The Hazel Day Celebration began in 1989 - by accident! There was an event scheduled in downtown Murray for the first Saturday in October, with arts, crafts, and food vendors setting up for the occasion. Through a miscommunication, the event was not approved by the city of Murray. Rather than cancel the event, then-Mayor of Hazel Dan Farris welcomed the vendors to set up in Hazel instead.
The event proved to be a success, and a committee was formed to plan and host Hazel Day as a yearly event. Hazel Day 2018 will begin on Friday, October 5 from 5:30 - 8pm with the band Sticky Sweet Sugar Beats and participating vendors. The band will be located at the Fire station with bleachers and seating.
On Saturday October 6, the festivities kick off with a pancake breakfast held at Hazel United Methodist Church from 8 - 10 am - donations are welcomed. The car show registration also begins at 8am at the Hazel Community Center. Everyone looks forward to the parade which is scheduled for 10am.
Former members of the Hazel Volunteer Fire Department will be honored during the celebration.
Hazel Day Committee Chair Alli Robertson told me that the role of grand marshal is typically reserved for those who have had a profound impact on the community.
“As this year saw the dissolution of the volunteer department, I felt the role should be extended to every past member of the department as a way to honor their contributions to Hazel,” explained Robertson.
“We usually choose one person or a couple that has had an impact on the city of Hazel and we give those people a little bit of special treatment. They ride in the parade and we have a grand marshal presentation at noon. This year, because the department has, unfortunately, been dissolved; we decided this would be the perfect time to honor all of those past members who have given so much time and dedication to the City of Hazel.” The department had been established for 100 years.
“That is 100 years of people that we are honoring, and that is a really big deal,” said Robertson. “And all of these people were volunteers - they gave freely of their time and were away from their families. Not to mention putting themselves in danger for the safety of others.”
Robertson said that all former members are invited to come join the parade. She said that there would be vehicles provided for them to ride, but that they could bring their own should they desire.
“If they are interested in joining us at the parade, all they need to do is show up at the Hazel Cemetery on Third Street at 9:30 am that morning for the lineup,” she told me. “The grand marshal presentation will be at noon right in front of the fire station.”
Robertson said that at that time, a plaque would be presented to the entire former department. The plaque will then be placed near a tree which is to be planted at the Hazel Community Center near the flagpole
From 8am - 4pm there will be many vendors at Hazel Day. Shop for arts and crafts, flea market items, food, and other merchandise. Hazel Day is a celebration for everyone in the town and there will be sales at the local shops. Kid friendly activities include bounce houses (10 am - 4 pm) and a petting zoo (open 11am - 3pm)
Local band, Nightfish will be playing classic rock with a bluesy beat on the stage at the firehouse from 11am - 4pm.
From 11am - 1pm you can participate in a Cake Walk. Local businesses donate all sorts of great sweet cakes. Every entrant picks a number and then plays a modified game of musical chairs - the winners get to take home a cake!
Bella’s is a store featuring handcrafted furniture and art by skilled artisans from western Kentucky and Tennessee. They will be hosting live demonstrations by several of their vendors during Hazel Day. Hazel Folk Art Gallery will be open so be sure to stop by and meet owner Glenn E. Newman. In honor of Hazel Day local restaurants Blue and White Grill and Cole Bush Barbeque will feature special items on their menus..
There is still vendor space available. If you have any questions about any Hazel Day events or would like to become a vendor, contact Alli Hillard Robertson at 270.293.8985.
Hazel is a small town in western Kentucky, located on the Kentucky/Tennessee state line. It is a class six city, which is the smallest classification of incorporated cities. The origin of the town’s name is a matter of debate; it was either named for the hazel groves that were once plentiful there, or was named after the daughter of Samuel Dees, who established the post office and Dees Bank of Hazel.
Founded in 1890, this now quaint community was once a booming railroad town that boasted two banks, a car dealership, two popcorn factories, a jail, two hotels, a school, and a newspaper (hazelky.com).
Today, Hazel includes 12 antique and specialty stores, a restaurant, a bank, and two gas stations. According to Mayor Kerry Vasseur, Hazel has become known as the “antique capital of mid-America”. Hazel is home to 410 people (US Census Bureau, 2010a) and is one of only two incorporated cities in Calloway County.