Volunteer activity: Battle of Byron Chairwoman
Q: First, how did the Battle of Byron get its name?
A: Mrs. Frances McDaniel created the very first one along with Mayor Larry Collins back in 1979. At the time there was a big TV show called “Battle of the Sexes” that had challenges and games to see who was better at what. Mrs. Frances thought Battle of Byron would be a good name and having games for people and community groups to challenge each other with would be fun and a good way to raise money for local charities.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Q: So it doesn’t commemorate an actual battle?
A: No (laughing), no real Battle of Byron. It’s all about fun and enjoying community.
Q: When and where is it this year?
A: It’s always the first Saturday in May, which is just a week and a few days away now. It’s May 6. But we also have some special Battle of Byron events on the Saturday after that: the first ever Gold Cup challenge for area first responders and also our Battle of Byron 5k and One Mile Fun Run.
Q: Where will they be?
A: The May 6 event, the regular Battle of Byron day, will be in historic downtown Byron along Main Street. It starts at 10 a.m. and we have live entertainment all day starting at 11 a.m. Main Street is blocked off to be for pedestrians only. Things happen along Old Jail Alley and a couple of other streets and parking lots, too.
The following weekend’s two events are May 13 at North Peach Park on White Road. The 5k sign-in begins at 6:30 a.m. and the race at 8 a.m. The Gold Cup first responder competition is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Q: So the Battle of Byron isn’t a one day event and keeps growing and growing?
A: There’s so much to do we can’t do it all in one day. And yes, it keeps growing like with the first responder challenge. Money raised overall during the Battle of Byron goes to local charities each year, but money we raise through the first responder Gold Cup challenge will go to participating departments and agencies. We wanted to show support for law enforcement, fire, ambulance and other emergency departments. We’ll have buckets for donations for them downtown on the May 6 weekend then May 13 — the first responder challenge day — money raised through registration will be added to it for departments. The overall challenge winner gets half of everything the other participants divide the remaining half. That way every department is supported. They can donate the money to a favorite charity if they want to or use it for needed equipment.
Q: The Battle of Byron isn’t like the typical community festival, is it?
A: It is and isn’t. We have loads of vendors with arts and crafts, food and all kinds of other information and goodies, but there’s also the challenge part. Originally, individuals and community groups challenged each other in advance to games, but that’s changed. Now we have a series of events preplanned and people come and join in. You purchase a wristband and can do any or all the challenges. Or not. You can challenge others — which we encourage — or you can just come and enjoy watching or strolling through the arts and crafts and eating the great food. Hey, you can even get fried alligator on a stick or fried Oreos. How great is that?
Q: So the event in general is free, but the challenges cost?
A: Right. And there’s a children’s area in Old Jail Alley Park where parents can purchase a wristband for their kids to do all the stuff there. There’s something else with a separate charge: a money-grab game. You know, the thing where you go in a booth and grab money. That has a separate cost and people get to keep part of what they grab and part goes to the local charities donation.
Q: What are some of the challenges-games? Mud volleyball used to be a big event.
A: No more mud. We’ve let that go but everything’s pretty unique in the way we do it. We have things like our Battle of Byron Tug-of-War, Dangling Donuts, Partner Balloon Pop, Panty Hose Bowling, Tic-Tac-Toe and Toilet Seat Toss. That’s like horse shoes, and there’s a bunch more.
Q: What else is big at the Battle of Bryon?
A: Everything! But another thing is the Battle of Byron Cruise In. Anyone can bring their car to show and there’s no advanced registration or a lot of the requirements like regular car shows have. You don’t even have to stay all day. Your car doesn’t have to be a great classic or anything — just something you want to show. It will be along the street and in the Byron United Methodist Church parking. It’s put on by the Southern Classic Cruisers. Donations from car owners goes to overall money raised for charities.
Q: Who are some of the live entertainers?
A: We have Louise Warren, From Within, Southern Outlaws, Double Barrel Band and Soulosophy.
Q: What’s your favorite part?
A: I like seeing everybody out having a great time, listening to music and getting the food. It’s really family and community oriented and I like that money raised goes for good causes. Some of the booths raise funds for local civic groups, too. I like that our 5k’s one-mile fun run is now in conjunction with Byron Elementary School’s Just Run Program. You can find registration for the 5k at www.macontracks.org, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Caryl Deems for info at 478-972-2609. We hope area first responders will come to their challenge and departments will challenge one another or fire stations challenge other stations. It’ll be fun. There challenges will be pretty unique, too.
Q: Between now and then, how can people find out more?
A: We have a website at http://www.byronga.com/battleor people can call me for information or about first responder registration at 478-397-7405.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at email@example.com.