I spent a week in Athens a few years ago, just after they got a Wal-Mart (hitting the big time, obviously) :). I don't think the county is dry (I recall stopping at a package store a few miles outside of town)...but I think the city might be. Pretty town, though and good fishing nearby.
Rednecks around? Yeah, some, but in my view these are more gentle rednecks than the variety currently exploding around metro Atlanta as a reaction to the more progressive nature of the city. Most of these rednecks are more good-ol-boy-let's go fishing or mudding.
However, there is a cadre of folks you wouldn't call rednecks that have lived in the area forever...call it Texas aristocracy...that is probably more racist overall.
Biggest issue related to this forum: workout facilities. I recall that the TVCC campus facilities were OK but outside of that, what Athens had to offer was a travesty: A city-sponsored "fitness facility" with 20 year old machines maintained only sporadically, in a building that also housed an art center and other community activities. No showers or other amenities. Perhaps this has changed in the past few years, but this was the biggest downer I had about Athens. All the other aspects above (and discussed in this forum) were relatively minor, as Dallas is only about 90 minutes away if you want big city amenities.
Hope this helps.