Benson Mule Days Celebration
Benson, NC August 20, 2013 – The small town of Benson, North Carolina, with a population of around 4000, will swell to approximately 50,000 come September 26-29, 2013 the 64th Annual Benson Mule Days Celebration, sponsored by the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce, takes place.
A blanket of excitement covers the area as visitors merge into the town area and outlying regions bringing horses, mules, wagons, campers and unusual equine contraptions to settle down for a four-day hiatus. Wednesday and Thursday campers settle in as they prepare to attend the concert which will be held on Thursday night at 6:00 PM in the Benson Singing Grove on Main Street. There is no charge for admission.
Friday, visitors can enjoy many events including the “Mule Competitions” held in the Chamber Park and Arena. They will see mule pulls with sleds, coon jumping, a mule race, and Best of Show. From these competitors the “Grand Champion” is chosen and will be in the Benson Mule Days parade on Saturday. If you haven’t seen a mule competition this is a “must see” for the whole family. Saturday is a big day at Benson Mule Days as thousands of spectators grapple for a place to sit or stand to observe the one of the biggest parades in North Carolina. Bands, floats, Shriner units, classic cars, antique tractors, unique entries, beauty queens, and hundreds of horses, mules, buggies, wagons and more make their way down Main Street of Benson beginning at 10:00 AM.
Following the parade visitors can make their way to the Singing Grove Park where a Bluegrass show is being presented, visit the arts and crafts vendors as well we good and commercial vendors. It is always fun to walk into the local businesses which offer a variety of products in our area. The carnival is alive and well and a rodeo is in full blast at the Chamber Park and Arena. There are actually three rodeos of which the first begins on Friday night followed by a Saturday night performance. On Sunday there is a Youth Rodeo.
Feel like dancing? There are two street dances on Friday and Saturday night, right in downtown Benson.
There is a lot to do during Benson Mule Days and it is a great time to stroll the beautiful town of Benson. For a complete schedule of this 64 year old event which honors the farmer’s best friend, the mule, call (919) 894-3825 or e-mail us at Loretta@benson-chamber.com.
Need a camping lot or vendor information? You may contact the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce at the same numbers. Take time to visit our web sites which are www.benson-chamber.com or bensonmuledays.com.
Mule Days: What is it all about?
As a rural community, Benson, North Carolina has long been known for its farm trade. The trading of mules was one of the town’s main occupations. Many businesses carried horse and mule drawn farm equipment. Just prior to WWII, Benson became an appliance center as well as a mule town that had over a dozen mule stables. But the mule prevailed. After all, mules did not require rationed gasoline or scarce rubber tires.
Though tractor technology was rapidly replacing the mule, the mule was not erased from the memories of those whose livelihood had depended on them. The memories and a love for tradition led Nowell Smith and Willis McLamb to discuss with Lewis Lawrence, the first manager of the newly formed Benson Chamber of Commerce, the possibility of setting aside a day to celebrate the mule. These ideas excited residents and merchants who could see extra people coming to Benson to do business. In 1950, the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce agreed to sponsor the first Mule Days.
The first celebration was a few hundred participants with mule pulling contests, tobacco spitting contests, and the largest family contest. Now, Benson Mule Days has grown to approximately 50,000 attendees who come the 4th weekend in September for the parade, rodeos, carnival, arts and crafts display, street dance, camping, bluegrass show, mule competitions and more. The success of this event is phenomenal!
The Benson Chamber of Commerce continues to work to make our Mule Days Celebration a family oriented festival. We thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you at Mule Days as we celebrate our heritage.