If you happen to drive through Hudgins, close to Mathews Courthouse on a Saturday night, passing what looks like an old movie theatre, you will be amazed by the line of theater visitors waiting outside to acquire a ticket for the vastly popular variety music shows of Lil’ Ole Opry.
In fact, it is well-worth spending your Saturday evening at Donk’s with the other usually 300 or so visitors and watch one of the most splendid and amusing live old-fashioned country music variety shows around.
Fancy finding such a show in tiny Mathews County with its population of only some 9000 souls!
Donk’s offers an array of first-rate musicians and singers playing everything from country music and blues, blue grass, country and gospel, to pop and rock. They even organize their own talent show. The artists are mostly local, many amongst them are our local tradesmen, but there are also regionally known invited musicians. The entrance fees are very modest. Visitors are either local, or from further away, having driven at least an hour or more to enjoy the evening.
Donk’s, which was recently placed on the National Register of Historic Places, opened as a cinema in 1947. In June, 1975, Mathews’ native Jimmy Smith, “Uncle Jimmy” to Mathews residents, and some family members leased the building and started Virginia’s Lil’ Ole Opry with a successful country jamboree, and they have been going strong every other Saturday night since. Uncle Jimmy is a wonderfully funny MC, contributing to some hilarious shows with plenty of toe tapping and hand clapping. His daughter Lynda Smith, who grew up on the Donks’stage, is Virginia’s renowned country and rock star, performing regularly in Donk’s, but also all over the state with her band “Live Wire”.
A Saturday night at Donk’s is quite the event! Website: donkstheater.com