To the Editor:
The 34th annual Mount Magazine Frontier Day festival and the 1st Annual Haguewood Civil War Battle Observance are over, but certainly not to be forgotten.
Wow just about covers it. What a wonderful conglomeration of local, regional and state groups that made it all possible. When you begin listing off all the people who took part, volunteered and worked, the list is so long that this letter will take an entire page, and I know that I will inadvertently omit someone. So, let me just stay a blanket thank you to everyone. You know who you are and what you did and if I forget to mention you then please know it is not on purpose.
Let’s start with the city and county — Paris Mayor Rogers and County Judge Young — who commit manpower like the city and county maintenance and street crews that mow, weed eat, move bleachers. deliver blockades, pull electricity, pick up trash, prepare the historic marker site and help to set the stone and marker. Paris Police Chief John O’Brien and the Paris PD made sure the streets were blocked for the parade. The Paris PD and the Logan County Sheriff’s deputies kept a watchful eye on the grounds on Friday night so early set-up vendors didn’t have to worry.
Let’s move on to the Lindell Parsons, President of the Fair Board and helpers like Dana Case, Curtis Turner, Bryan Weisenfels and Gary Simmons who do everything from making sure the grounds and buildings are ready to cleaning the barns and preparing them for vendors. Lindell is on-site or just a call away to help with any issue we might have, and I can’t thank him enough. Then of course there is the Cass Job Corp, under the supervision of Dorothy Gober, who brought seven strong, willing young men for two 16 hour days to help mark spaces, move tables, put up quilt racks, unload and load vendors, direct traffic, man the gates, pick up trash and then clean it all up. Thank you Joshua D., Jamen, Tim, Chekotee, Eric, Jeff and Josh W. Unless you see these guys in action you would not believe all they do to make our events successful and without them it couldn’t happen.
What about those Knights of Columbus who line up the parade? Since I didn’t get to leave the fairgrounds I’m not for sure who they all were but I know that Grand Knight Victor Schluterman made sure those Parade Knights were in place.
The Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee appointed by the Chamber board has worked for a year to make sure those events went like clockwork. Thank you to co-chairs, Dr. Curtis Varnell and Joyce Friddle and committee members Ty Varnell, Glenn Gilbreath and Linda Hamilton for putting together one amazing event. Dr. Varnell secured a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council that made possible the filming of the Haguewood Battle documentary as well as providing funds to produce the cannon and musket fire demonstrations and the battle re-enactment along with all the fun and educational things for the children in the Civil War tent. We had re-enactment groups both local and statewide, including the Logan County Old Jail Museum’s "In & Out Law" troupe, the Sons of the Confederate Veterans of Dardanelle & their Color Guard, The N.W. 15th Arkansas Infantry under the direction of James Starbird, the Sons of Union Veterans from Greenwood under the command of Larry Puckett, Tom Wing Director of the Drennon-Scott Historic Site in Van Buren and his troops of cannon and musket demonstrators and actors; students and teachers from area schools and universities that participated as actors, bushwhackers and musical entertainers; costumers like Linda Hamilton, Brenda Berry and Joyce Friddle who worked overtime putting together costumes.
Thanks to volunteers Larry, Bud Scott and Martha Parsons who did everything from transporting stuff to manning the awards tables, taking photos and helping with the contests. Which reminds me of the Paris Rotary Club who conduct the nail driving and log sawing contests, thanks to the USDA Forest Service and Mark Burge and his fellow service men and women who (even on furlough) brought the logs, saws, nails and hammers so we could have the contests. Thanks so much to my friend Karen Binz for manning the contest sign-up table through the rain and cold. Thanks to my friend Shannon Briggs who came from Russellville to help and my daughter Sarah and son-in-law Josh, who also came from Russellville, to help me. Thanks to Kevin Conkin and Paris School District for providing the sound and MC services for our entertainers.
Thanks to Patrick Millard, Harpin Hank Hogan, Sweet Strings Dulcimer Band, Martha Johnson "Whispering Spirits" Ashlin Forbis, and Downtown Georgia Brown and the Brown Family for providing great entertainment on the inside stage. I can’t possibly forget to mention those who made sure the children had a wonderful array of fun things to see and do. CASA of the Tri-Peaks for the bounce units and the KISR live radio remote; Lacy Reese and the Logan County Volunteer Fire Departments (and local law enforcement) for all the educational and fun things they brought like the Smoke House, Fire Trucks, EMS unit, Jaws of Life demonstration, free games and bags of goodies; Logan County 4-H groups for the petting zoo and horse rides. Steve Forbis and his "Pit Crew" for the antique and classic car show, on the square this year for the first time, and even with the rain still had a good turn out of classic and antique cars.
Gosh, I know I’ve forgotten something, oh yes, the vendors and shoppers who came and didn’t let the rain and cold temperatures hold them back. We had more vendors than we have ever had for a Frontier Day festival and they did very well. Thanks also to Patsy Parsons, Dottie Neumeier and the PieceMakers Quilt Guild for the beautiful quilt show.
Like I said, this list seems never ending, and only proves that it takes our entire community working together to make our events come to life and grow. A special thank you to all our sponsors, they are responsible for the funding that promotes the festival on TV, radio and in print. A huge thank you to the Vickey Wiggins, Pat McHughes and the Paris Express for all the positive press and printing the sponsor lists.
By the time this letter is in the paper we will have had the pleasure of viewing both the documentary films featuring Paris at the premier which was held on Saturday, Oct. 12 at the middle school auditorium — This is Arkansas: Paris segment, and The Battle of Haguewood Prairie documentary, which brings me to my last thank you. Thank you Ray Bertram and the crew of Blind Man’s Bluff Productions for showing Paris as a destination to the outside world. Get ready folks, cause here they will come, because of what we, as locals, already know — Paris is the place to be.
Paris Area Chamber of Commerce