By Joel Hall
The City of Jonesboro is celebrating its heritage, history and its 150th birthday Saturday.
Jonesboro Days, the city's annual celebration, will take place all day this Saturday in front of the Jonesboro Firehouse Museum and Community Center.
The event, scheduled from 11 a.m., to 8 p.m., will feature various musical acts, free barbecue, drinks, hot dogs and hamburgers, and a guest appearance by the Bandit Run 2009. The event will conclude with a concert by local band Frankley Scarlett.
West Mill Street in Jonesboro, between North Main Street and Lee Street, will be blocked off on Saturday for the event.
Jonesboro City Councilman Billy Powell, the event's organizer, said Jonesboro Days has been a tradition in the city for about 12 years. He said the city is attempting to make this year's event much bigger because of the number of years being observed.
"It's kind of interesting to sit down and look at the way things were 150 years ago," Powell said. "In the past, [the event has] been a good time for the old people who lived here to come and re-acquaint, and the people who live here now to be able to get together.
"It's a good chance for everybody to meet their neighbors," he continued. "It went over real well last year, and we are sure it's going to be real big this year."
According to Powell, the Bandit Run 2009 will stop in Jonesboro from approximately 11:30 a.m., to 1:30 p.m. During that time, fans of the 1977 Burt Reynolds film "Smokey and the Bandit" will park classic muscle cars in the Heritage Bank parking lot, off West Mill Street, for public viewing. The cars featured will include classic Pontiac Trans Ams, GTOs, Firebirds, and Chevrolet Camaros.
According to the Bandit Run 2009 web site, participants in the Bandit Run will traverse more than 700 miles this week from Branson, Mo., to the Year One muscle car center in Braselton, Ga.
Starting at 5 p.m., Saturday, Frankley Scarlett will take the stage for a concert. According to Bill Turpin, the band's bass player and spokesperson, the concert will feature well-known tunes from the past five decades.
"It's all-American music from the roots of rock, from the early 1960s, all the way up to today," Turpin said. "The young and old, they will know these songs by heart."
Turpin said Jonesboro's 150th anniversary is a "mark of survival," one that people should come out and celebrate.
"Jonesboro is rich in history and some of the family names here have been here well before the Civil War," Turpin said. "You still have that feeling of middle-town America and you don't ever want to lose that."
For more information, call the City of Jonesboro at (770) 478-3800.