By BLAKE FAITH
Mt. Zion’s Pony Express Days return after a year-long absence due to the pandemic. This year’s festival celebrates 40 years.
The history of Pony Express Days dates back to 1981. The event was held at the Mt. Zion High School. From there it moved to the old bowling alley. In 1993, it was moved to the current grounds which is at the end of Baltimore Avenue where the school’s baseball fields are.
According to Executive Director Steve Williams there will be nothing special about this year’s Pony Express Days mainly because it was unknown whether the event would be held due to the pandemic.
Williams has had his bands booked for two years since the bands decided to continue into the 2021 Pony Express Days. The bands include Feudin’ Hillbillys, The NATU Band, The Max Lovins Band and Riverbottom Nightmare Band. All bands will perform at the Special Events Garden Home of the Morgan Distributing Inc Events Stage. Feduin’ Hillbillys performs on Thursday, August 19 from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The NATU Band performs on Friday from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The Max Lovins Band performs on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The River Bottom Band performs shortly after at 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 P.M.
“Right now, we’re plowing ahead like we’re gonna have it and there’s been a couple casualties of events that we’ve had,” Williams said. “Just from lack of planning and conflicts. It fell out this year, because we couldn’t start preparing early enough and couldn’t get the word out there to get the help.”
Other events at the Pony Express Days include a Family Night themed carnival, On Friday there will be a MZ Oddfellows Steak Dinner that will from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday MZ Oddfellows will put on Mud Volleyball from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there will be an ATV/Four-Wheeler Drags from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Sunday there will be Mud Drags from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., a Precious Baby Contest with registration starting at 2 p.m and ending at 3 p.m. and then the contest is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. also on Sunday there will be a Bags Tournament put on by MZ Oddfellows from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. with check-in being at 12 p.m.
“Everyone’s all excited for Pony Express to get here,” Williams said. “But it’s a lot of work to get set up to go through the four days, and then to get torn down. So everyone is glad leading up to it. But there also seem to be kind of glad when it’s over.”
Williams said his favorite things about the Pony Express Days are that its the last blast of the summer, a sort of homecoming and getting together with people that you haven’t seen in some time while enjoying the weather and events.
Williams said the overall message he wanted to send to readers and the community is that the main thing is to come out and have fun. All the proceeds from the Pony Express Days go back to the community. For example, the $2 parking fee goes in part to the Boy Scouts.
So it’s basically a not for profit event,” Williams said. “Everything that we make goes right back in the community through other organizations sponsoring things, because it is the Mount Zion Lions Club that puts it on.”