Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with live music and barstool races

Ben Wheeler’s famous Barstool Races are expanding this year to include a full day of activities and concerts with participation from their FM 279 sister city, Edom, just eight miles east, for this annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration.

Saint P’s 279 Street Party is from noon to midnight Saturday, March 16.

Music takes place on the Ben Wheeler street stage from noon to 4 p.m. with Meredith Crawford, Chris Rasco, Riley Redding, Heather Little, and Craig Wallace.

An art exhibition, “Motor Mayhem,” is on display at Edom Art Emporium and guests are invited to visit other art galleries in Edom including Potter’s Brown and Zeke & Marty. Artworks are also on view in Ben Wheeler at Mona Lisa Portraits and the Sideshow Gallery at The Forge Bar & Grill.

Shoppers will enjoy a variety of stores including Buffalo Clover in Edom and Glitz & Spurs, Mr. B’s Antiques, and Vintage Cork 917 in Ben Wheeler.

Downtown Edom is also featuring a car show on Saturday starting at 5:00 p.m. followed by a cruise night.

The Barstool Riders Association is presenting the Motorized Barstool Races from 4 to 6 p.m. in downtown Ben Wheeler. Racers can enter in Novelty, Electric, or Gas Engine classes. The winner/loser circle takes place at 5:30 p.m.

Music continues on The Forge Bar & Grill acoustic stage from 6 to 11 p.m. with Andie Kay Joyner and Travis Bolt.

Moore’s Store features music from 6 to 11 p.m. with Max Stalling, Heather Little, and Matt Bradshaw.

In The Forge’s backyard is “Over the Rainbow” from 7 p.m. to midnight with a silent showing of the film, Wizard of Oz, and club/dance music in the pavilion.

A pre-party takes place Friday, March 15 at Edom Art Emporium with the kick off of the “Motor Mayhem” exhibition. They will have live music and guests can see a preview of the motorized barstools racing the next day.

The barstool races started in 1978 when a few guys got together at Quiet Man Bar on Knox Street in Dallas. The original circle of six barstool creators consisted of Bill Jenkins, Thomas Spangler, Johnny Gable, John Pullman, Mike Carr, and Keith Blackwell. Each man created his own version of a motorized barstool and then they began to race them outside the Quiet Man Bar. Soon it grew to the Highland Park Cafeteria parking lot where Mrs. Dewey Goodman announced the racers at a polished track. From there they moved to the Dart Bar of Cedar Springs followed by Lukes Outhouse. The tradition continued throughout Dallas, where Jenkins made the news with his barstool cannon blast that set off the alarm of a nearby liquor store.

The notorious Dallas Farmers Market quickly took up the event in full sponsorship along with Ben E Keith and Budweiser to blast the races city wide. Jenkins’ barstool train debuted (featuring a super charged 350cc Honda) coming in first place. In 1991 the races finally found their end at the Greenville Avenue Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

Not seen in more than 20 years, the barstools resurfaced in Ben Wheeler in 2012 with Bill Jenkins continued involvement and the tradition now takes place each year on Saint Patrick’s Day weekend. Bill’s original super charged barstool will also make an exhibition run including cannon blasts!

Proceeds to benefit the Ben Wheeler Volunteer Fire Department.

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