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Horneyhead fest promises unique fun

NEWBORN -- The town of Newborn takes pride in the colorful characters who live there, so much so that the town's slogan is, "A town with characters." So it's no surprise it should celebrate a rather unusual fish known as the Horneyhead Chub every spring.

"Like a catfish has whiskers, these little fish have bumps and they're called horns," said Linda Williams Woodworth, a board member of Newborn Area Heritage Trust, the non-profit that hosts the Horneyhead Fishing Tournament and Festival each year.

A member of the minnow family, Horneyheads grow to only about 5 to 7 inches long and is sometimes even used as fishing bait. But in Newborn, they're the star of the show.

This year's Horneyhead Fishing Tournament and Festival takes place Saturday, April 27. Most of the event will be held on the lawn in front of the Newborn Schoolhouse at 4326 Ga. Hwy. 142, with the exception of the fishing tournament.

Registration will be at the schoolhouse from 7 to 8 a.m. and then participants will head off to their secret spots to try to nab the longest fish and the one with the most bumps.

"Some people are very private about where their fishing hole is," Woodworth said.

Fish must still be alive and in for judging at the schoolhouse by noon. Prizes will be awarded in several age categories. Kids will get free fishing poles to do their fishing, but adults should bring their own.

Those who aren't participating in the tournament will still have plenty to enjoy, as vendors will set up booths to sell their wares on the schoolhouse lawn. In years past, crafts, plants and flea market finds have been featured. There will also be food for sale and musical entertainment provided by Steve Biggers, Dennis Fincher and Johnny Roquemore, who debuted the "Horneyhead Fish Song" at last year's festival. For a listen, along with more information about the event, visit www.newbornschoolhouse.org.

Nominations for the Miss Horneyhead Queen are currently being accepted at Town Hall and online. The lady who gets the most votes will receive a crown and fishing lure earrings.

"It's obviously all in fun," Woodworth said.

The booths open at 10 a.m. and music starts at 11 a.m. Miss Horneyhead will be crowned at noon.

At 1:30 p.m., a parade will wind through town.

"Pretty much anybody who wants to be can be in the parade," Woodworth said, adding that the line up will be across the street from the schoolhouse.

In past years, folks on antique tractors and on a reclining bicycle have been featured.

All festivities are free and open to the public.

"It is just the best example I know of little town, community fun," Woodworth said. "You know how they talk about little fish in a big pond? This is celebrating that little fish. Newborn's slogan is a town with characters and the characters come out of the woodwork for this."