Not ending but, 16th Okra Festival this Saturday will be last held at Evans’ home

Published 12:02 pm Monday, August 22, 2016

Special to the Signal

It’s not ending, but this year’s Okra Festival, set for Saturday, Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., will be the last held at the home of Barbara Evans on Harriet Tubman Road in Burkville, Evans, the co-founder, announced in a press release.
Evans said, ” t has been a long journey for Lowndes County’s Okra Festival held the last Saturday in August. Begun by two friends, Alice Stewart and Barbara Evans, it quickly grew from a neighborhood party to one of Lowndes’ County’s most popular events, and ultimately into a bright spot for the state of Alabama.”
But Evans said she this year she will slow down a bit to let it all sink in “because this Okra Festival is the last one held at her home on Harriet Tubman Road in Burkville.”
“It is time”, Evans said. “Sometimes we old heads fail to hand important things off to the younger generation.” She said she believes that ultimately, the failure of the older generation to hand things off and move on can become a community problem.
She said, “You have to know when it is time. For me, it is time, and I have a commitment from a younger woman who I know can handle the work and the different facets of the festival.”
Evans said this year’s event will highlight the food genius of local chefs, great music, and uncommon art.
She said Annie Mae’s Art Place, which is the little dwelling that holds local art and history, will continue to sell art and give tours about Lowndes County.
Evans said she hopes she can recruit new artists and make Annie Mae’s Place a co-op for local artists. She also plans to expand her gardening, finally finish the book she is writing, and have new adventures.
“Every year, people come up to me with suggestions about how to make the Okra Festival larger”, Evans said. “ I have to tell them I don’t want it any larger. It is the small, home grown atmosphere that people love. Perfect strangers tell me it is like a family party or even a family reunion. I hope that continues, but I have warned my replacement that I will need her help in keeping my nose out of things.”
Evans, who is also known as Annie Mae, said she will have both pickled okra and okra pies available. And she stressed that there is one rigid rule. In order to sell cooked food at the Okra Festival, one absolutely has to live in Lowndes County. And food vendors need to register by sending an e-mail to alawatch@bellsouth.net with names, addresses, phone, e-mail and a description of food to be served. Arts and crafts vendors do not have to register, and can be from anywhere, but they need to get to the location before 9 a.m. to set up and be ready to
go at 11 a.m., when the festival begins.

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