Smokey and the Bandit Festival this weekend


Special to The Times



Jonesboro marks “Smokey and the Bandit” 40th anniversary this week.

“Smokey and the Bandit” was the second largest grossing movie of 1977. The run that took “Snowman” Jerry Reed and “Bandit” Burt Reynolds from Atlanta to Texarkana, Texas and back again in 18 hours, was largely filmed in and around Jonesboro.

This week, Jonesboro is hosting the official 40th Year Anniversary Celebration. The City is partnering with the Burt Reynolds Institute, Restore a Muscle Car, The Bandit Run and the Snowman’s Run to Benefit Wounded Veterans to commemorate the occasion.

More than 250 cars -- primarily Pontiac Trans Ams -- will drive from Texarkana, arriving in Jonesboro around 3:30 p.m., Wednesday for the 11th annual Bandit Run, sponsored by Restore a Muscle Car of Lincoln, Neb.

On June 23, commemorative events will include:

•A reenactment of the Coors scene in downtown Jonesboro at noon

•A Street BBQ for Bandit Runners from 1-3 p.m. Meal tickets are available for $10 by contacting City Hall.

•A Question & Answer Session at 6 p.m., with Burt Reynolds and fellow cast member Susie Ewing, who portrayed “Hot Pants” Hilliard in the film.

•An official showing of “Smokey and the Bandit” at 9 p.m., on the lawn of Lee Street Park, 155 Lee Street.

On June 24 from 11 a.m., to 5 p.m., Jonesboro will host a festival featuring a live sound stage, performances, a car show, and a Bandit look-alike contest judged by Ewing.

Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day said she is looking forward to the anniversary celebration.

“I’m excited about this event!” said Davis. “What better way to commemorate such an amazing movie than with the star himself, Burt Reynolds?”

For more information, visit www.jonesboroga.com or www.thebanditrun.com.

Tickets can be purchased on the “Smokey and The Bandit” BBQ & Car Show website.