‘Cooter’s Last Stand’ brings a piece of Hazzard County to Luray
Ben Jones, who’s better known as Cooter Davenport from the hit 1980s’ TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” is expecting that show’s fans to flock to his business near Luray this weekend for “Cooter’s Last Stand,” a festival that will celebrate all things Hazzard County.
“One day I saw this empty sort of gift shop and I thought that would be a great place to start a place called Cooter’s Place,” Jones said this week. “Put an old General Lee out front. Get all my old “Dukes of Hazzard” stuff and hang it up on the walls and sell T-shirts and hats, apple cider and apple butter, stuff like that. It just took off like a rocket, people started coming from everywhere and I realized what I had suspected: “The Dukes of Hazzard” really hadn’t gone anywhere.
“Over time, its popularity had increased. In the course of that, people kept saying, ‘Why don’t you do something where you get everybody together?’ The first festival we did, we called it ‘Dukes Fest’ and it was so much fun and it proved to be extremely popular. We did that until 2006 and then we did some on a smaller scale called ‘Hazzard Homecoming.’ A few years has passed by and we lost a member of the cast a few years ago. James Best passed and it made me realize that we needed to get together one more time, look at each other and just say, “Hey, look at what happened with our old show.'”
So Jones called his friends together to join him in one last “Dukes of Hazzard” festival. The festival will take place Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of Cooter’s in the Valley.
Festivities include a General Lee car show, live music, more than 30 food and merchandise vendors, a Civil War reenactment, BMX bike stunts and appearances and autograph sessions with the TV show’s original cast members John Schneider (Bo), Tom Wopat (Luke), Catherine Bach (Daisy), Sonny Shroyer (Enos), Rick Hurst (Cletus), and Don Pedro Colley (Sheriff Little). At the end of each day there will also be a General Lee jump.
Jones is excited for fans to be part of the festival because he wants to them to feel the nostalgia of their childhood.
“What we try to do is recreate the fun and wholesomeness of the show,” Jones said. “People bring their families and it’s really about the kids who love the show as much as their parents do. We celebrate Hazzard County,which is just trying to capture that independent spirit of what has made it a great action-comedy, but also made it a permanent part of Americana.”
Jones, who will turn 76 in August, looks back on his time as part of “The Dukes of Hazzard” with extreme fondness and knows how lucky he is to have been part of something so great.
“For us, it’s a great get together, but it’s also a great get together for the fans,” Jones said. “We thank the people who watched it and have kept it going for almost 40 years. They thank us, but we were the lucky ones. Astonishment and gratitude are the only words I can think of. We just get everybody on the same page and just have a good time which is basically what the show was…a good time.”
If You Go
When: 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Cooter’s in the Valley, 4768 U.S. Highway 211, Luray.
Price: Adult two-day event ticket: $40. Two-day event ticket for children ages 3-12: $20. Adult one-day event ticket: $30. One day event ticket (children ages 3-12)-$15.
More information: http://tinyurl.com/ycmshgfh