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Fall Festival is today at Gaineswood

Staff Report

There will be something for everyone today at the Third Annual Harvest Festival on the Gaineswood grounds.

The mansion’s campus will be transformed into a pseudo county-fair beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting until 4 p.m., with many fun and interesting activities to entertain, including tours of the historic Demopolis mansion.

A gate admission fee of $5 per vehicle will admit visitors to all activities, which will include open house tours of the mansion, basement, and rooftop observatory. Outside activities include children’s crafts, an antique farm equipment display, blue ribbon contests for the largest pumpkin, best quilt, pie and preserves, a pumpkin seed-spitting contest, and musical entertainment by the gazebo.

The annual event is even bigger and better this year, according to Gaineswood Site Director Matt Hartzell

“There is something for everyone of all ages to enjoy,” Hartzell said. “We are thrilled to have such an outstanding lineup of music, contest judges and volunteer presenters.”

For the third consecutive year, retired Marengo County Extension agent William Norwood will display and describe his diverse collection of antique farm equipment as he relates how farm life “used to be.”

There will be a contest for the best homemade quilt, entries to which will be judged by quilting aficionados Marilyn Linton of Meridian, and retired UWA professor Dr. Patricia DeMay of Livingston.

Tina Jones of Linden, a graduate of the Culinard Institute and owner of Tina’s Restaurant, will judge the pie contest, while Norwood will determine the winner for the largest pumpkin, and Carolyn Finley of Thomaston will taste for the best fruit preserves.

Hartzell stressed that there will be no contest entry fee, only the $5 per vehicle gate admission fee.

Entries should be submitted no later than 10 a.m. Entries will be judged from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., with winners announced and blue ribbons awarded at 2 p.m.

Entries not consumed by visitors may be picked up between 3-4 p.m.

For the children, there will be pumpkin painting, making paper wind socks and paper pumpkins, burlap sack races and tug-o-war. Pumpkin seed-spitting contests for all ages will be held at 11 a.m., and again at 1 p.m. Children will be able to take their crafts home to enjoy during the fall season, Hartzell said.

A new element at Harvest 2004 is a stellar lineup of musical entertainment. “We are very fortunate to have three talented acts perform at Harvest,” Hartzell beamed.

From 10 a.m.-11 a.m., local bluegrass-gospel-country band the Old Fellas will perform with Nina Pruitt on vocals. In addition to Pruitt, the eight-member band features Bill Barton-standup bass, Ganus Thomas-dobro, Leon Hoggle-mandolin, JD West-guitar, Jim Sigler-guitar, Don Buchanan-guitar, and Henry Baxley-banjo. From noon-1 p.m., Linden native and UWA sophomore Chelsea Daniels will belt out her engaging blend of rock, country, and gospel standards. From 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m., vocalist Elizabeth Acker of Greensboro, the 2003 Greensboro Catfish Festival Queen, will perform with veteran Demopolis musicians Mike Rogers, Rick Gray, and Steven Padilla.

Gaineswood is a historic site of the Alabama Historical Commission. Located at 805 South Cedar Avenue in Demopolis, the house museum is a National Historic Landmark noted for its unique architecture and original furnishings.