Tuesday, September 6, 2016

79TH ANNUAL COON DOG CEMETERY CELEBRATION

In our last blog Ol' Us were in Ol' Florida and we left Florida in the nick of time before Tropical Storm Hermine became a reality in the area where we were - Carrabelle, St. Marks, and St. Joe Sound area.


We drove to Red Bay, AL  for our motorhome to be serviced at Tiffin Motorhomes.  Some of our recent upgrades are listed in the UPGRADES tab of this blog,  but we decided we wouldn't buy a new 2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus... just upgrade our RV so that it resembles a 2017... sort of.

This Labor Day Weekend was the 79th annual celebration at the iconic Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard (Coon Dog Cemetery), the only cemetery of its kind in the world, located in Cherokee, AL., about 20 miles from Red Bay, in a thick wilderness known as Freedom Hills.   More than 300 coon dogs from all across the United States are buried at this spot in Northwest Alabama.  The first dog laid to rest in this cemetery was a half redbone coonhound and half birdsong known as "Troop", buried on Labor Day in 1937, and owned by Key Underwood.







The all day event includes old time bluegrass music, buck dancing, a liar's contest, arts and crafts, and local barbecue by Bishop's Hawg House, plus several hundred of the most hospitable and friendly people we've met anywhere.

This may be the first time we've seen people dancing in a cemetery.  Hundreds of graves are decorated with flowers, flags and coins, handmade headstones, and many professionally crafted headstones of wood or sheet metal.  Witnessing one of these funerals is interesting, so if you have a few minutes, increase your volume and enjoy:  Coon Dog Cemetery Funeral


















Hunter's Famous Amos - a hound named Ralston Purina's Dog of the Year in 1984, is buried here as well as several World Champion coon dogs.  The most popular breed of Coon Dogs include the Black and Tan Coonhound, Bluetick Coonhound, English Coonhound, Plott Coonhound, Redbone Coonhound, and the Treeing Walker Coonhound. All 6 breeds are registered with UKC.

 This is a place where only coonhound royalty resides after their demise, i.e., no lap dogs, no poodles.  If I didn't say it before, we were honored to attend such an interesting celebration and enjoyed another beautiful and memorable day in Sweet Home Alabama.

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