Okra Festival celebrates 12th year

Published 5:03 pm Friday, August 31, 2012

Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan and his wife Kathryn mind a kettle of fried okra.

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

“I think it’s getting bigger and bigger,” said Amos Paul Kennedy, an internationally known poster artist from Gordo, Ala. who creates posters for the annual Okra Festival, which was held in Burkville this past Saturday.

Hundreds turned out for the 12th edition of the festival featuring okra, other home-cooked foods, arts and crafts, art, jewelry, entertainment and even exotic animal rides.

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“The Okra Festival is the only true festival in Alabama because it it’s a big block party,” Kennedy said. “It’s neighbors getting together having a good time.”

Kennedy said he has been coming to the festival himself for 10 years and he’s been creating posters for the event since 2002.

“This is the 10th anniversary of my posters,” he said. His latest poster reads, “We pick our okra from the left.”

Barbara Evans said Saturday’s event was probably going to be “the biggest one ever.”

She said event was mentioned in newspapers all over Alabama.

“Plus, you know, people tell each other because it’s kind of unique… very laid-back,” she said.

Evans said it helps the community “because people are buying gas in Lowndes County. All the food here is cooked and sold by Lowndes County people. And it gives them a taste of the neighborhood that they may not even know is here.”

Alabama’s Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan and his wife Kathryn were among those on hand for the festival.

“I think it’s fantastic,” McMillan said. “This is the first time we’ve been here, and we’re enjoying it. And it’s just exactly what grass roots Alabama represents.”

He said there is a lot of interest now in homegrown vegetables, and produce.

“This certainly just adds to the interest in that and to the viability of it,” McMillan said. He said he hoped it would not be his last visit.