HOUSTON – So who is the best tractor driver in this area?
The Houston Flywheel Festival will see two new events this year aimed at testing the skills of local plowboys and tractor-drivers.
“We will have a chain drop and a barrel push,” said Harry Collins, of the Mississippi Valley Flywheelers Association, the festival’s sponsor. “We will also have a slowest tractor race.
“If you have never seen these things, you need to come out and take a look,” said Collins. “And of course we will have all the regular antique tractor pull that draws people from all over.”
The chain drop will see a chain attached to a tractor and the driver will have to drive back and forth across a circle to get all of it inside. The barrel push will see tractors use their front wheel to push a barrel down the track to a finish line.
Houston’s down-home festival showcasing an age-gone-by will be held Friday and Saturday April. 25-26 at Joe Brigance Park and will see all the regular events and activities that has endeared this festival to North Mississippi.
“This is for Houston and we especially like to do things that get the kids involved,” said Collins, of the Mississippi Valley Flywheelers Association. “Most of the old folks remember these kinds of things and it’s just great to see the kids enjoy the day too.”
This marks the 33nd year for the Flywheel Festival to spread its wares in Houston and it will once again see people from all across the country bring their antique tractors, old farm tools and flywheel engines to North Mississippi.
But the festival also has a more modern flavor with a 5K fun-run to raise money to fight breast cancer, local entertainment and of course a full slate of vendors selling everything from jewelry and t-shirts to good things to eat.
Friday dawns with antique tractors and engines going on display at Joe Brigance Park. Arts and crafts vendors will also start setting up that morning.
The festival officially gets underway at 11 a.m., with the first of several “anvil shoots.”
Live entertainment starts at 5 p.m., and the Houston Touchdown Club catfish supper will serve plates from 4 to 7 p.m.
Saturday begins with the 5K run at 8 a.m. and the Pancake Breakfast benefitting the Houston Band Boosters.
Opening ceremony – with a flag raising and introduction of visiting dignitaries – is at 9.
The Parade of Power featuring tractors old and new is at 9:30 with entertainers taking to the main stage until 2 p.m.
The tractor pull is the main event of the fall festival and it starts around noon.
The Chicksaw County Heritage Museum will unveil a new exhibit on Flywheel Weekend highlighting Chickasaw County’s history in the Civil War. The exhibit is part of the national recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
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 Flywheel Festival is always a chance to showcase our community and we hope people will mark their calendar and plan to come out,” said Joyce East, executive director of the Chickasaw Development Foundation, a sponsor of the event. “Rain or shine we always have a lot of fun and bring a lot of people to Houston for the weekend.
“The City of Houston always does their best to clean up the park and the community and we want local people to come out and support this event,” said East. “We have flywheelers from all across the state come to this festival as well as folks from as far away as Michigan and Pennsylvania.”
Vendors wanting to obtain a booth at this year’s festival should contact East at 662-456-2595 or come by CDF offices in Joe Brigance Park.
Churches, civic clubs and regional arts and crafts makers are urged to reserve a booth early.