Prepping for the Footwash crowd keeps getting bigger

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2007

GRIER &8212; This tiny Hale County community is expecting more than 30,000 visitors for this weekend&8217;s annual Footwash.

It&8217;s been going on every year since 1888, and area residents who know all about the festival&8217;s origin are proud of that.

Other vendors were making their way in, hauling commemorative T-shirt inventories, food and festival favors in trailers and getting set for the weekend festival, which used to be just the fourth Sunday in September.

Andre Vann of Andre&8217;s Mobile Foods has been set up all week. Cooking up Polish sausages, served with ground beef, green peppers and onions. His gigantic hamburgers drew comments and wagging tongues.

Turner&8217;s booth was among the first to get set up. Their booth is just a few feet away from where Arthur Turner attended school. The small, wood-framed structure is in the same site of the original Fair Hope Benevolent Society.

The Christian organization, which never had the washing of feet associated with the organization, was founded to aid the sick and assist with burial expenses.

Grier is an unincorporated community named after Oscar Grier, a prominent landowner who had the one-room schoolhouse named in his honor.

Alabama State Troopers and law enforcement from Perry, Hale and Marengo counties will be out in force, trying to keep the traffic flowing on the two-lane rural roads leading to the festival. The festival is associated closely with Uniontown, since the rolling pastures and hardwoods where the event is held is located about four miles outside of town, on Old Greensboro Road.

Mayor Phillip White said he didn&8217;t mind the festival being thought off as &8220;a Uniontown event.&8221;

White knows the history of the festival and shares an affinity with its purpose. His family business is White Funeral Home in Uniontown.