Friday, September 9, 2011

Mule Day on October 8, 2011

Children will enjoy traditional hands-on Southern activities at the upcoming Mule Day October 8. Children will enjoy traditional hands-on Southern activities at the upcoming Mule Day October 8.The list of kids’ activities for October’s Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival is filling up.
The 32nd annual festival on Saturday, October 8, will feature activities aimed at giving children a hands-on connection with Southern heritage with a variety of old-fashioned craft demonstrations, antique farm machinery and tractors, old cars and trucks. “We’ve got so much for kids to enjoy,” said Tourism Director Erin Pollock. “One of the antique trucks makes ice cream, and we’ve got lots of other things for them to do.”
Last year’s big hit for kids was the opportunity to harvest dried corn, shuck it, husk it, and grind it into cornmeal, all using antique equipment under the supervision of local experts.
New to the festival this year will be the participation of several Gospel choirs and authentic seven-note singing, she said. “We’ll also have the Dazzling Dolls twirling group and lots of other entertainment.”
Organizers are still looking for some arts and crafts vendors to sign up early for the event. Vendors can contact the Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce at 706-678- 2013 for more information.
As they have for the last two years, members of the Washington- Wilkes Historical Foundation will be coordinating many of Mule Day’s historical aspects including primitive crafters and costumed docents for the homes and outbuildings.

2010, Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival ready to return for 30th annual celebration Oct.

By KIP BURKE news editor
David Ayers of Hull, Georgia, took Grand Champion trophies with his mules Mae and Molly. David Ayers of Hull, Georgia, took Grand Champion trophies with his mules Mae and Molly.Wilkes County’s 30th annual Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival surpassed all recent observances, organizers say, with more mules, more vendors, and more hands-on fun for children than in years.
“I believe we had a record crowd,” said Tourism Director Ashley Barnett. “It was a gorgeous day and everybody had a great time. The Chamber of Commerce board members did an outstanding job in organizing the festival and making it happen. It was a smooth day, our plans worked out well, and we appreciate all the volunteers and sponsors who made it possible, and especially the support of local families who came out.”
A big hit this year were the handson activities for children, Barnett said. “Thanks to Ricky Callaway, the children got a real feel for working on the farm.”
Porter Barnett, who helped pick, shuck, tote, and hull a load of corn, watches the resulting corn meal pour from the grinder. Porter Barnett, who helped pick, shuck, tote, and hull a load of corn, watches the resulting corn meal pour from the grinder.“The kids have really had a good time picking corn in the field, then shucking it and running it through the hulling machine,” Callaway said. “Then we ground it up and they got to see where corn meal and cornbread and grits come from. They worked hard.”
There were more handcraft vendors and primitive demonstrators on hand than in previous years, she said. “We had 52 vendors, the most in years, and we really appreciate the primitive demonstrators who come out all day for free.”
It was an excellent day for mules, too. “We had a total of 21 mules show, more than we’ve had in the last 10 years,” said the festival’s mule honcho, James Callaway. “Everybody had a good time, and said they want to come back next year.”
Carter Wyatt gets a little help from his dad, Ashley, picking the dried corn at Saturday’s Mule Day. Carter Wyatt gets a little help from his dad, Ashley, picking the dried corn at Saturday’s Mule Day.This year, David Ayers of Hull, Georgia, took Grand Champion trophies with his mules Mae and Molly taking top honors in single mule and pair mules at halter.
In other classes, David Ayers took first in Class II, Single Mules at Halter, two and over with Mandi, while last year’s grand champion Smith Wilson took second with his mule, Kit. Ayers’s Mae and Molly took first in Class IV, while Smith Wilson took first in Class V, pair mules at halter, two and over. L&D Farms took second in Class V with Jack and Jill, while Reggie Hilliard took third with his mules, Pride and Joy.
In Cotton Mule halter Class II, Billy Copeland’s mule, Joyce, took first, while Willie Welborn’s Katie took second, Sam and Marie Levert’s Jessie and Ruby placed third and fourth.
Brandy Bashore took first in Cotton Mule Showmanship, with David Ayers placing second and third with Mae and Molly. Dr. Billy Copeland and his mule, Dot, took top honors for Under Saddle, with Marie Levert taking second on Jessie, and Jackie Copelan and Jim Bob in third.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2009, October 10, 29th Mule Day Big Success With New Events

