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Old Fashioned Festival at the Licking Mill

By Christy Porter

Managing Editor

A beautiful, sunny, fall Saturday was the perfect setting for Picking and Grinning on the Porch at the Licking Mill. Participants and contestants were kept alert by a crisp wind and continuous events from shortly after 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Photo by Christy Porter -- The Licking HS FFA honored our military with a display of colors.


The day began with hands over hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by a touching tribute to our veterans, which included musical entertainment by The Cat’s Meow from Licking High School. Brianna Link, the choir director sang a moving rendition of God Bless the USA. The LHS FFA then honored each branch of our military service with a display of colors. The U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard flags were presented along with a description of each branch of the military. Take Me Home was another piece performed by the choir.

Photo by Christy Porter -- The Cat's Meow from LHS provided musical entertainment and tribute.

LHS FFA members and helpers also hosted a petting zoo, which was fun and informational for those of all ages. At the emu corral, Justin Leyburn shared, “The emu is the second largest bird, with the ostrich being the largest.” When asked why he choose emus, Leyburn replied, “Because they’re strange and exotic.” There were also sheep, goats, quail, a chicken and a rooster, a guinea pig, rabbits, a pet heifer, a miniature horse named Buddy and a miniature bull named Blaze. The FFA also helps with the restoration and maintenance of the mill throughout the year.
Photo by Christy Porter -- Justin Leyburn shared information on the emus at the LHS FFA petting zoo.


Photo by Christy Porter -- Two year old Isaac Boardman pets the baby quail.
Photo by Christy Porter -- Suzie Blackburn gave informative tours.


Throughout the day, Suzie Blackburn gave informative tours of the historic mill. Young and old were impressed by the preservation and craftsmanship of the 130 plus-year-old mill, and great interest was shown in the mechanics of the steam powered mill, expressed by many questions. But that’s another story…


Photo by Christy Porter -- Gayle DeMoss demonstrates spinning yarn.
Gayle DeMoss was “spinning her yarn” as she demonstrated the craft using her traditional wheel made in New Zealand. She explained the technique as she kept the human-powered double-treadle foot pedal going continuously, producing yarn, which would be utilized as yarn or for cloth.

Photo by Christy Porter -- Taylor Hicks and her mother Cristin enjoyed making a Wagon Train rag doll with Suzie Blackburn.

There was opportunity to make a Wagon Train Rag Doll with available assistance by Suzie Blackburn. Scott Lindsey, candidate for Texas County sheriff, along with his family, had a table set up, also.

The Licking High School FFCLA provided old-fashioned games such as stick horses and hula hoops for the young children. There were lots of smiles, laughter, whoops and hollers from the kids.

Photo by Christy Porter -- Alaina Rogers won first place in the kids division of the Cupcake Eating Contest.[/caption]
At noon, all gathered around for the Cupcake Eating Contest, with cupcakes donated by My Little Cupcake. The contestants put their hands behind their backs (a rather difficult way to eat a cupcake.) With the table covered in crumbs and faces covered in icing, the winners were announced. Alaina Rogers won first place in the Kids division and Hannah Tillery won first place in the adults. Congratulations on their sweet success.

Photo by Christy Porter -- Winning first place in the adult division of the Cupcake Eating Contest is Hannah Tillery.
A family story authored and told by Suzie Blackburn, in costume, was shared in the early afternoon. She told of the forced removal of a local Cherokee family during the Trail of Tears in the early 1800’s. Blackburn described the hardships endured by the family, and in conclusion, listeners learned the legend of the Cherokee Rose.

Photo by Christy Porter-- Josh Kinder




Picking at the mill Saturday afternoon from 1-3 p.m. was local musician Josh Kinder. Kinder entertained the audience with numerous musical styles and formats. Many were tapping their toes and enjoying his performance.
Photo by Christy PorterLicking Downtown Pumpkin Parade contestants and creations.[/caption]


The Licking Elementary School paraded an imaginative and creative display of pumpkins at 3 p.m. The classroom winners of the Licking Downtown Pumpkin Parade were: Most Original, Pumpkin Pie-Mrs. Hart; Best Book Character, Badd Kitty-Mrs. Blackburn; Most Creative, Sunflower-Ms. Taylor; Best Fall Theme, Candy Apple-Ms. Martin; Most Bling, Princess Zombie-Mr. DeVenuto; Class Participation, My Batty Class-Miss Case; Best Animal, Mickey Mouse-Mrs. Whitaker; Most Realistic, Frankenstein-Mrs. Baker; Looks like Mr. Cooper, Blue Mummy-Mrs. Hebblethwaite; Most Tastiest, Donut-Mrs. Coffee; Best Downtown Theme, School Spirit-Mrs. Goforth; Crowd’s Choice, Purple Pumpkin People Eater-Mr. DeVenuto; Judge’s Choice, Orange Mummy-Mrs. Builta; and Class Participation, Names Have It-Mrs. Meizler. Individual winners included: Scariest, Death by Knife-Mr. DeVenuto; Funniest, Witch-Mrs. Buehlmann; and Best Carved, Casper-Kimmy ReVelle;

Photo by Christy Porter -- From Left: Kiss the Kritter contestants Bill Joyner, Georgia Merrick and Greg Green.

The winner of the Kiss the Kritter contest was revealed at 4 p.m. Contestants Georgia Merrick, Greg Green and Bill Joyner had their donation jars counted, and the kritter was decided by the same method of jar donation. All proceeds will benefit the repair, restoration and maintenance of the Licking Mill. Votes via the jars had been collected at Licking City Hall, Friend Lumber Co., TJ Flowers, Carolyn’s Beauty Shop and at the event. Greg Green was announced the winner and had the honor of kissing the chosen kritter—Blaze, the miniature bull. It may have been the red ribbon, but Blaze did not want to participate in the contest.

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