HILHAM – The best marbles players in the world roll into Standing Stone State Park on Saturday, Sept. 17 for the 39th annual National Rolley Hole Marbles Championship and Festival.
It’s a day of fun for all ages to go along with the serious business of competition, considered the “Super Bowl of Marbles.” The event was named one of four winners last year in the folklife heritage category of the Tennessee Governor’s Arts Awards.
“There is no other event like this in the world,” said Shawn Hughes, park ranger at Standing Stone. “The day has something for everybody, and we invite anyone who wants to have a good time to come and enjoy it.”
The festival, which runs from 8 a.m.-7 p.m., features food, music, and marbles games for all ages. Activities include a kids marbles festival; glass and flint marble-making demonstrations; building a marbles roller coaster; a swap meet; and a booth for the support group the Friends of Standing Stone. Seven hours of old-time and Bluegrass music are scheduled.
Rolley Hole is a folk game, similar to croquet. The strategy comes by determining the best way to keep opponents from making the hole, which often requires skillful hard shots against other marbles, sending them ricocheting across the yard. The competition is played by the rules of the National Rolley Hole Marbles Championship on a dirt yard which measures 40×25 feet. Standing Stone is the only state park in the nation with a marbles yard, mainly because some of the best players hail from Tennessee’s Clay County. The championship is the most challenging marbles tournament, where the finest players compete.
This event is widely regarded as one of the most effective public-sector folklife projects on record in Tennessee. It has promoted a greater understanding and sustainability of cultural heritage, community heritage, and folklife across the region, state, and beyond. This year’s sponsors include the Tennessee Arts Commission, Tennessee State Parks, Southern Landscape Supply, Honest Abe Log Homes, J&S Construction, King Auto Parts, Diamond 9 Sports and N&L Business Systems.
Standing Stone State Park is located 10 miles north of Livingston, just off Highway 52 near Celina and covers nearly 1,000 acres on the Highland Rim of north-central Tennessee. For more information about the festival and Standing Stone State Park, call (931) 823-6347 or visit Standing Stone State Park online.