Mule Day festival big success with more mules, more locals

Old engines and tractors, as well as shady picnic tables, were a big attraction at Mule Day.
Saturday's 29th annual Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival was a big success, organizers say, with more mules, more local participants, and more exhibitors than in years past.

"People have been stopping me all day and saying how much they enjoyed Mule Day this year," organizer Carol Cartledge said. "I was very pleased at how many local participants we had, and at how many people came out to enjoy the events."

Along with the mules, the event showcased some 45 primitive craft demonstrators and 55 vendors, Tourism Director Ashley Barnett said. "Carol Cartledge did a great job and worked so hard at chairing the event this year," she said. "With about 2,000 people in attendance, we are so thankful to those who came out for the event. We had so many travel from all over to attend Mule day from Tennessee, South Carolina, west and south Georgia, North Carolina, and so many other places."

In the day's mule events, Smith Wilson's 13-year-old Belgian mule Kit took Grand Champion in Singles, and Kit, paired with the blond Belgian mule Bird, took the Grand Champion trophy in Pairs. In awarding the trophies, Judge Jack Logan of Eatonton said that Kit and Bird were "the finest pair of mules in the state."

"We had an outstanding selection of mules to compete," said James Callaway. "I'm very pleased at the turnout."

Adding to the historic feel of the day were the Confederate encampment complete with regular cannon fire, and some 40 costumed docents from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. "David and Debra Denard really added a great historic touch to the day bringing to life the period of the War Between the States," Cartledge said.

Displays of antique tractors and old traction engines were popular, too, along with several antique and classic autos. Old-time craft demonstrators showed visitors how their ancestors made soap, made chairs, and a dozen other primitive crafts. "Thank you to Ricky Callaway for his leadership on bringing back the antique machinery and tractors," Barnett said, "and thank you to Tammy Bryngelson for lining up First United Methodist Church for the children's games. The kids had a great time with all the games."

It took a community effort of dozens of local citizens to pull it off, Barnett said. "Mule Day is one of the great events that Washington- Wilkes has, and we are so thankful to all those who made it possible."
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2009, October 10, 29th Mule Day Will Have New Events

Saturday's Mule Day will see two new mule events

There's something about mules that kids really love, and much of Saturday's Mule Day will be aimed at entertaining, informing, and amazing children.
New mule events including a mule pull and a mule race are expected to add to the fun Saturday at the 29th annual Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival.

The event will open at 10 a.m. Saturday and run to 4 p.m. at Callaway Plantation on Highway 78, rain or shine. Admission is $5 a carload.

"We should have quite a few more mules than in years past," said mule czar James Callaway, "including three of my own. We have a specially made pulling sled for mules, so we'll have a mule pulling event, and we're going to have a mule race in the arena if we have enough entrants."

"We really feel we've returned to the Mule Day of old when it was so popular," said Carol Cartledge, who is organizing the event for the Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce. "With the return of Ricky Callaway's wonderful old tractors and equipment, and all the mules and mule events arranged by James Callaway, everybody says we'll see a real return to the way Mule Days were in the past."

More than ever before, she said, visitors can see primitive craft demonstrations including apple coring and peeling, blacksmithing, butter churning, candle making, chair caning, hand corn shelling, tomahawk throwing, hand spinning, log hewing, rope making, plowing, quilting, soap making, sorghum syrup making, weaving, and wood shake making.

"You'll be able to participate in select primitive demonstrations," she said. "And docents led by Debra Denard will be giving tours of the homes of Callaway Plantation, and four camps of Sons of Confederate Veterans will be on hand, too."

