“Those were the days ...” was the theme for this year’s Viola Valley Homecoming. The two-day event offered favorites from yesteryear and remembered those who have passed.
“We have lost some beloved members of our community this year,” said Kevin Deason, who presided over Friday night’s On the Road Again Show. “It hasn’t been a good year for Viola.”
Along with Viola native Katherine Gaffin, the community lost Viola Mayor and Viola Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Lawrence on May 5, 2013 and Douglas Jacobs on Dec. 30, 2012. While both men were former Viola Valley Commission presidents, Jacobs was also the Charlie Daniels impersonator during the On the Road Again Show.
Jacobs was honored prior to this year’s performance with a plaque given to his family.
“I have been with the show for 13 years,” said Deason. “Doug has been with the show for 35 years. This year’s show was very difficult. It felt like something was missing.”
The show went on and included Kenny Rogers and Dottie West by Tom and Marian Thaxton, Selena Gomez by Salem Sweeton, Miranda Lambert by Rhiannon Hoover, Thompson Square by Steven and Hillary Helton, Taylor Swift by Jamie Allison and Carrie Underwood by Ashley Silvus, just to name a few.
Bringing humor to the show was a performance Tyler Jones, Johnny Sweeton, and Kevin Deason as Soggy Bottom Boys. The trio took the stage in beards, overalls and bare feet and performed an upbeat rendition of “In Constant Sorrow.”
Both Lawrence and Jacobs were honored prior to opening ceremonies on Saturday morning with plaques which were given to the families.
“I appreciate this very much,” said Lawrence’s mother, Wanda. “Kevin never, ever wanted to leave Viola. He loved it here.”
Jacobs’ wife, Marian, says he loved performing as Charlie Daniels.
“He loved playing On the Road Again,” she said. “He worried about how he did. He would always ask how he did. I always said, ‘You did great.’”
Saturday’s activities included a parade, mini-pedal pull, sheepherding, mule show, a performance by the Pioneerettes dance team, music by Monti Swann & Friends, and exhibits of vintage cars, antique tractors, a modular train and new and old farm equipment.
Winning first place in the parade was the float by Covenant Fellowship, with second going to Gen. Coffee Button Club. The parade also included four wheelers, tractors, mules, Warren County High School Color Guard, WCHS Pioneer Band and Pioneerettes.