Harvest Fest set for today

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 29, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Since 2002, the Friends of Gaineswood have put on Harvest Fest, a family fun day celebrating fall. Their other big event during the year, Gaineswood Day, has traditionally been in the spring and has been a family reunion for Whitfield descedents.

In 2003, the group decided to combine the two events, which is going on today at Gaineswood from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Some of the annual events will include children&8217;s crafts, an antique farm equipment display, musical entertainment, an art show and contests such as blue ribbon preserves, best baker, needlework and pumpkin seed spitting.

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This year, they will also be celebrating General Whitfield&8217;s 228th birthday complete with a cake.

Also during the day, tours will be ongoing with access to the circular rooftop observatory and the basement, which are not normally part of the tour.

Also on display during the tour will be a portrait of an unidentified Whitfield family member, which was purchased from a collection in North Carolina by a Whitfield descendent. Cunningham said it is believed to be a part of the Biltmore and Vanderbilt collection. They are hoping someone can help to identify the portrait.

Charles Dotson, who was at least year&8217;s festival, will be there with chain saw woodcarvings and Thomaston&8217;s Billy Skinner will be there with his flint-knapping demonstrations and displays. Johnnie West of Pinhook joins Skinner as a flint-knapper and basket maker.

At noon a representative of the University of West Alabama will be in Gaineswood&8217;s ballroom to discuss the various programs offered by the Center for the Study of the Black Belt.

Linda and the Old Fellows will perform their traditional mix of gospel and blue grass music on Gaineswood&8217;s lawn from 10-11 a.m. There will also be a pumpkin seed-spitting contest at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m.

Children&8217;s activities include face and pumpkin painting, making paper windsocks. Retired Marengo County Extension agent William Norwood, whose display of antique farm equipment shows how farm life &8220;used to be,&8221; gives children the opportunity to shell corn using an old-fashioned shelling machine.

Admission for the event is $1 per person and covers all activities.