BEN WHEELER - Start your engines - it's almost time for Ben Wheeler's famed Bar Stool races.

The quirky competitions are set for 6 p.m. Saturday with registration beginning at 4 p.m. at the green table at The Forge Bar and Grill, 1610 FM 279.

"It's a big deal for Ben Wheeler," said Holly Stamps, executive director of the Ben Wheeler Arts and Historic Foundation. "It's hilarious to see … we have seen a lot of new faces at this event. We're also having egg hunts, for children and adults."

The original bar stool races started in 1978 at the Quiet Man Bar on Knox Street in Dallas. It changed locales, becoming a popular attraction during St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

The tradition eventually fizzed, only to resurface in Ben Wheeler where races are sponsored by The Forge and Moore's Store, 1551 FM 279, featuring one of the original racers, Bill Jenkins.

"This is just a fun event," said Sara Brisco, who owns The Forge. "It gives people something different to see that they've never seen before. "

It's an interesting event on many levels, said Summer Haltom, owner of Moore's Store.

"I love how anyone and everyone is invited to watch the ingenious minds develop a motorized barstool and race them through Ben Wheeler," she said.

There are certain restrictions on height, speed, functionality, mechanics, etc., and opportunities to "adopt" a racer in need of a little TLC.

Races are generally held in conjunction with St. Patrick's Day and Ben Wheeler's annual fall Feral Hog Festival.

Also Saturday, egg hunts for children are planned for 11 a.m., following by competitions for adults.

"We're making clues, it's going to be handled like a scavenger hunt," Ms. Stamps said. "There will also be moving eggs."

Prizes and gift cards are available to the winners.

There is a $20 to enter the adult egg competition with all proceeds benefiting the downtown, said Ms. Stamps, noting that downtown lease space is available for qualified artists and merchants.

Live music entertainment is available all day, with guest performances from Craig Wallace, Father Brother, Kid Icarus, Wesley Pruitt and Statesboro Revue.

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TWITTER: @TMT _ Jacque


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Jacque Hilburn-Simmons is an award-winning journalist who has been writing professionally for 30 years. She's a former police reporter who also wrote a book about the KFC murder. She shares stories about East Texas through her Behind the Wheel column.