Flywheel Festival spins this weekend

Jay Waldrop, of Vance, Ala., on left, and Jeff Foster, of the Mississippi Valley Flywheel Association, talk details of the massive flywheel spinning at Joe Brigance Park last year. (Photo by Floyd Ingram)

Jay Waldrop, of Vance, Ala., on left, and Jeff Foster, of the Mississippi Valley Flywheel Association, talk details of the massive flywheel spinning at Joe Brigance Park last year.
(Photo by Floyd Ingram)

Houston’s Flywheel Festival unfolds Friday and Saturday with lots of food, fun and quality entertainment.

The 32nd annual Mississippi Valley Flywheel Spring Festival will be held April 26-27 in Joe Brigance Park and kicks off with a boom at the anvil shoot at 11 a.m.

“We started doing the anvil shoot not long after the Flywheel Festival started,” said Charles Van Horn, of Vardaman. “We do it the first day of the festival and again at 11 a.m. on Saturday and we close out the festival with our last one at 1 p.m.”

Van Horn said the practice started in pioneer days using blackpowder and two anvils.

“In Europe they still do it to mark Christmas Day,” said Van Horn. “We just do it because it is fun and we want to see how high it goes.”

The anvil shoot will not only mark the start, but also two other high profile events at this year’s festival. The 11 a.m. shoot on Saturday will be followed by Ace Cannon on the main stage. Cannon, a Calhoun County native, is a saxophone legend and has traveled the world blowing his special style of music.

The 1 p.m. shoot will mark the start of the Tractor Pull at the back of Joe Brigance Park.

“We always work real hard to make this a fun, family-oriented event,” said Harry Collins, spokesman for the Mississippi Valley Flywheel Association. “We’ve got a petting zoo, more bounce houses and lots of fun stuff for mom and dad, too.”

The Houston Touchdown Club will sponsor a catfish supper from 4 to 7 p.m. at the CDF building. Entertainment will be provided from the parking lot out front starting at 5 p.m.

Saturday will see the Pink Ribbon 5K fun-run to raise money to fight breast cancer sponsored by the New Century Club, the pancake breakfast sponsored by the Houston Band Boosters and of course a full slate of vendors selling everything from jewelry and t-shirts to good things to eat.

The Parade of Power will wind through downtown Houston at 9:30 a.m. Local bands and entertainers will take to the stage from 9 a.m., to 2 p.m.

The tractor pull is the main event of the fall festival and it starts around noon.

And, as always, there will be demonstrations of steam and diesel engines, hominy cooking, a working grist mill, lard rendering, lye soap processing and a host of other pioneer projects in the park.

The Chickasaw County Historical and Genealogical Society will also have the Ag Museum open and artifacts on display.

“We had record crowds last year and if the weather holds out we expect another good festival,” said East. “The Flywheel Festival brings a lot of people to town and it is a big shopping day for our community.”

And there will be plenty of food for the hungry and arts and crafts for shoppers at Joe Brigance Park.

“We have worked real hard to increase the number of vendors at this year’s festival,” said East. “We expect to have over 40 booths.”

Also new this year will be the Miss Flywheel Festival pageant held at Houston High School in conjunction with the festival. The young lady selected will represent Houston at business grand-openings, industrial groundbreakings and other community events.

“The Flywheel Festival is always a chance to showcase our community and we hope people will mark their calendar and plan to come out,” said East. “Rain or shine we always have a lot of fun and bring a lot of people to Houston for the weekend.

Vendors wanting to obtain a booth at this year’s festival should contact East at 456-2321.

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