Bloom­burg holds an­nual coun­try fes­ti­val

Texarkana Gazette - - CASS COUNTY LIFE - By Neil Abe­les Cass County Life

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.

Staff pho­tos by Neil Abe­les

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.

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