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Great Outhouse Blowout is Sept. 13

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Kentucky Press News Service/The Advocate-Messenger

It’s off the races again for Penn’s Store’s Great Outhouse Blowout on Sept. 13.

The Great Outhouse Blowout began in 1992 at the dedication of Penn’s Store’s first outhouse. To this day, the Gravel Switch store still does not have running water, and the annual blowout now serves as its primary fundraiser.

“Penn’s Store, through this annual event, brings people together from seemingly worlds apart to enjoy a moment and event in time ‘just for the fun of it’,” Penn’s Store owner Jeanne Penn Lane said. “Although we say it’s our big fundraiser, after all is said and done, there seems to never be any left over. However, Penn’s Store is still here. And, with that, the event is accomplishing our goal: to keep Penn’s Store open and providing a gathering place and a service for our fellow man as well as some good laughs and a living history.”

To participate in the Outhouse Blowout, teams construct models of outhouses from a variety of lightweight materials and set them atop wheeled carts.

“There is a $50 entry fee that has to be paid before the race begins,” Lane said. “It’s suggested that teams get ‘sponsors’ to cover their entry fee and the cost of building of racer, then put their sponsor’s name/names all over their racer, much like NASCAR.”

All teams participate in the Parade of the Privies prior to the beginning of the blowout. They then race down Penn’s Store Road, with one member of the team always sitting inside the outhouse, and winners continue to advance until a final victor is crowned.

There will be trophies and $300, $200 and $100 cash prizes for the top three teams. The Long Haul Award will be given to the team coming the longest distance and the Humdinger Award will be given to the team with the most creative outhouse design.

Three additional community awards will be given out: the Cresent Moon Award, for contributions and efforts in promoting and preserving the outhouse with dignity; the Moon and Stars Award, for the entertainment or media field whose works brought the outhouse to the public’s attention; and the Golden Throne Award, which honors one who has exemplified independence, conviction and courage.

The packed schedule of events also boasts an “Outhouse Bachelor” contest, and an “Ugly Legs” contest for men. The afternoon concert series will feature performances from Kentucky-based musicians, including guitarist Sticktight Akins, singer/songwriter Phillip Clarkson and the band Stillwater.

A car and motorcycle show will also run during the afternoon, where additional prizes will be awarded.

Lane and the team at Penn’s Store hope that all those attending will have a great time.

“We also hope they have a better understanding and respect for country life and rural Kentucky,” she said.

Registration for the Great Outhouse Blowout is now open and costs $50 per vehicle. Races will begin at noon on Sept. 13. More information can be found at www.pennsstore.com.