Heritage Day fun coming to Marion

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It used to be called the Muckle’s Ridge Festival. Now it’s Perry County Heritage Day. Whatever you call it, the festival to be held in downtown Marion this Saturday promises a whole lot of fun.

Heritage Day is an annual event sponsored by the Perry County Chamber of Commerce, in association with the Perry County Historical Society, to raise funds for the chamber and encourage interest in Marion and its history.

“We’re trying to help Marion become a better place and increase the number of residents,” says John L. Martin, Director of the Perry County Chamber. “Marion is the strongest community in the Black Belt when it comes to history. We’ve got Civil Rights history, voting rights, Civil War, education…We’re just going to toot our own whistle a little bit.”

Heritage Day is centered in downtown Marion, around the Perry County courthouse square. For those interested in Marion’s history, tours of several of Marion’s historic homes and three Marion museums–the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, the Alabama Military Hall of Honor, and the Lincoln Normal School museum–will be available.

For those more interested in browsing for a bargain, a wide variety of arts-and-crafts vendors will have their tables and booths set up around the square.

“You name it,” Martin says,

“and somebody will have it.”

Amongst the goods that will be on display are birdhouses, wind chimes, sports memorabilia, Christmas stockings and decorations, locally painted and printed art, candles, homemade glass jewelry, and other various arts-and-crafts.

Live entertainment will be provided from approximately 12 to 3 p.m. by Jennifer Acker, a singer from Greensboro, and Ted Whisenhunt, an art professor at Judson College who along with a backing band performs a “kind of comedy music,” according to Martin.

Whisenhunt will also be represented at another Heritage Day attraction, the Historical Society’s Fine Art Exhibit. More than eight different artists will be displaying their work gallery-style at Marion’s Old Depot. Martin indicated that interest in the event had “outgrown” the original venue, causing it to move to the Depot location.

A number of food vendors would also be available, Martin said, selling everything from barbecue to cotton candy to burgers.

Martin added that he doesn’t expect weather to be a factor, except to possibly draw more people to the event.

“The weather’s supposed to be outstanding,” he said. “Just as pretty as you please.”

This year’s Heritage Day represents the sixth consecutive year the Chamber has held the festival after re-starting it in 1999. The original Heritage Day was called the Muckle’s Ridge Festival, and was started almost 30 years ago. Declining interest led to the festival’s cancellation for a number of years until the Chamber, led by Marion City Councilman Corin Harrison, decided to move the festival from fall to spring, rename it, and revive interest in the event.

Martin said he expects the revival to be a success again this year.

“We’ll start at 9 a.m.,” he says, “and we’re hoping it lasts until midnight!”

For more information, contact the Chamber at (334) 683-9622.