Down the Lane: It’s Pioneer Festival time

Published 11:04 am Thursday, August 29, 2019

I am getting excited already about this weekend.

The Pioneer Festival will be in full swing, and it will be an excellent time to showcase Winchester to the thousands of people who will come to visit our festival.

I look forward to it each year. It is hard for me to believe it has now been in existence for 41 years.

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I fell in love with it the first time I got to go.

Usually, I wait until the festival is over to write about it, but this year I decided to write about it before it begins.

Friday night will be a street dance on Main Street.

It is fun to either watch the dancing or join in. If dancing does not appeal to you, just watch people. People seem to lose their inhibitions and enjoy themselves.

Before vendors sell wares, a lot of hard work has been put into by the festival committee.

They are the behind the scenes people who plan, contact, set up and hope everything goes each year smoothly.

I am sure a little bit of praying may also happen that there is not a torrential downpour to be dealt with on festival days.

I get so excited to see what will be new and different in the crafts department.

Usually, one thing seems to stand out and become a popular item soon after the festival.

One thing I am thinking about are the initial door signs made from wood and the different seasonal door hangings.

I think the first time I saw one was at the festival. Now they are adorning many doors throughout our community.

The vendors, too, have put in a year of hard work to come to make our festival a good one.

Some work from one year to the next to make their items to bring.

Thank them for coming when you visit their booths. They often drive many miles to get here and are hoping for a good return on their labor.

Without them, our festival would not have grown to the size it is now.

There will be many homes around the town having yard sales.

For some, this may make a difference in the money they get to spend at Christmas. For others, parking cars in their yards can help out.

I have come to appreciate the ones I know who will be in their same spot year after year.

One of these people is Ann Wynn Barker. She has been selling her delicious candies for 35 years now at the Pioneer Festival.

She is always there with a sweet smile to welcome anyone to her booth.

She is still willing to talk to others and answer any questions they may have.

She makes her candy in the basement of her home and Ann’s Candy Shop has become well known.

She has given tours for homemaker groups throughout the county and even taught classes on candy making to the high school students.

Ann has made Ale-8-One suckers and also works with CBD hemp candy recipes. She is a leader and never shied away from trying new things.

She has been a longtime member of her homemaker group and has been a definite asset to Clark County and the festival.

Others started slowly at the festival, growing their business, selling items throughout the year.

For some, the festival was the beginning of a profitable business.

It is usually an excellent place to buy a few Christmas gifts from the many arts and crafts booths.

There is always something there that can please everyone on your list.

You may want to bring a lawn chair and sit and listen to the entertainment and singers in the local talent contest.

If you know someone who wants to enter the contest, they need to preregister from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The entry fee is $10. The competition begins at 12:30 p.m.

While there you can also watch the kids riding on the little train that will take them around town and bring them back.

If you have never been to the festival, try to come this year. It is a fun atmosphere.

The smell of the food booths is intoxicating enough to draw you back each year.

It is exciting for me to see old friends and also to see new faces and wonder from where they all came.

From the time the festival begins with the street dance Friday night to the finale on Sunday evening, it should prove to be a wonderful weekend.

The admission cost is $10 to get to see the live performances of Rifletown, Runaway June and The Wooks at Lykins Park.

Fireworks will finalize this fantastic event.

It should prove to be a happy ending. Hopefully, we will welcome all to our festival, and they will make plans to return next year.

Hope I see you there this year.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.