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Gearing Up For A Great Celebration

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. -  Does the name William P. Kinsella sound familiar to you?  Probably not.  He is the author of the book Shoeless Joe from which the inspirational movie Field of Dreams was adapted.  The movie's central
theme and most remembered line is "If you build it they will come."  Kevin Costner played the lead role in the movie and heard this line in his mind several times... in his sleep, while driving down the road and many more.

Some seventy-one years ago a Shelbyville civic leader, Henry Davis, attended a Crimson Clover Festival in nearby Winchester.  He became very enthusiastic about what he saw and returned to Shelbyville with the idea that his home
county should have a festival to celebrate their most important asset - the Tennessee Walking Horse.  Mr. Davis probably wondered to himself "If we build it will they come?"

What started as a three-night event held behind the old high school here in Shelbyville has blossomed into a major event for our town, county and the Middle Tennessee area.  According to Walt Wood, CEO of the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce, the Walking Horse and The Celebration has become Shelbyville's brand.  Stated Wood, "You say 'Shelbyville' and people immediately think of the Walking Horse. We're the Walking Horse Capital of
the World."

The effect of the event is far reaching.  Local civic clubs raise funds from various food booths, parking and program sales during the ten-night event. For some it is their only fund raiser of the year, and for most it is their biggest.  These monies raised are used throughout the year for school programs, sport teams, vision screenings and much more.

There is also money that comes into the local community to rent homes to stay in during the show, or the rent homeowners charge to allow trailers, campers and cars to park on their property.

Horse farms dot the landscape in Bedford County and boost the economy with livelihoods for countless families.  "We have never been able to put a impact figure on the property values, wages, sales of feed and tack, lodging and much more that the Walking Horse industry has on our local economy," stated Celebration Board Chairman Charles McDonald.  But the impact is massive.

What is in store for the 71st rendition of the "World's Greatest Horse Show?"  According to Celebration CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows "Plans are in place for this to be another great Celebration in many ways.  Contrary to rumors
heard throughout the area, our staff, horse trainers and owners as well are gearing up for a big show."  He continued, "The Celebration is not immune to the situation with today's economy.  We have good box seats and reserve
seats available and welcome support from the local community in purchasing them.  It is a good way to support something that is so important to our community." 

Through years of hard work and dedication from so many The Celebration has been built.  We look forward to seeing you there!


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