True to its name, Sunflower Festival shines in the rainBy: David Holloway
The ninth annual Sunflower Festival was held in Mountain City on Saturday and the day got started with a bang, a bang of thunder that is. A large storm cloud had settled over the city during the morning hours delivering thunder, lightning, rain showers and periods of heavy rain. The skies were ominous over Mountain City for most of the morning and it appeared what was meant to be a fun event for everyone to mix and mingle on the streets was going to instead turn out to be a bust. People that have been involved with the festival since its inception cannot remember rain ever having been a problem, but rather contending with extreme heat is usually the case.
The beauty pageant, which was scheduled to be held around 10:00, was delayed a bit because of the inclement weather. Karla Prudhomme, one of the chairs of the Sunflower Festival Committee, (which also includes Barbara Coyne and Celeste Dunn) said that the participants were very patient and were troopers through the whole event standing under the awning of the courthouse and walking with umbrellas for the judging. The winners of the pageant are listed as follows: Baby Sunflower Princess: Nevaeh Heaton and Best Outfit, Katana Poteet; Doll Sunflower Princess: Mazie Lynn Phillips and Best Outfit, Bryana Phillips; Wee Sunflower Princess: Savannah Lewis and Best Outfit, Savannah Lewis; Tiny Sunflower Princess: Patience Gardner and Best Outfit, Patience Gardner; Little Miss Sunflower Princess: Zoey Eldreth Green and Best Outfit, Makayla Medley, Jr.; Miss Sunflower Princess: Deanna Greer and Best Outfit, Deanna Greer; Sunflower Queen: Samantha Hannah and Best Outfit, Samantha Hannah.
The rains caused some vendors to pack up and leave early and others to not show, but for those brave souls that stuck through the weather challenges, they were rewarded with what turned out to be a pleasant afternoon. The rains stopped shortly after noon and the skies started to clear up a bit. One of the members from the MIB Soul-Man Band said, “We now have about the perfect weather. The rains have stopped and it is not hot.” There were several bands that day including “Creek Junction’s Bluegrass Band,” “MIB Soul-Man Band” and “All In.” “Creek Junctions” was scheduled to play during the late morning hours. It was still raining then but that didn’t stop them. In spite of not being able to set up on the stage, they set up on the sidewalk and played anyway. The other bands also set up on the sidewalk for their scheduled times.
Setting up and running the sound equipment can be a grueling job and can also be a thankless one. Most of the time, no one knows the sound person is even around until something goes wrong with the sound, and then everyone looks at this individual to see what is going on. A special recognition goes out to Billy Gambill of Gambill Entertainment. He was the gentleman in charge of the sound for the event. He said that he had to relocate the sound equipment three times that morning because of the weather. He did an excellent job and the sound couldn’t have been better.
When the skies cleared in the early afternoon, the kids’ area equipment was setup. Some of the activities for the kids included badminton, an inflatable house, two inflatable water slides and face painting. Ann Badal, advertising director for The Tomahawk, and Celeste Dunn, owner of the local H&R Block office, spent the better part of the afternoon painting the faces of numerous children.
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