BEFORE HE STEPPED in front of the camera in Covington and Conyers as Bo Duke in "The Dukes of Hazzard," John Schneider had already spent his teenage years as a student at North Springs High School in Sandy Springs. This weekend, he, along with many of the other original cast members, returns to the area as part of Dukesfest at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
As fans of the show converge on Atlanta for this weekend's event, here's a look at some of the fun that even Boss Hogg's best efforts couldn't spoil.
Hazzard County Fair: Carnival rides, lawn mower races and pie-eating contests are just a few of the things you'll find at the Hazzard County Fair. About 200 General Lee replicas are expected, and the Dukes' anti-authoritarian sense of adventure will definitely be there.
"People will be taking rides around the track in General Lees the wrong way, which I think is kind of cool," Schneider says. "No NASCAR driver in their right mind would do that, but we're not in our right minds. The goal is to make it so people actually spend the weekend not only with the Dukes of Hazzard, but in Hazzard County."
Stunt Show: Several of the original stuntmen from the show will be on hand this weekend, so expect plenty of automotive acrobatics.
"Several of them now have sons who are in the stunt business, one of which will be jumping the General Lee and hopefully breaking a world record," Schneider says. "His name is Craig Baxley Jr., the son of the man who first jumped the General Lee."
Guests: Not only will Bo Duke be there, but so will his cousins Luke (Tom Wopat) and Daisy (Catherine Bach). From lawmen like Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane and Cletus Hogg to Duke allies like Cooter Davenport, many of the characters from the show will be on hand for panels and autographs. Joining them will be Adam West and Lee Meriwether from the '60s "Batman" series, along with one of the original Batmobiles.
"My theory is that when Bo and Luke grew up they watched television, too," Schneider says. "And they probably were big fans of 'Batman.' Having Adam and Lee there is more of a tribute to car-based television shows."
Concerts: Country music and Southern rock are on tap, featuring Nashville's TelluRide, Alabama's State Line Mob and Vegas ambassador Paul Casey. A kickoff party Friday at Wild Bill's in Duluth includes a buffet dinner, documentary on the General Lee, and a performance by Schneider and Cooter's Garage Band.
• THE 411: Dukesfest & Hazzard County Fair. $15-$25 in advance; $20-$35 at the gate; free for children 12 and younger; 75 cents for carnival ride tickets (each ride requires 3-5 tickets); $10 for 15 carnival ride tickets; $20 for 35 carnival ride tickets; $15 for armband for unlimited rides. 9 a.m.-10 p.m. June 28; 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. June 29. Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1500 U.S. 19/41, Hampton. 770-946-4211, www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
Friday Night With the Dukes. $10 for world premiere screening of "The General Lee That Jack Built" with buffet; $50 for charity dinner with the cast; $14-$100 for concert. 6:15 p.m. June 27. Wild Bill's Atlanta, 2075 Market St., Duluth. 678-473-1000, www.wildbillsatlanta.com, www.dukesfest.com. • Map it and review it
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