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28th Annual Water Valley RR Festival; Amory, Mississippi

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Coming right up is the 28th Annual Water Valley Railroad Festival, in Amory, MS scheduled for APRIL 12-18, 2004. Of course, the big weekend is April 17-18, but some of y'all might be able to make a week of it. The list of tramps (en route to Amory as I write) is impressive. I SURE WISH I COULD GO, but unfortunately I'm stuck preparing my mother's home for sale. Got to paint it, replace a door, etc., etc. It's a sad duty, but when someone dies these things must be done.


Every year down at Amory, numerous people ride in. Unlike Britt, which is covered up with cops for several days before the Convention, the Local cops in Amory are a little more tolerant, as long as you aren't drinking alcohol. It's a "dry" town. No public drinking, no public intoxication is permitted. Other than that, though, it's quite a party. If you play an instrument, bring it.


Amory is on the BNSF mainline running southwest out of Memphis (a lousy town--not many tramps care for Memphis.)


Coming from Texas, the standard catch is to Shreveport, Louisiana (Lousy-ana---DON'T GET BUSTED IN LOUSY-ANA) and then east on the Kansas City Southern through Monroe, LA to Vicksburg, MS, then to Jackson, MS to Meridian, MS. In Meridian, you get off and catch north through Electric Mills, Shuqulak, Macon, Artesia to West Point. Be careful in Artesia and West Point--they are both junction towns. If your train takes the east switch in Artesia, you'll wind up in Columbus. (If this happened, you could just go over to the BNSF in Columbus, and discreetly board a northbound, which all go through Amory.) If your train takes the northwest switch in West Point, you'll wind up in Tupelo. Neither one of these occurances is a disaster, because both of those towns aren't too far from Amory. (You DEFINATELY need a map. Hell, take several maps.)


Anyway. Any writers in Mississippi, take note. Oh, and don't hit anything in Amory, the local cops will not be amused.


The correct switch (northeast bound) in West Point will take you to Aberdeen JCT, then on to Amory.

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I dont live in mississippi but paint there quite often its a drive but the cars and the change of lines is well worth it anyone in the south utilizing this resource or is it just me Where do you think all thos MB boxcars come from

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Report from Amory


I've heard from Stretch and I've heard from Mad Mary---both report that the water Valley RR Days was a great success. There were 61 tramps on the sign-in board--five former Hobo Kings and Queens, including the Patriarch, Steamtrain Maury Graham, his wife Wanda, the current 2004 King of Hobos, "Hobo Spike" and his Queen,

Mama Jo, and the 2003 King of Hobos, Redbird Express and his Queen, Lady Nightingale.


Everybody had a great time---the local cafes fed the tramps several nights, and there was two separate barbeque dinners held by local townspeople for the tramps. I sure hope I get to go next year--the last couple of years have really sucked for me--twice now I've been prevented from going to Amory by some family disaster I had to deal with. I sure hope we'll get a break for a while.

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The Amory Railroad Festival is April 6,7,8 and 9 this year (2017.) Amory is a dry town in a dry county, so be very careful bringing alcohol in. The camp is in the middle of the largest city park in town, right inn front of a historic steam locomotive on display. This event is a huge deal for the city of Amory, so be careful to not do anything to upset the local people. Definitely do not do any graffiti in town, the local judge would probably throw the book at you. Tramps are treated very well in Amory during the railroad festival, just behave yourself. There are very, very few motel or hotel rooms in town or even within reasonable driving distance during the festival. The town is jammed with thousands of tourists. There are often fifty or sixty tramps in the jungle. Port-a-potties are available, but no public showers. There are many food booths, live music on the stage in the park, and a great railroad museum.

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I went back to the Amory Railroad Festival in Amory, Mississippi this year. It was held April 6,7,8 and 9, 2017. I'm rubber tramping these days--I've got a van built out with a bed made of 2x4's, a foam mattress and and a folding card table. What a drive! 1,025 miles each way. Seems like a long drive just to camp out in the parking lot of a police station, ha ha. Home town boy Trent Harmon, who won the American Idol competition last year, was the headliner on Friday night, and the Lone Star Band played country on Saturday night, There were some other groups as well, of course, and two stages in different areas of "downtown" Amory. The weather was surprisingly mild, almost chilly Tues, Weds and Thurs. Friday it started getting warm during the day and Sat and Sun were cloudless and blistering hot with almost no humidity in the day, and chilly at night. Amory had about twenty different churches cooking barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, catfish, ribs, etc., and of course, the famous Amory apple fritters. One lady told us she drove 60 miles just to buy some apple fritters. It's a huge event for that part of Mississippi, and four or five times as large as the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa. Friday night after the "food court" area closed down for the night, a couple of guys from churches brought us a bag of apple fritters, some boiled potatoes and some ears of corn-on-the-cob, but no barbecue ribs or chicken, like in years past. Saturday night I guess they forgot all about us, but one church cut their prices to $2 for any sandwich and we tanked up on burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches.


I didn't go down to the amusement park rides area, but there was a large carnival in town, with all the usual stuff like a Ferris wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl, a "vomit comet" and so on. There were quite a few rides designed for smaller children. It was all lit up as carnivals usually are, with a zillion colored lights and the usual canned music. I don't think they had a midway, at least I didn't see one.


In times past we've had as many as 60 tramps in Amory for the RR festival, but this year there were only ten--National Hobo King Ricardo, Virginia Slim and Cathy, Hobo SLC, Medicine Man and Daisy Sue, me, Fredy the German, another guy I didn't know and of course, Hobo Queen Miss Charlotte, who lives in Amory. Charlotte very graciously put up those who did not bring a vehicle in which they could sleep in her and the late Loco Larry's "hobo hotel" sheds.


King Ricardo, Hobo SLC and I were vandwelling and got festival passes from the city so we could camp in a parking lot near the steam locomotive. Unfortunately our parking spots were right next to a police & sheriff disaster response trailer--good in a way, because we could tap into their shore power electric, but the radio chatter was kind of annoying late at night. The cops were very nice, though.


Nobody was able to ride a train in, and nobody even pitched a tent or rolled out in the "jungle" next to the locomotive. BNSF had brought in several bulls and we had Amory city cops, Monroe County sheriff's deputies and BNSF railroad bulls all over the Amory yards. I don't think even that legendary rail ghost, Stretch Wilson, could have ridden a train in. There were plenty of gendarmes, although I saw no arrests, despite the size of the crowd--at least 10,000, I'd guess. The park was packed.


SLC showed King Ricardo and me where the Amory City Water Department is, and Friday we hiked down to take a shower. They told us they told us they weren't allowing hobos to shower there any more, but when I asked them if they could spare a clean 5-gallon bucket for us to bathe in, and since we had already walked all the way down there, they let us shower anyway. SLC and Ricardo scrubbed up, but I passed, having already washed up in the brand-spankin' new city park bathrooms next to the Amory fire station.


It was good to see everybody again, I hadn't seen anyone since last August at Britt. It was especially good to see Fredy the German, who flew into Miami from Germany and rented a car to get to Amory. (Now that's what I call a dedicated tramp.)

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