TODAY'S NEWS

‘No ‘likker,’ no cussin’ and no fightin’

Page News and Courier

LURAY ― When “Cooter” makes his “last stand” this weekend, it will go down in the Hazzard County history books as the final installment in more than a decade-long series of events in celebration of “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

According to county officials, it will go down in local chapters as the biggest two-day event in the known history of Page County.

On Monday morning a few miles out from Cooter's in the Valley on Route 211, traffic signs are already alerting drivers to expect delays on Saturday and Sunday.

With 20,000 expected ― and the potential for the final turnout to exceed that estimate ― Page County's highways and byways, motels and hotels and eateries and shops are expected to see visitors at all-time high volumes.

Since kicking off the planning process in February, local EMS, law enforcement agencies and other county representatives will be on tap to help ensure a smooth and safe weekend for both visitors and local residents ― beginning with traffic. A traffic plan was put in place after VDOT instructed event organizers to hire a traffic control company.

Event-goers will park in one of two primary lots in nearby fields. A field adjacent to Cooter's in the Valley, across Route 211, will accommodate 2,000 vehicles, said event organizer Alma Viator. Law enforcement officials will help direct traffic as guests are shuttled across the double highway. As drivers on Route 211 approach the event, traffic will slow to a single lane.

The intersection leading into Cooter's in the Valley will be shut off to traffic. A second field that will be accessed via Egypt Bend will accommodate another 6,000 vehicles. Some shuttling services will be available from that field, but most guests will make the short trek to the event area on foot. A smaller handicap parking area, adjacent to the event, will also be available.

With gates opening at 9 a.m. both days, event organizers project that the heaviest traffic will be around that time for several hours on Saturday and Sunday. Residents may notice increased traffic throughout the week, as many visitors planned to arrive days ahead of the event in order to take advantage of local attractions.

The Luray-Page Chamber will be setting up and staffing an information booth at the event both days, in addition to maintaining staff both days at its Visitors Center in Downtown Luray.
More than 20,000 visitors have the potential to translate into never before seen economic impacts for the community, said Page County's Director of Community and Economic Development Stephanie Lillard.

“Our attractions are excellent and they'll continue to draw people to visit from all over the world,” Lillard said, adding that large events and local tourist attractions go hand in hand.“They both benefit from the other. And events like this give people more reasons to come back.”

Throughout this weekend's festivities, local deputies, officers and plain-clothed police, as well as additional security personnel, will be on hand throughout the event's grounds. Four EMS stations will be set up at various locations. A mobile command and unified command will also be in place in case of an emergency.

“Uncle Jesse's rules apply: 'No 'likker,' no cussin' and no fightin,'” Ben Jones, who portrayed “Cooter” on the CBS show, wrote in a note posted to the event's Facebook page.

Event organizers will utilize several local groups during the event. In exchange for their help, each group ― including Shen-Paco, students from Luray and Page County High School and local Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts ― will receive a donation.

“We just feel so at home here; all of our neighbors are amazing,” Viator said, referring to Cooter's in the Valley's move last fall from Sperryville to Page County. “It's such a fit ― the attitude of 'The Dukes of Hazzard' and the respect we have had from this community. It's what you really wish for and hope for, and it's exactly what we found.”



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