There will be displays of antique engines, tractors, cars, chainsaws, hand tools, muzzle-loading rifles, and Native American arrowheads. There will be a sawmill, a shingle mill, a grist mill, and a tar still.

"In addition to our mule events, we'll have a pumpkin patch, hayrides, storytelling, historic home tours, arts and crafts, and delicious food," she said. "And as always, we'll have Mule Day t-shirts for sale."

Weather permitting, the Young Eagles and the Washington Kiwanis Club will sponsor free airplane rides for children at the Washington- Wilkes Airport. The day's children's activities are sponsored by First United Methodist Church of Washington. "For entertainment, we'll have Sylvia Walker of Rayle and the Southern Influence Band," she said.

There will be programs and lectures on honey and beekeeping, sheepdog herding, and turkey calling.

Wilkes CountyTourism Director Ashley Barnett said that the Mule Day festival is the work of many hands. "Mule Day would not be possible but by the help of so many people, including the Boy Scouts of Troop 33, Hubert Bailey, Keith Bailey, Shari Bryson, James Callaway, Ricky Callaway, the City of Washington, the DAR, David and Deborah Denard, Tanya Fair, Mark Davis, Kathy Dinnewith, Mike Dyches, Lewis Hall, Geoffrey Hill, Mary Lodwick, Louise McClearen, Tim Miller, Jeff Murphy, G.B. Newsome, the Washington Rotary Club, David Russell, the SAR, Lois Soerster, David Vanhart, Tyler Verdery, and Billy Walker. This is a real community event, and I hope everyone comes out to enjoy it!"
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2008, October 11, 28th Mule Day Was Big Success

Mule Day is big success
More than 2,500 visitors, including one-year-old Brady Hammatt, attended the 28th annual Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival Saturday, Washington Wilkes Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Barnett said. As in years past, Barnett said, local and visitors alike filled the Callaway Plantation to step back in time to Georgia's pioneer days, enjoying the products of primitive craftsmen and demonstrations of old-time skills."We had a wonderful turnout," Barnett said. "I want to thank all the sponsors, volunteers and participants who worked so hard to make it happen again this year."

2008, October 11, 28th Mule Day Will be Bigger than Ever

Mule Day this Sat. at Callaway will be bigger than ever

News- Satur day' s Mu le Day Sou thern Heritage Festival will be bigger, with more activities and fun things to do this year, said Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Barnett. "There's going to be music and food, primitive crafts, and lots of fun for kids, and it's only $6 for a whole carload to get in."

The 28th annual Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival will be held all day Saturday, October 11. As in years past, Barnett said, local families and visitors alike will come to Callaway Plantation on Highway 78 and step back in time, back to the days of mule plowing and other pioneer skills, surrounded by primitive craftsmen and young ladies in antebellum dresses. "And again the admission is only $6 a carload," Barnett said.

Early in the day, from 10 a.m. to noon, News - mule o wner s fr om al l ov er the southeast will be bringing their best mules to show, compete, and demonstrate plowing and mule-drawn equipment. Anyone with draft mules or cotton mules is invited to come to Mule Day and participate in the contests, mule wrangler Ed Pope III said.

Visitors may get to try their hand at plowing behind a mule, but Pope reminds visitors that the mule events start early and are expected to be complete by noon.

Young people, too, can take part in Young Eagle flights across the road at the Washington-Wilkes Airport.

To draw more people to shop in Washington, Barnett said, participating Washington merchants are offering a 10 percent discount for those with a Mule Day wristband.

Children can participate in plowing with a mule and enjoy a petting zoo, a kiddy train, and special games. Hubert Bailey's sheepdogs will give their herding demonstrations, and volunteers will demonstrate pioneer skills such as bow-making, tar distillation, and blacksmithing.

For adults, there will be dozens of arts and crafts vendors, numerous food vendors, a horseshoe tournament, music, and more. "We have a great number of crafts vendors coming," Barnett said.

