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Doodle Soup Days has full slate of events

By Crystal Burns

If you’re looking for fun for the whole family, Doodle Soup Days in Bradford has what you want.

The 17th annual festival officially kicks off September 20, but events are planned this weekend starting with the Tennessee International Barrel Race Association (IBRA) horse show Friday at 6 p.m. at the Saddle Club Arena in the park and the Doodle Soup Days pageants Saturday with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Bradford Elementary School gym. Pageants start at 9, and proceeds benefit the Bradford High School Class of 2018.

Like last year, live music highlights Doodle Soup weekend.

Thursday, Sept. 21, Brian Free and Assurance will perform a free concert at Bradford First Baptist Church. The group won Dove Awards for Southern Gospel Performance of the Year for “Say Amen” in 2014 and “Long As I Got King Jesus” in 2006. Local favorites Kindred Spirits will open for Brian Free and Assurance.

Before the gospel singing, Doodle Soup Committee Chairman Tim Taylor and his Fire Department cooks will host a pork chop supper beginning at 4:30 p.m. A plate consists of a juicy, grilled center-cut pork chop, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, roll and drink for $10. Carry out or eat in at the Fire Department. Pre-sale tickets are available, but walk-up orders are also welcome.

Friday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. in the park, the Elam McKnight Band, featuring former Bradford resident Tucker Carroll on guitar, will put on a free concert. McKnight is a West Tennessee singer/songwriter. His music features the roots of his region: country, blues, rockabilly, and southern gospel. The band’s current single “Radio” is available on the streaming service Spotify.

Saturday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. another local favorite, The Buzz Kings will open for The System, a Bob Seger Tribute band from Michigan. Admission is free.

The Buzz Kings is a cover band featuring U92’s Buzz Blackburn, Sid “Rock” Barton, Joe Wallace, Brian Bain, and Jason “Flyboy” Cooper.

Billed as the nation’s premier Bob Seger Tribute band, The System has been performing across the Midwest for more than a decade, recreating a classic 70s era concert experience of Seger radio hits and fan favorites.

Other popular events on Saturday include the Chicken Run 5K, parade, carnival rides, and famous doodle soup made by several local cooks who each put their own spin on the classic recipe of broth made from the drippings of roasted chicken mixed with salt, vinegar, cayenne pepper, water, sugar, and flour. The soup is served with crackers or biscuits, and there is fierce debate on which is better.

Carnival rides are available for kids Friday beginning at 3 p.m. and Saturday starting at 11 a.m. Armbands are $5 and allow children to ride as many times as they want.

“We are charging for rides this year,” said committee member Shannon Barton. “We haven’t done that the past two years, and we’ve been glad to give that to our kids for free. The rental price, however, has gone up every year, and this year we’ve set a minimal charge to recoup a portion of the increase.”

Parade marshal

This year’s grand marshal of the Doodle Soup Parade is Joe David Richardson. Richardson’s roots have been firmly planted in the Bradford community his entire life. He is a longtime member of Bradford First Baptist Church and has served on the city board and as volunteer fire chief.

Richardson has been a paperboy, plumber, fireman, ambulance driver, bus driver, truck driver, mechanic, and owner/operator of a service station. He is probably best known for being owner of Joe’s Body Shop, which is now run by his son, Bart.

Richardson and his wife, Nancy, live just outside of the city limits. He is proud father to six children – Monie, Robin, Wendy, Bart, Diana and Merideth – stepfather to Laura and Brian and “Pop” to 15 grandchildren.

“Joe David’s love of God, family, work, community, and hobbies show much about character and kindness,” his family said. “We love you more than you will ever know, and the life lessons you’ve taught us will carry on for generations.”

Richardson said he is honored and humbled to be recognized as the grand marshal.

Full schedule

For more information including contact numbers, visit

Friday, Sept. 8

6 p.m. Tennessee IRBA Horse Show

Bradford City Park Saddle Club Arena


Saturday, Sept. 9

8:30 a.m. Doodle Soup Days Pageant

Bradford Elementary School Gym


Wednesday, Sept. 20

7 p.m. Community Church Service

First Baptist Church, Bradford


Thursday, Sept. 21

4:30 p.m. Pork Chop Supper

Bradford Fire Dept.

4 p.m. Kickball Tournament

Bradford City Park

7 p.m. Gospel Singing

Bradford First Baptist Church


Friday, Sept. 22

8 a.m. Craft & Vendor Market

Bradford City Park

8 a.m. Quit & Art Shows

Bradford Seniors Center

3 p.m. Carnival Rides

Bradford City Park

4 p.m. Doodle Soup

Bradford City Park West Pavilion

4 p.m. Flag Football

Bradford City Park Lower Baseball Field

6 p.m. Opening Ceremonies

Bradford City Park Main Stage

6:30 p.m. Cornhole Tournament

Bradford City Park

6:30 p.m. Open Mic

Bradford City Park Main Stage

8 p.m. Elam McKnight Band

Bradford City Park Main Stage


Saturday, Sept. 23

7 a.m. Chicken Run 5K Run/Walk

Bradford High School

8 a.m. Pancake Breakfast

Bradford Senior Citizens Center

8 a.m. Quilt & Art Shows

Bradford Senior Citizens Center

8:45 a.m. Car & Antique Tractor Show

Bradford School Parking Lot

10 a.m. Doodle Soup Days Parade

Downtown Bradford

11 a.m. Carnival Rides

Bradford City Park

11 a.m. Craft & Vendor Market

Bradford City Park

11 a.m. Doodle Soup

Bradford City Park West Pavilion

11 a.m. Silent Auction

Bradford City Park

12 p.m. Announcement of Parade Winners

Bradford City Park Main Stage

1 p.m. Children’s Activities with Mrs. Doodle

Bradford City Park

2 p.m. Kickball Tournament

Bradford City Park Lower Baseball Field

3 p.m. Flag Football

Bradford City Park Lower Baseball Field

4 p.m. Dog Show

Bradford City Park Main Stage

4 p.m. Children’s Activities with Mrs. Doodle

Bradford City Park

6 p.m. Cake Walk & Live Auction

Bradford City Park

7 p.m. The Buzz Kings & The System

Bradford City Park Main Stage

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