The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

May 5, 2012

Neches Heritage Day Festival successful

PALESTINE — Organizers credit community involvement for making the 20th Annual Neches Heritage Day Festival Saturday a success.

“We had a really good turnout and good weather. I think this was the best festival we have had yet,” Neches Heritage Day committee chairperson Elaine Huddleston said. “First Baptist Church of Neches was very involved and there was a lot more community participation.”

The festival kicked off with a parade through Neches which ended by the Marvin Skeen Community Center, where the event continued throughout the afternoon.

The Texas Top Guns reenactors won first place for their float, winning $100. Audrey McClung won second place (winning $50) and Marvin Skeen Community Center won third place (winning $25). Parade grand marshals  were John Lanier and Kim Dickson.

The Texas Top Guns gave the crowd a “Wild West” performance which included gun safety and the Cherokee Cloggers danced. CMB Music Productions provided music throughout the day.

“We had about 25 arts and crafts booths and free games for children,” Huddleston said. “First Baptist Church of Neches offered a bounce house, slide and snowcones all for free.”

Luri Wolf and Tina Kirchgestner of Dream Girls Custom Jewelry in Palestine were among the arts and crafts vendors participating in the festival.

Their booth featured jewelry, clothing, vintage aprons, unique night lights and granite cheese blocks and cutting boards.

“This was our first time here, but we’ve had booths at other places such as at San Antonio and Kyle events and are planning to go to Canton and other places,” Wolf said.

Debbie Stewart of Country Candles of Neches sold homemade candles with scents such as creme brulee, birds of paradise and cowboy blues.

“I’m local so I know most of the people here, but it’s nice to see the new people, sell my products and have fun,” Stewart said.

Festival committee member Pat Grounds was proud to see many Neches graduates who have grown up and left town return home for the festival — including her son Jimmy Smith.

“A lot of local kids came back for this event,” Grounds said. “Bobby Vickery, who is running for state senate came back and has a booth and there are a lot others.”

Madison Crader’s toasted coconut supreme cake won first place in the third annual Cake Bake Off, winning a $30 Walmart gift card. Rhonda Thomas of Cuckoo’s Nest Bakery in Old Town Palestine won second place, winning a Genie Food Chopper™ by Oster. Louise Dabbs won third, winning a glass cake plate with cover that doubles as a punch bowl.

Bob Sandford’s 1955 Chevy 2 door hardtop won first place in the classic car competition. Erwin Dabbs’ 1962 Chevy half-ton won second place, with Jerry Whitten’s 1959 Chevy sidestep placing third.

Next door at the Neches Elementary/Junior High School campus, the Neches PTO held its second annual spring festival which included inflatables, climbing wall, games, greased pole climb, greased pig contest and a huge garage sale.

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