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MOUNT ZION — Pony Express Days in Mount Zion has been celebrating a last blast of summer for decades — and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Executive Director Steve Williams said that the four-day tradition is held on the third Saturday of August each year, and the fact that tonight will mark the 39th annual event means it has been a success.

“It's become a generational thing at this point,” he said. “People who used to come in the early days are bringing their kids, and even their grand kids. It's sort of a Mount Zion area reunion.”

Pony Express Days is the biggest event hosted by the Mount Zion Lion's Club, according to Williams, who estimates around 10,000 people come each year. The group hosts several year-round fundraisers to support local organizations. Parking proceeds this year will support Boy Scout Troop 43.

The event is a reference to Macon County's position as a depot on the iconic Pony Express line between Indianapolis and Springfield in the 1820s, Williams said. 

For Decatur students, summer ends with first day of school 🏫

The weekend includes various dirt and mud events; country, classic and rock 'n' roll music; plenty of food; and a carnival. 

New and returning bands are scheduled to perform through the weekend. Featured bands will be Feudin' Hillbillys, The Brothers Odd, Flip Side of Fame and Riverbottom Nightmare Band.

The mud volleyball fundraiser, something Williams said people looking forward to each year, has been included since the event's early days, beginning in 1980. Williams has been involved with Pony Express Days since 1990 and stepped up as executive director in 1993.

“Mud volleyball always brings in a huge crowd and the proceeds go toward a good cause,” he said.

Money for the volleyball fundraiser this year will go toward Mount Zion student Jackson Scharf, 12, who is battling a brain aneurysm. Support on social media has been expressed with #ScharfyStrong.

Other traditions include mud drags and tractor pulls, along with a new carnival featured this year. Williams said Conner Family Amusements, the new carnival provider, will still provide the same amount of ride opportunities for kids young and old.

“Our biggest thing each year is the carnival,” he said. “We are looking forward to a bit of change.”

Cost for attending is $2 for an all-day parking pass or $5 for a four-day pass. No entree fee is required. Carnival arm bands are available tonight and Friday as well, granting unlimited rides for $20.

Additional costs will be included for anyone participating in weekend competitions and early registration may be required.


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