As always, there will be the sound of music at the bandstand. "We've got 'Waitin' for Parts,' a bluegrass gospel group from Elberton, playing 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.," Barnett said. "And Billy Maxwell will be performing too."

Visitors can tour several buildings on the plantation, including the 1869 Greek Revival brick house, the 1790 two-story Federal Plainstyle house, and the 1785 one-room rough-hewn log cabin. Volunteers will be demonstrating old-time skills such as weaving, spinning, quilting, and ropemaking in or near the homes.

In addition to the kids' activities at Callaway, Washington-Wilkes Airport operator Chris Hughes says pilot Keith Donker will return and give "Young Eagles" plane flights to children and youth ages 8 to 17 at the airport. "We really like to introduce kids to aviation, to spark their interest in flying," he said.

The flights will be available starting at 10 a.m. at the airport.
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2007, October 13, Perfect Fall Weather for 27th Mule Day

Perfect fall weather brings big local Mule Day turnout

Six-year-old Brook Aiken of Winterville shows no fear as she climbs the rock wall at Saturday's Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival. Beautiful weather brought out large crowds for the annual event.
Perfect October weather and a low admission fee brought some 4,000 mule fans to the 27th annual Mule Day Southern Heritage Festival all day Saturday.

"We had had a great turnout - lots more local families this year," said Chamber of Commerce President Blake Thompson. "People said they appreciated the lower price, and we finally had good weather."

Thompson said he appreciated the participation of Chamber of Commerce board members, local volunteers, and local businesses to make the annual event a success. "It takes a lot of volunteer effort to make this happen, and we appreciate everybody's help."

By actual count of armbands passed out at the entrance, he said, almost 4,000 paying customers attended from Wilkes County and from all over. From early Saturday, crowds enjoyed the day of mule events, old-fashioned skills, food, games, and music at Callaway Plantation.

Miss Wilkes County Gracen Ware performed her officialduties at Mule Day, handing out the Grand Champion trophy to Ronnie Wiley showing Kate and Pat for owner Joe Milligan.
More than 60 young people took part in the Young Eagle flights across the road at Washington-Wilkes County Airport throughout the day. "We had a great turnout," said Washington-Wilkes airport operator Chris Hughes. "We had so many kids want a ride we had to stop the line at 3 p.m., and we flewtil after 5."

For the main event, Ed Pope III said, some 21 mules and their proud owners came out to show their animals under the leadership of Ellen Day with John Mobley of Union Point returning to judge.

In the Draft Mule category, perennial favorite David Ayers of Homer, Ga. took Grand Champion in Single Mule at Halter showing Kate.

In Pair Mules at Halter, Joe Milligan of Monroe took Grand Champion with Ronnie Wiley showing Kate and Pat.

In Cotton Mules, in Single Mule at Halter, young Benjamin Scoggins of Madison took Grand Champion with his mule James Dumas. Wilkes County mule owner James Callaway took first place in Single Cotton Mule at Halter over 2 years with Blackie.

Joe Milligan won both hitch events driving Kate and Pat, and Benjamin Scoggins took first in the saddle event with his mule Julie.

In the under-15 Showmanship Class, Benjamin Scoggins, 13, of Madison took first place showing his mule James Dumas, and Mikala Pearson, 11, and Gerad Pearson, 8, of Royston, took second and third.

The crowds also enjoyed the First Annual Callaway Cup team horseshoe tournament led by Chamber Board member Casey Jackson. In the afternoon competition, the team of David Roberts and Bill Moseley took the Callaway Cup, with the team of Casey Jackson and William Johnson taking second. Jim Baston and Greg Clay took third.

The Mule Day crowds enjoyed some 41 craft and gift vendors and 16 food vendors, and the vendors were very happy with the crowds, Thompson said.

The Chamber board is already meeting to try to improve for next year. "I've seen more Wilkes County folks here this year than in years," Thompson said. "That's a good sign, and we're going to try to see if we can't improve local participation by making admission free next year, if the board agrees."
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