SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. - The 18th Annual Great Celebration Mule and Donkey Show came to a close late Saturday night with a group of tired, but happy, exhibitors heading back to their homes all across the country. The latest installment of this midsummer classic on the Celebration Grounds can be declared a success by almost all measures. Entries this year numbered 1,592 with approximately 475 different animals competing. 

As one of the largest mule and donkey shows in the country and second largest in the events history, The Great Celebration Mule & Donkey Show has grown to the point it annually receives entries from nearly half the states and several from foreign countries.

"We're very happy with our entry numbers," relayed Celebration CEO Dr. Doyle Meadows.  "Our entry numbers were up nearly thirty percent over last year, attendance took a positive turn and everyone seems to enjoy the show.  With the economy as it is, we are thankful for the support we received," he stated.

In addition to a full slate of classes, exhibitors were treated to a cookout with grilled chicken and all the trimmings on the night before the show as well as the annual Watermelon Feast and Tennessee Barbecue Dinner.  Meadows and others were very happy with the quality of this year's show.  "With all of the national and world shows we were hosting we knew that the quality of our entries would be one of the best in our shows history," stated Margaret Eakin, Celebration Entry Office Manager "This is one of the best organized shows in the country," explained Mule Show announcer Kathy Herrin from Canon City, CO. "The facility has everything you could want for a show and the staff is extremely professional about how they go about their business.  It's just perfect." "The gaited mule classes are the very best in the country," added Herrin. "But, you would expect to see that at a place as highly-regarded as this." "The highest expectations we have to meet are those we set for ourselves," Meadows continued.  People come to the Celebration Grounds expecting a world-class event and that's what we strive to give them.  Hearing positive comments from the exhibitors and fans is very pleasing and gives us an indication that we're moving in the right direction with this event." Vendor space in the "Trading Post" area was sold out and vendors expressed satisfaction with good sales throughout the show.  Vendors ranged from harness and tack purveyors to t-shirt and iron art booths.

While the 18th Annual Great Celebration Mule and Donkey Show will go in the books as a solid success, don't look for everything to stay status quo. "We are always looking for ways to make our show better," said Meadows. "We
can guarantee exhibitors and fans that our efforts will be geared toward making the Great Celebration Mule and Donkey Show the very best show of its kind in the entire country."