The 2017 Clay Golden Delicious Festival has come to pass and will be remembered for a long time.
It all started with some awesome festival weather. On Thursday evening, the rain came early, and a beautiful rainbow filled the sky. The rain cleared up in time for the queens’ coronation, however. The flag was raised by the few veterans left from wars long past and nearly forgotten by these times. As the national anthem ended, it signaled time for the festival to begin. Smoke from barbecues filled the air and made a person’s stomach swell just from the awesome smell of pulled pork sandwiches and chicken, among other delectable selections. If your taste buds weren’t satisfied, you’d better get your tongue tested. The quilt show opened and displayed some of the best talent in stitchery. Radie’s Quilt Squares was one of the many quilt show displays along with a wooden quilt square. If you love color and appreciated quilting, that was the place to go and many did. Kay Battles, who has been the lead role in the quilting world in Clay, is retiring to Arizona soon and will not return to the quilt show. She will be missed in this county and by the festival. She was given the Living Legend award for her commitment to this county for so many years promoting the quilting world.
There was plenty to do for the whole family. People had a chance to listen to some of the best music anywhere. Although there didn’t seem to be as many groups this year, the groups that were there filled the air with some great music. To start off, the stage was full of choirs from local elementary schools, and the CCMS choir also performed. Then some of the local well known bands in gospel, blue grass and rock hit the stages along with some out of area talent. Musicians such as Terry Vaughn and Bill Triplett, legends in folk and blue grass music, took the stage on Friday, and later it was local legend 10 Feet Tall who rocked the stage. When the night came and the chill was in the air, out came the Davi Della Fiamma’s “fire show” with their tricks and fire breathing that warmed up the stage very quickly. Davi Della Fiamma spit fire 20 feet in the air as the crowd watched in awe at the human dragon’s performance. The Matt Brewster Band closed out the show Friday night. Solomon’s Secret outdoor drama was held once again at Dundon after a year off. It was good to see the play back in the festival. Elaine Lennox was named this year’s Golden Delicious Belle and will hold the title with the class and style. It was a great time to settle down, get with friends and neighbors and enjoy classic festival food and festival entertainment.
Then came Saturday – it was a wonderful day to have a festival. Fine dining was held in the Lion’s Club as breakfast was served. It was a great time to 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. People started coming in from everywhere getting set to watch the parade. The car show was held at the CCHS parking lot and apple butter was churning. For the first time in a long time, people were given the opportunity to go into one of the oldest buildings in Clay and purchase some of the goods that were still on the shelves since the store was in operation. Frances Sizemore allowed people to come in to swap some stories and enjoy walking into Clay County’s past. It looked as though thousands of people were filling the streets to see the parade and simply enjoy the day. The parade commenced about one o’clock, and the streets were lined with hundreds of people as the sirens began to blow. Candy was flung on streets like scattering grass seed, and kids and adults enjoyed the challenge of getting it first. Queens and princesses were dressed in their finest and rode on the finest carriages money could buy as they went through waving to those attending. You can’t have a parade without floats, and there were some good ones. Music was enjoyed the rest of the day and into the evening. Gunshots were heard once again as the Solomon’s Secret outdoor drama unfolded to portray the epic struggle of the Osborne family during the Native American removal to the west. The festival ended with a crowd favorite Toothless Ruth who put on a great show. Showers of sparks and reports filled the night sky with fireworks to the enjoyment of many as the 2017 Clay County Apple Festival came to an end. The end of the festival brings in the idea that fall is just around the corner.
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 once again next year. There are so many names that can be mentioned from Cassie Boggs 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 avoid going mad.