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Okra Festival set for this Saturday, Aug. 25

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

The annual Okra Festival in Burkville continues under the leadership of REACH ((Rural Enrichment Assessing Community Hands) at its new location on Alabama Highway 21, Saturday, Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The event, originally founded by Barbara Evans and the late Alice Stewart, 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. Itl was held for the first time at its new 4560 Alabama Highway 21 North site next to First Year Daycare Center last year.

Officers of REACH are John A. Williams Sr., president, Willease P. Cabble, vice-president, Evelyn C. Hooks, recording secretary, and Julie W. Coleman, treasurer.

The activities at the festival that provide enjoyment include live music from visiting and local musicians, arts and crafts and delectable food recipes that incorporate the use of okra, which is an admired nutritious vegetable of Northeast African origin.

Williams said last year about 800 visitors attended the annual event. And this year, he said, a bounce house for children and an art contest for youngsters ages 16 and under have been added.

He said an art education component of the festival teaches about the history of quilt making and the historical stories of the quilt patterns and paintings, which tell a story without words.

More, he said, “One of the goals of this festival is to promote a more sustainable practice of more farm to table.  Learning how to grow vegetables such as okra, which grow well in any garden soil, will provide people with tips for growing vegetables and fruits and aid in understanding the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

The Lowndes County Commission recently approved a $750 contribution to REACH for this event through Commissioner Dickson Farrior.