A couple of weekends ago proved to be a fabulous kick-off to our lovely fall season here in northeast Alabama. I was able to attend a high school football game and the Sacred Harp singing and luncheon at Shoal Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Edwardsville. The cooler weather made everything my friends and I did more fun.
At the singing, I met an adorable couple in their 80s. Neither was more than five feet tall, and they were dressed in period clothes from the early 1900s. Their attire might have been their daily clothing. I don’t know. They were spunky enough to drive themselves from Gadsden. I assisted her with getting her lunch because she was walking on a walker and was practically deaf. I prepared her an ample lunch thinking the tiny woman could hardly eat half of it. When it was time to prepare her dessert, I noticed she had cleaned her lunch plate. I loudly asked her if she wanted cake or pie for dessert. She loudly replied, “Cake and pie.” Everyone around us laughed. Where, but at a gathering like that, could I have had such a delightful encounter?
We are fortunate here in our area of the state to have many authentic people, such as the elderly couple I met. They seemed wholesome, friendly, with good values. Appreciating good food is a good value. The planned festivals and activities for this fall give us many opportunities to meet and mingle with such people.
Those in Calhoun County have a new website to keep us abreast of fun things to do as temperatures cool and clear days await. It is www.visitcalhouncounty.com. Each listing has a box beneath it that says “Read More” and allows readers to learn the details of each event.
Here is an incomplete list of outdoor events through October, some gathered from the website, some not, but for all those who do not visit the Internet, here is a list:
•Saturday, Sept. 16 – Fall Fest, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. At Cane Creek Community Gardens at McClellan, 77 Justice Ave. $1 for adults, free for kids, activities include plant show, ponies, and cooking. Pet Jam festival 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 501 Alexandria Road SW, Jacksonville. Activities include pet parade, dog costumes, children’s events.
•Saturday, Sept 23 – Sudsfest, 6:30-10 p.m. Longleaf Event Center, 920 Museum Drive, Anniston. Activities include tasting fine beers sampling foods, and dancing. Just over the Calhoun County line is Cave Spring Heritage Day and Mushroom Festival, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. CST 13 Old Cedartown Road. Activities include education lectures related to the Mushroom Club, chili cook-off, arts and crafts.
•Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 23-24 - National Alpaca Farm Day, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., 6330 Saks Road, Anniston. Activities include meeting alpacas, shopping, food.
•Saturday, Oct. 7 – Oxfordfest, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Historic downtown Oxford. Largest arts and crafts festival in county. Activities include entertainment, food, arts and crafts.
•Saturday, Oct. 14 - Chief Ladiga Marching Band Festival, Piedmont High School Field of Champions. (No time announced yet.) Chill-O-Ween Appalachian Festival, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Cheaha State Park. (Chili tasting is 11:30 – 1 p.m.) $5 per person entry fee into state park. Enjoy stories, music hikes, food, etc.
•Tuesday, Oct. 21, Harvest Market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m, Jacksonville First United Methodist Church, 109 Gayle Ave., $2 admission or food donation. Activities include arts and crafts, music. Flashlight Candy Hunt, 5:30 p.m. for activities, hunt begins at 8 p.m., $5 per child, for ages 12 and under. Jacksonville Park and Recreation Center.
•Friday, Oct. 27-29, Coldwater Mountain Fat Tire Fest, 5 p.m. each day, for mountain bike riders only. Demo bikes, skill clinic, food, drink, music. Registration required.
The website has information about other activities, this fall, such as area farmers’ markets, concerts, wine-tastings, target practices, and performances at Oxford Performing Arts Center. Each city and sponsor also has calendar listings.
In addition to meeting new friends, my recent holiday weekend allowed me to see a grandson play football and taste my three absolute favorite cakes – Apple Dapple Cake, Yellow Cake with Peanut Butter Icing, and Death by Chocolate Cake. All three cakes sat side-by-side on the picnic table at Shoal Creek.
I received one more thing. As I sat at the singing, I listened to the words of the old, now-little-sung hymns. The voices at a Sacred Harp singing are quite unique and require a little getting used to, but I love the words of the songs. They are so reflective of the Christian movement’s early days. They tout virtues, spiritual values, and family love. Here is an excerpt from a song called “Family Bible,” versions that have also been sung by modern singers: “I still view the chairs of my father and mother, The seats of their offspring, as ranged on each hand, And the richest of books, which excels ev’ry other, The family Bible that lay on the stand.”
Festivals and outings allow us to do many things, such as reflecting on how lifestyles have changed. No matter the changes, though, making new friends and enjoying the outdoors adds value to all of our lives.
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