Bloomburg holds annual country festival
Bloomburg invented a new way to start a parade.
Here’s what happened Nov. 4 at the 43rd Cullen Baker Country Festival.
The paraders walked quietly up to the center of town and then stopped. The crowd of hundreds—maybe even a thousand—watched and waited.
Somewhere, off in the distance, came the sound of a fiddle. Someone was playing the national anthem.
The crowd got quiet, most put their hands over their hearts, and several began singing the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The fiddle player was Ethan Miller, a 13-year-old lad from Texarkana, Ark., had recently played before other large groups. Bloomburg’s volunteer fire department—the organization supported by the festival— got in contact with the young musician and asked him to play.
It all began properly with the Boy Scouts from Troop and Pack 311 of Atlanta and Queen City leading the parade with the appropriate flags held high.
After the music ended, the paraders walked and rode slowly through town, taking about 30 minutes to complete the route.
“It was our most successful start,” fire and festival department member Melissa Herrington said. “Will we do it again next year? Something to bring us together as a community? You bet.”
Herrington estimated Bloomburg’s annual fair attracted 2,500 people. Another way of measuring attendance was by the selling of the fried pies, she said.
“Everyone comes to get the fried pies the volunteer fire department makes. Well, we had 1,500 this year, and they were all gone by 1 p.m.”
The festival is a one-day annual event that brings 130 vendors to town.
“We start working the week after the fair ends,” Herrington said. “It takes the whole community. We all work together.”
Some efforts stand out, she said. One she noted was the Shell service station’s effort to be open at 4:30 a.m. on the day of the festival to give breakfast to all the workers and offer them an early start.
The fair usually ends at about 5 p.m. By then all the workers are tired but there’s still cleaning up to do, even as the nation goes back on Daylight Savings Time and an hour is lost. At least this year, the weather was perfect. A lot of smiles were seen and many pleasant conversations were held.
Bloomburg’s volunteer fire department is made up of 14 regular members and several others who help. No one is the specific leader of the Cullen Baker Festival. Everyone just works together, Herrington said.
Here is the list of the fire department and volunteers: Shade Attaway, Brody Brown, Derous Byers, Michael Cornett, Blake Crumpler, Brett Crumpler, Dallas Hale, Donald Hodge, Henry Hodges, Dakota Huddeston, Dennis Huddleston, Melissa Huddleston, Sammy Mitchell, Kenneth Patterson, Larry Patterson, Jayden Patterson, Allen Potts, Kristy Potts, Adam Sheffield and Cody Shields.
Near the head of the Cullen Baker festival parade was this team of miniature horses pulling an equally small ambulance. The owner/driver was a new parade member this year who got away before his name could be obtained.
The crowd was quiet with hands placed over hearts while 13-year-old Ethan Miller played the “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the beginning of Bloomburg’s Cullen Baker Country Festival.
Members of Pack 311 of the Atlanta and Queen City, Texas, area were impressive in leading Bloomburg’s Cullen Baker Festival Parade.
Larry Dugger says his dog Deacon waits for Bloomburg’s Cullen Baker Country Festival parade every year. “He enjoys it a lot, and even gets a little attention himself,” he said.