Forkland, Alabama Hay Art Mystery Solved and Has a Remarkable History
A few weekends ago, WTUG headed to Demopolis, Alabama, for a visit. It was such a beautiful drive with lots of peaceful scenery. Then out of the blue, we ran across this field with mysterious art displays right outside the city of Demopolis.
Why did it catch my attention? It was filled with mysterious art pieces mixed in with bales of hay. As we zipped along the highway following the GPS, I couldn’t help to think about this mystery. The Snoopy crashing his plane into a tree display was totally on my mind. I had to know more.
I’m pleased to tell you that my mystery has been solved. The one thing I love about being back on the radio in Alabama is our listeners. That Monday, while I was on the air, I talked about this field right outside of Demopolis. I even wrote a story about “my” mystery. Listeners reached out to help me.
Here is how the mystery was solved.
“That field is on Highway 43.”
“One correction, the field is in Forkland, Alabama.”
“This field you are talking about is in Forkland, Alabama, NOT Demopolis.”
“Jim Bird is the owner.”
“They host “hay day” every year, and friends and family repaint and add new pieces at Mr. Birds direction.”
“I grew up driving past this field every day of my life.”
“No creation cost over $5.00.”
“Mr. Jim Byrd is the gentleman than owns the land and is the genius behind all of the displays you saw in Forkland, AL on Hwy. 43. He has been doing this for quite a number of years. I have lived in Demopolis pretty much my entire life, and I remember them always being there, and I am 49 years old.”
And there were so many other emails to help me unravel "MY" mystery. I am stressing the word “my” mystery because apparently, this Forkland, Alabama field has been a hometown staple for years. In my defense, I’ve been in West Alabama for over 2 years now. I know Central Alabama pretty well, but I love discovering Alabama gems.
Old to some, New to others
I encourage you to take a trip down to Forkland, Alabama and visit the Bird farm. It’s a rich piece of Alabama history that I’m so glad that I know about now.
I even got a chance to chat with Jim Bird’s son Archie. We had a delightful conversation about the displays. He said that it started when his father’s hay baler started spitting out crooked bales of hay. He took those hay bales and created a spider and caterpillar for his wife had a surprise for when she returned home from a trip.
Bird said that every year they add something new to the displays. They had a mask on a bale of hay during the pandemic and then updated it with a vaccination theme.
Every year they host an event called “Hay Day.” It is the 1st Saturday after mother’s day. It’s open to the public, and this is where you get assigned different structures to work on. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already put it on my calendar.
If you are ever down that way or want to make a special trip. Bird said you are welcome to visit. He just asks that you don’t drive on the pasture, but you can walk around. It’s open to the public. However, if you are not accessible to walk around, you can drive to look at the displays.
The last piece of hay art that Jim Bird worked on was an alligator structure from a few years ago. He was 90 years old.
When I asked Archie about the design of the hay art, he said his Dad’s advice was not to have too much detail because “people are driving past it at 55 mph.”