Are you ready to boogie?




Boogie(v): derived from the Sierra Leone term “bogi”, which means “to dance”; it may be akin to the phrase “hausa buga”, which means “to beat drums.” Boogie Bottoms plans to have a little of both.

This Saturday, April 4, Boogie Bottoms opens to the public with its first annual Crawfish Festival. Along with fresh Louisiana mudbugs, visitors can enjoy music from several local musicians, arts and crafts, and everything you would expect from a Blount County festival. The festival is just the beginning.

Located between Locust Fork and Hayden, Boogie Bottoms is the brainstorm of Blount County’s Branham and Boatright families. No stranger to family entertainment, Team B & B (as they affectionately call themselves) has operated Barns of Horror for the past 14 years which was voted one of the most entertaining and scariest haunted houses in the South.

Team B & B began when Pat Boatright, then a single mother of four, married Ronny Branham, a single father of one. It took a lot of love, sweat, and tears to raise all five boys, but they eventually grew up, married, and had children of their own. Realizing the importance of family, they never moved far from home. In fact, all but one are raising their families just a stone’s throw away from their parents and each other.

Every day the families eat lunch and dinner together. It was over one of these meals that they realized that families in Blount County needed somewhere to go, something to do. Remember the phrase “If you build it, they will come”? That is precisely the hope for Boogie Bottoms.

There’s little doubt that Team B & B’s newest endeavor will succeed. This humble, loving, hard-working family makes sure to give back. Each year, they have used proceeds from the Barns of Horror to help local charities and plan the same for Boogie Bottoms. “People have always helped us,” stated the Boatrights. “Everything we haven’t done ourselves has been done by volunteers. Even all the playground equipment has been donated.”

The new barn that will house Barns of Horror has over 12,000 square feet. It will be one of the largest haunted houses in the Southeast. Although everything is state of the art, Boatright boasts that Boogie Bottoms has been built “with countryboy ingenuity and a lot of luck.” The barn, for instance, is built with tin from old chicken houses. “We’d just buy ’em and tear ’em down,” he said. Covered in white siding, one side of the barn will double as the movie screen, for the (soon to come) drive-in theater. The concession stand is full of stainless steel, modern conveniences “direct from ebay.” There is also a dance floor in front of the full sound stage. After all, one can’t be expected to “boogie” without music.

At present, there is only one cabin with hope of building more. Primitive campsites are also available. Surrounded by the Locust Fork River, Team B & B soon hopes to offer canoeing and kyaking. “We’ve already been contacted by Boy Scout Troops to host some of their outings,” Boatright said. For details and directions, visit www.boogiebottoms.com or call (205) 680-2962.