By Allen Hamrick
The 2013 Clay Golden Delicious Festival is in the books and will be remembered for a long time. It all started with some awesome festival weather on Thursday and Friday. Those who came out enjoyed some of the finest music this valley has heard, as well as some of the best in fine dining. Smoke from barbecues filled the air and made a person’s stomach swell just from the awesome smell of pulled pork sandwiches and chicken, just to name a few of the delectable selections. If your taste buds weren’t satisfied, you better get your tongue tested.
The quilt show displayed some of the best talent in stitchery. The Mystery of Radie’s Quilt Squares was one of the quilt shows displays. The squares were stitched years ago and recently found when folks were cleaning out a house. No one has any knowledge of why the squares were there or anything about them so therein lies the mystery. If you love color and appreciate quilting that was the place to go.
Fine dining was also held in the Lions Club as breakfast was served; it was a great time to get re- acquainted with friends, enjoy a cup of coffee and chase it with flap jacks. Later, pies and cakes filled the tables as judging began in earnest, each pie hand-made with a touch of love and the baker’s special ingredients. Once judging was over, the public was invited to partake of the delicious food that was spread before them.
There was plenty to do, but most of all, there was great music from hard driving country rock to blue grass. We watched as one of Clay Counties finest pickers, Bill Triplett, was given the Living Ledged award. Bill is as well known in these parts as the Grand Ole Opry is in Nashville. Then to everyone’s enjoyment, Bill and his band, including his celebrated mandolin player son Randy along with wife Loretta on bass, tickled our ears with some old time bluegrass music. Betty Gill was named this year’s Golden delicious Belle and no doubt will hold the title with the utmost class and style. It was a great time to just settle down, get with friends and neighbors and enjoy classic festival food and festival entertainment. Tyler West grabbed top honors at the Golden Delicious Festival golf tournament with a raw score of even par 69.
Then came Saturday. A massive front moved in Saturday that preceded a rain storm that had the streets running full of water. Saturdays usually see a packed house in front of the court house but not this day. Only the hard core festival goers came out and took on the heavy rain with dignity. People huddled under canopies, held onto their hats and made an accord to stay at the festival no matter what. It definitely put a damper on things as some of the performers took a powder and cancelled. The much anticipated parade was put on hold until Sunday. The car show was attended by the bravest as the rain came down in sheets, but the cars, however, were still looking good even in the rain.
It still didn’t stop Clay County people; the bands that did show up cranked out the tunes as the rain hammered down. The food was still cooking and people were still enjoying themselves. The rain did slow up a bit in the latter part of the day which allowed one of the premier shows to go on, and that was Po Folks Cabaret. Fire breathers, dancers, jugglers – they seem to do it all in one of the most anticipated shows of the festival. Batman and Robin were also able to splash into town to the delight of fans, young and old. They brought with them a pep talk on what it takes for the young and old to be heroes in the face of despair. It also didn’t stop the Solomon’s Secret outdoor drama held in Dundon. Gunshots were heard as the drama unfolded as they portrayed the epic struggle of their family during the Native American removal.
Sunday was a new day, bright and sunny. Gospel music filled the air. Quartets and duets entertained with the classics along with a touch of modern gospel as people started to fill the arena until it was standing room only, if you could even find that. Afterward, the parade commenced and the streets were lined with hundreds of people as the sirens began to blow. Candy was flung on the streets and kids and adults enjoyed the challenge of getting it first. Queens and princesses were dressed in their finest, rode on the finest carriages money could buy and went through waving to the subjects.
The CCHS Band performed Amazing Grace in front of the court house, and may I say thanks to the band youth for performing on Sunday. It wouldn’t be a parade without the music of the drums. The festival ended with showers of sparks and reports as the night sky filled with fireworks to the enjoyment of many. The end of the festival brings in the idea that snow is just around the corner. It has been a good festival.
The festival absolutely could not go on if not for those behind the scenes getting it ready, setting it up and tearing it down long after the people have gone. To those people, Clay County owes you many thanks because so much of our culture is dying and you selflessly take the time to make sure that good times will roll on in Clay County and that the opportunity to get together with friends, enjoy music, and eat great food will be something to look forward to. There are so many names that can be said from Terri Allen all the way down the list. It isn’t much coming from me, but Clay County is indeed fortunate to have people who are dedicated to preserving our heritage so that we can let our hair down once in a while, keep our sanity and not go mad.
By Allen Hamrick