• Lisa Frieman, Executive Director

Down Home Days Slam Dunks for Exercise


Basketball leaps to stacking Jeeps to beauty queens

and "Slam Dunk for Exercise" parade scenes!

Tobacco Free Madison presents the 34th Annual Down Home Days Festival, Parade and Celebrity Basketball Game April 16-18 in Madison.

On Festival and Parade Day, April 18, roads will be closed on Range Avenue and U.S. 90 along Four Freedoms Park from 5 a.m. until approximately 6 p.m. to allow for safe walking throughout the Festival area. The Festival takes place from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

The 2015 Festival is a mix of arts, food, delightful Pet and Frog Hop Contests, Rock Wall, mechanical bull and bounce houses, as well as crazy Jeeps stacking in the Parade just like they do in Orlando. The parade theme this year is “Slam-Dunk for Exercise.”

The NFCC Colin P. Kelly Fitness Center gets started at 7:30 a.m. on April 18, registering Down Home Days 1K and 5K Run/Walk participants at the NFCC Fitness Center. Tyler Coody, Coordinator of Fitness and Wellness, recently previewed the new route for participants.

Plenty of laughter accompanies two nights of Down Home Days Celebrity Basketball with three former Harlem Globetrotters, Melvin Adams, Alex Sanders and Mike St. Julien. Melvin Adams is still listed by Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest dribbler in the world. The Championship 3 on 3 Game takes place on April 17 at 7 p.m. at the Madison County Central School gym. The winning players will be chosen at an April 16 tournament at 4 p.m. and spectators are welcomed.

On April 18, the Celebrity Versus Seniors All-Star Game brings student basketball players from Madison, Taylor, Lafayette, Suwannee, Jefferson and Hamilton County High Schools together at 7 p.m. against the former Harlem Globetrotters, who will be teamed up with community adults at MCCS gym. Tickets for both nights are $10 age 4 and up, available at the door or in advance at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, 316 SW Pinckney Street across from Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant.

Grand Sponsor Nestle Waters invites festival-goers to see the free 53-foot WaterVentures, Florida’s Learning Lab, which will set up on S.W. Pinckney Street in front of the Courthouse Annex. Families will enjoy the environmental exhibits in this beautiful, interactive science lab.

Watch for Jeeps “stacking” in the Down Home Days Parade at intersections on U.S. 90. This is how they have fun by driving up each other’s wheels and then backing down again. Parade floats and vehicles will line up at 8:30 a.m. at North Florida Community College, behind O’Neal’s Restaurant, and head east down U.S. 90 past Four Freedoms Park to disperse.

Steve and Carol Touchton expects several Jeep Clubs to show up with surfboards and “you name it” on their Jeeps to celebrate this year’s theme, Slam-Dunk for Exercise. Madison Christian Academy’s parade float has a definite exercise theme and students will be all about sports. You may even see a beauty queen with a tennis racket or volleyball!

Tri-County Electric Cooperative sponsors the Parade, which will head down U.S. 90 in front of Four Freedoms Park and then pairs off onto side streets.

Madison County Community Bank once again is sponsoring the stunning Antique & Classic Car Show around Four Freedoms Park. “We’ve prepared 35 door prizes and goodie bags,” said Edward Meggs, MCCB president, for show participants. Registration is 9 a.m. on NW Range Avenue. The cash and prize drawing is 2 p.m. One green Mustang owner in Madison said he can’t wait to see the cars again this year and sightsee them all. Contact Edward Meggs (850) 973-2400 or Sputter Ragans (850) 973-2745 for details to enter a vehicle. CenturyLink is another corporate Down Home Days sponsor and they’ll have an information booth downtown for interested festival-goers.

The Frog Hop Contest sponsored by Clerk of Court Tim Sanders and Dr. John Lewis of Madison Veterinary Clinic is heating up for 1:30 p.m., April 18, at the Madison County Courthouse on U.S. 90. Owners and their frogs will be registered at 1 p.m. This event brings a crowd and lots of hopefuls for the Grand Champion Hop-Off. Last year’s winner, “Ribbit,” owned by Hudson Oslowski, hopped 3.16 feet! Trophies and prizes will be awarded in several divisions, children to adult.

For anyone who considers himself or herself a King of the Grill, the Down Home Days BBQ Cook-Off is Thursday, April 16, in Four Freedoms Park in downtown Madison. The Cook-Off is sponsored by Tobacco Free Madison and hosted by Boyz to Kings. For BBQ cooks, it’s a $50 entry fee, chicken provided. Call the Chamber to sign up – this fundraiser limited to 10 participants. First place is $100; second place $50. After judging on April 16, BBQ dinners will be available for $6 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. during the Pet Contest.

The Madison Veterinary Clinic Grooming Department sponsors the delightful Pet Contest in Four Freedoms Park Thursday evening, April 16, a well-attended event that brings out the best in pets and their owners. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m.; the competition begins at 6 p.m.

The Becky’s Dance Steps Studio Recital begins after the Citizen of the Year announcement on Friday night, April 17, at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse Annex. “We’re doing a very unique theme, iDance, it’s all about apps,” explained Becky Robinson. “Every dance is centered around apps on an iPhone.” She said the dance team is hoping to perform their Ocean Adventure production with sailors, swab deck, pirates and tourists.

See the “Down Home Days” and “I Love Madison County Florida” Facebook pages for the latest schedule and updates.


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