Hiwasse fall festival offers fun for all ages
HIWASSE — The weather cooperated beautifully for this year’s Hiwasse fall festival; and a bright, sunny day greeted those who came out for the event. Tables were set up under the trees in the area around the community building and many stopped there to visit with friends and neighbors. Others congregated under the pavilion in the park to greet fellow classmates from Gravette High School for an alumni luncheon.
Several activities were planned for the youngsters. A bouncy house was set up near the playground, a ring toss game was set up and some enjoyed creating chalk art on the sidewalk. Young artists enjoyed the pumpkin painting booth, and members of the art club at Gravette High School assisted them as they completed their colorful creations.
Vendors set up booths and offered their products, including locally-grown produce, books by area authors, handmade woodcrafts and other craft items. Members of the Hiwasse Baptist Church and Hiwasse Church of the Nazarene manned booths. Gravette Public Library staff shared information about library programs, and the Gravette
Lions Club made souvenir buttons for festival visitors.
Hamburgers and hot dogs were grilled by employees of the Bank of Gravett and served with chips, drinks and Little Debbie sweets. Members of the Back Roads Band entertained the crowd with upbeat rock and roll tunes from the ’60s through the ’90s. The Gravette historical museum commission set up a photo booth where folks could snap a memory of the occasion. The booth featured a 1978 Chevy pickup used by rural carrier Bob Kelley to deliver mail in Hiwasse and Gravette for several years.
Eight chili chefs entered the festival chili cookoff. Tasting cups were available for $1 each and, after tasting samples of each dish, tasters voted for their favorite. Gravette police chief Chuck Skaggs won the cookoff with his entry he called “My Adopted Wife.” He won a $50 cash prize, a festival T-shirt and coffee mug and the right to sign his name to the cookoff chili pot traveling trophy. Other entrants prepared pots of John Chili, CT’s Texas Chili, My First Rodeo, Wizard’s Brew, Chililicious, Rainbow Chili and Devil’s Gravy.
Bill Mattler, treasurer, and Al Blair, president of the Gravette Lions Club, sit at the Lions Club booth at the Hiwasse fall festival. Lions Club members displayed club literature and membership information and made souvenir buttons for several festival visitors with “Hiwasse Day 2018” and their photo on the front.
George Cowgur (right), of Hiwasse, offers his tasting cup to be filled by the first of a line of chili cooks in the chili cookoff at the annual Hiwasse fall festival. The contest drew eight entries, and festival-goers were able to sample each pot of chili after paying a fee of only $1. Chuck Skaggs won the cookoff with his “My Adopted Wife” entry.
Larry Weihe, chairman of the chili cookoff at the Hiwasse fall festival, displays the chili pot trophy won by Chuck Skaggs, Gravette chief of police, at the annual festival. Skaggs beat out seven other chili cooks in the competition, received a $50 cash prize, a festival T-shirt and a coffee mug and then signed his name to the traveling trophy.
Visitors to the annual Hiwasse fall festival sit at tables under the trees at the Hiwasse park to eat and to visit with neighbors and friends. Others gathered under the pavilion in the background where several Gravette alumni met to visit with classmates from GHS. Hamburger and hot dog meals were prepared by the Bank of Gravett.
Joe and Kelly Orozco, who live between Gravette and Hiwasse, pause while enjoying the Hiwasse fall festival to pose for a souvenir photo at the Gravette historical museum commission’s photo booth. The 1978 Chevy pickup in the booth was used by rural mail carrier Bob Kelley to deliver mail in the Hiwasse area for several years.