AL.com and Press-Register Correspondent
Exhibits included vintage automobiles and several antique tractors, including one John Deere Model 50 from 1953, shown by M.C. Carr. A table of small farm tools and old household utensils attracted Taylor Jemison and Austin Miller, student council volunteers from Mary G. Montgomery High School.
On the campus of the 1902 one-room schoolhouse, children jumped rope, see-sawed and swirled on a tire swing. School marms Mildred Harris, Betty Houston and Terri Dodd beckoned guests from the schoolhouse doorway, while a few adults played a game of horseshoes.
Some marveled at the ingenuity of a mother killdeer who feigned a broken wing to lure inquisitive onlookers away from her nest on the school grounds.
There was no charge to enjoy the activities at Semmes Heritage Park, which includes Malone Chapel as well as the school, but donations were accepted to maintain the wood frame building and to offer schoolchildren an opportunity to spend a day in the classroom as their grandparents did.
Semmes Heritage Day Festival is May 15, 2010
Many events, games and activities will be going on at the festival, most reminiscent of an earlier time.
For example, at 10 a.m., Frankie Wood, a Mobile storyteller and former principal at Semmes Elementary School, will be telling one of her favorite yarns, “Sweet Patootie,” the tale of a little Colonial-era girl who had no doll and made out of a sweet potato.
There will be music by the Deep South Dulcimers, led by Joyce Harris. Though the name implies that only dulcimers will be played, other old-time instruments and the voices of singers will lend depth to the group’s 11 a.m. performance.
Both of these events take place indoors — storytelling in the schoolhouse and the dulcimer concert in Malone Chapel, a replica of the first Baptist church of Semmes.
Another musical performance will be presented by the Semmes Elementary School choir. Also performing will be the Lost and Found Orchestra, led by David Baker, a member of the Mobile Pops. That group will entertain visitors from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
A square-dance demonstration by the Square Dealers, a troop of special-needs dancers, is on the schedule for a noon performance.
Festival chairwoman Jeanette Byrd said the grounds at Heritage Park will be filled with a display of wagons and classic tractors, with various vendors and arts and crafts exhibitors. There will be a country store and food and baked goods for sale.
Among the vendors will be the Sandovals with their popular Kettle Corn; a company with SnoBalls for sale; and Thirty One, a booth run by Gloria Greene, Janice Ross and Sue Ann Dixon. They specialize in purses, lunchboxes, cosmetics and Watkins Products.
Semmes Woman’s Club members will be selling their cookbook, “A Taste of Semmes.” The book includes photos and drawings of Semmes historic buildings and other scenes.
SWC will also have for sale a Mary Rodning print of the Howell Home, an 1897 farm house that will become the third Heritage Park structure, joining the school and Malone Chapel. The print sells for $10, as does the cookbook.
Among the demonstrations and exhibits: a grist mill grinding corn, a wash or rub board being used and a quilt in the process of being completed. There will be games for children, the kind their grandparents played, and there are see-saws and swings on the school grounds.
There is no admission charge. Byrd is still looking for volunteers who would like to display old-timey crafts. Vendors and artists and crafters can still get a space for $20 by calling Terri Nelson at 251-649-3163.
I am reminded of the many volunteers who gave of their time to make Semmes Heritage Park the success it is today.
The first food we had for Heritage Day was Wash pot soup, and fried corn bread in iron skillet on a camping stove. Sammy Everett cleaned and sanitized his family wash pot and built the cooking fire. Members contributed cooked meat, and vegetables to make the soup. It was quiet a success.
When a citizen of Semmes Community. Chris McNeal heard of our need for food for Heritage Day He donated and grilled chicken. Semmes Winn Dixie donated the sides for the BBQ Plates along workers to fix the plates and the Semmes Woman’s Club donated bake sale items. All activities of Heritage Day were free except for the food sales with funds going to the park for maintenance and upkeep.
Another fond memory in our early days of celebrating Heritage Day happened when a man came by and saw what was going on and said he would be glad to bring a wagon for rides next year. But, he did not wait till the next year, He went home got his horse and wagon came back and gave rides. One year we had a stage coach that gave rides.
The next year we had Carriage rides by Port City Carriage, Steve Quigley. Another Year, Bart Massey and friends brought a cover wagon and a farm wagon gave wagon rides.
Throughout the years so many people have volunteer, just ordinary people that were willing to give of themselves. Semmes people are can do people and not afraid of hard work. Thank You!
Preserving our History