Gray’s Creek community.
Goodman and other champions from the Hollerin’ Contest came together to save the event, which represents a fine southern tradition. Forming a board and a non-profit organization wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but the group succeeded and is planning a party that you won’t soon forget.
The original event was launched in 1969, putting Spivey’s Corner on the world stage. The first contest was held in June 1969 at Midway High School, and it fast became a summer tradition for many. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when there were people like Tom T. Hall and Dolly Parton singing at the contest, it hosted upwards of 5,000 people and extended to almost a week.
Goodman was 10 years old when he brought out his trademark siren and hollered his lungs out in Spivey’s Corner to the delight of the judges, who crowned him the junior champion. That was in 1978. Now, nearly four decades later, Goodman is taking the lead to save the event.
“Hollerin’,” a traditional form of communication used in rural areas to convey long-distance messages, is considered by some to be the earliest form of communication between humans. “Hollers” exist for virtually any communicative purpose imaginable. The hollers featured at the World Wide Hollerin’ festival fall into one of these four categories: distress, functional, communicative or pleasure.
The multi-year teen champion of the National Hollerin’ Festival, Ivy Hinson, hails from Fayetteville. For a great sampling of hollerin’, watch her in the 2009 competition here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUShkSKAMPg.
The World Wide Hollerin’ Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 8. Admission is $3 per person, and visitors are invited to bring their chairs, blankets and coolers and enjoy the contest on the 12-acre Paradise Acres facility. Music, food, contests, crafts and more are on the agenda for this special day.
Entertainment will be provided by Cumberland County Line Bluegrass. From the Piedmont Region of North Carolina and with a style reminiscent of the old bluegrass groups of the past, Cumberland County Line bluegrass offers a mixture of traditional Bluegrass and gospel music. Between playing great music and telling a few tall tales along the way, the group does its best to stir up memories, cause a laugh or two and lift your faith in Jesus Christ.
Eighty percent of the proceeds from the event are donated to Wags4Tags, an organization that matches trained shelter dogs with veterans suffering from psychological and emotional injuries. More information: www.Wags4Tags.org
For more information on the festival, go to www.WorldwideHollerinFestival.org or call 910-633-4735.