InauguralDay's Gap Fest set for Oct. 13-14

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 10/1/17

OAKMAN — The Town of Oakman’s inaugural Day’s Gap Fest is scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14, to honor the town’s rich heritage and restore community pride.

Town leaders and community members have been planning the Day’s Gap Fest for …

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InauguralDay's Gap Fest set for Oct. 13-14


OAKMAN — The Town of Oakman’s inaugural Day’s Gap Fest is scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14, to honor the town’s rich heritage and restore community pride.

Town leaders and community members have been planning the Day’s Gap Fest for several months, which will feature 18 bands, 70 vendors, a car and motorcycle show, fun for children, food and more.

The event is named to honor the town’s original name, Day’s Gap, spelled in a number of variations over the years as Day Gap, Day’s Gap and Days Gap. Day’s Gap was named after the town’s first settler, W.B. Day, who came to Oakman in 1862, according to the website Alabama Pioneers. The town was later named York, before becoming officially incorporated as Oakman in 1895.

With the railroad going through Oakman, it was once a distributing point for all of Walker County. According to Alabama Pioneers, in 1895, Oakman had a city hall, school buildings, a bank, three cotton ginneries, two gristmills, a sawmill, cotton warehouse, two coal mines and a shingle mill, and was the first town in Walker County to have telephone lines installed.

Now Oakman Mayor Cory Franks conceptualized having a festival to honor the once bustling town and its history. He said he’s thrilled the event is now a reality and will bring people from Walker County and surrounding areas back to Oakman.

“I’m thankful for everybody who has contributed and all the in-kind services from everyone in the county who has been supportive of us in Oakman for trying to do something different, and something that the people in our community can be proud of,” Franks said. “It’s been a lot of hard work over the past year, getting it all together. I couldn’t have done it without the generosity of the people in the community. ... It just helped everything come together.”

Eighteen musical acts will highlight the festival. Clay Swafford will kick off the two-day festival on Friday, Oct. 13, at 4 p.m., followed by Barry Evans, Jeff Parnell and Steve Hagood at 5 p.m., Born To Fly at 6 p.m., Ernie McClinton at 7 p.m., Joby Rainer at 8 p.m. and Rudy Glasgow at 9 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 14, the Busby’s will begin the day with a performance at 10 a.m., and Born To Fly will play the festival for the second day at 11 a.m. Joe Tucker and the Day’s Gap Band will perform at noon, followed by The Spook House Saints at 1 p.m., Walker County Steppers at 2:30 p.m., Scottie Simmons at 3 p.m., Tony Evans at 4 p.m., Jessica Coger at 5 p.m., Macabillies at 6 p.m., Vorpal Sword at 7 p.m., Griff Waid at 8 p.m. and headliner Michael Warren at 9 p.m.

Awards for the car and motorcycle show will be presented on Saturday at 2 p.m. between musical performances.

There will be many food vendors at the festival serving catfish, shrimp, polish sausage, lemonade, shaved ice, funnel cakes, fried Oreos, pork skins, barbecue, roasted corn and other options.

At least 70 vendors are confirmed for the festival to sell craft items such as handmade jewelry, wood crafts, home decor, paintings, wind chimes, handmade soaps and more. There will also be boutique clothing vendors and crocheted and hand sewn creations.

The Oakman Lion’s Club will have a sight van available for eye exams, and many other community organizations will have booths at the event.

Organizers say the two-day festival will have numerous activities for children, including bouncy houses, games, a petting zoo and corn hole tournament. Guests will also be able to enjoy a car show and dog training demonstration.

The Oakman Senior Center will provide a hospitality area exclusive to sponsors, and visitors to Day’s Gap Fest will have an opportunity to enter a king size quilt giveaway, made by those at the senior center. Tickets to enter are $2 each, and the drawing for the quilt will take place during the festival Oct. 14. People may already enter by calling (205) 622-3197. The senior center will also have treats for sale during the festival.

The car and motorcycle show will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 14.

Sponsors for the Day’s Gap Fest include Coca-Cola, Pinnacle Bank, Jasper Auto Sales, Honda of Jasper, Alabama Power, Big Guy’s Express Car Wash, Daily Mountain Eagle, Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, Carl Cannon Chevrolet, Collins-Burke Funeral Home, Bankhead Land & Timber Company, Inc., First National Bank, Los Reyes Grill, Bank of Walker County, Bevill State Community College, Byars-Wright Insurance Agency, RealtySouth, First Bank of Jasper, Don Wallace and Bryant Bank.

Oakman also thanked Slate Creek Cattle Company for providing hay for the event, along with many other volunteers. Oakman Town Clerk Lisa Lockhart, Oakman Events Coordinator Kim Ergle and Oakman Senior Center Manager Evelyn Garrett helped organize the event and secured sponsors and entertainment.

“Regardless of how long I’m the mayor, the festival will still be something that can go on for years and years to come,” Franks said.