'Hazzard' event coming to town

COVINGTON - YeeeHaaaw! It wouldn't be summer in Covington without some sort of "Dukes of Hazzard" event. The first five episodes of the early '80s television show, now a cult phenomenon, were filmed here, after all.

This time around, the Hazzard County Cruise-In will draw Dukes fans from all over. The event takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. June 25, 26 and 29, around the Square in downtown Covington.

Planned as a sort of book-end to the hugely popular Dukesfest at Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 28 and 29, the cruise-in is an opportunity for fans to see where it all began.

"This will be the meeting place for all the people that want to come and see where the original 'Dukes of Hazzard' was filmed," said Monica Wissbaum, production coordinator for Hazzard County Stunt Team, the organization that is hosting the cruise-in.

Hazzard County Stunt Team founder Tom Sarmento, lead mechanic for the show during its entire seven-year run, will be on hand for pictures and autographs.

One of the "General Lee" automobiles featured on "Dukes," as well as the one jumped at Oxford College in 2005 for a promotional stunt, will also be there, along with plenty more replicas of cars from the show.

Also in attendance will be Jeff Yaskow, president of the World Wide General Lee Fan Club; Billie Rae Bates, author of "Them Dukes! Them Dukes!" a book that breaks down the series episode by episode; and Jon Holland, author of "The Roads Back to Early Hazzard," a history of the people, the cars and the locations that brought Hazzard County to life.

Folks can also pick up a map and go on driving tours of local filming spots.

Wissbaum said the event will be family-oriented and a lot of fun.

"It's really just a place to come for some of us to relive our childhood TV memories," she said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.