We moved to Houston four years ago and have attended every Flywheel Festival since – spring and fall.
Our first year here we got to pull the lanyard on the Keck-Gonnerman steam tractor and make it whistle. The next year we got to push the button at the Friday morning anvil shoot. Last year we were part of record-breaking crowds that filled Joe Brigance Park to enjoy the day.
I have said in this space before that I am all about festivals, special events and activities that promote our community.
And the Houston Flywheel Festival is one of the most unique I have ever seen. It’s all about Houston. It’s all about our heritage. It’s simple and just a lot of fun.
You will find a special edition highlighting the details of Friday and Saturday’s 33rd Annual Mississippi Valley Flywheel Association Flywheel Festival. We hope you enjoy what you read.
Then we hope you will get up early Saturday and make a day of it.
The Flywheel Festival starts with a bang.
At 11 a.m. Friday there will be a loud noise in Houston as festival organizers blow a 150-pound anvil about 200-feet in the sky.
It will be done across the street from our high school. It will be heard all over town. It’s a tradition that started a long time before I came to town and one I hope last years after they cover me with the red sandy soil of Chickasaw County.
There are places in this country where they would never let you set off gunpowder to blow an anvil into the air. Thankfully Houston is not one of them.
I hope you smile when you hear the Anvil Shoot this weekend. It signifies that in spite of all that is wrong with this country, there are places where people enjoy certain freedoms.
Any country boy will tell you things are forged on an anvil and things can be moved with gunpowder. I’m glad I live in Houston where we can still do both.
A flywheel is a mechanical device with a significant moment of inertia used as a storage device for rotational energy. A flywheeler is someone who shows up in Houston twice a year to participate in one of the regions premier down-home festivals.
The event got started years ago with a group of men who loved working with their hands and loved the memories they had of tinkering with old-time farm machines.
My grandfather was a carpenter and my father was a mechanic. They had a gift for working with their hands. A quick look at my pink little fingers proves that talent is not always genetic.
One of my favorite parts of the Flywheel Festival is the people I meet.
They are salt-of-the Earth folk who are quick to bargain over a trailer full of junk or talk about a day and age when life was simpler and a little more honest and true. Flywheelers are hardworking folk, men and women who grew up around here and share my culture, my heritage and my views on life.
I enjoy pulling up a chair and chewing the fat with those folks. And there are always newcomers at the Flywheel Festival and fun to tell them a little about this event and a lot about Houston.
There are two places I like to stop by at the Flywheel Festival.
One is the information booth. It’s sort of command central and you can hear the news and see the sites from there.
The other is the Pioneer Demonstration. Those old folks know how to throw a party and how to have a good time.
There will be shade and plenty of chairs at both. So come by, sit a spell, rest your weary legs and we’ll enjoy our community at its very best.
My first Flywheel Festival was the one where the threat of bad weather shut it down before noon Saturday.
And I still had a good time.
About the only thing that can put a damper on the Flywheel Festival is bad weather. And I would like to point out there is nothing the Flywheel Association, CDF or the city can do about that.
Rain is a part of life in Mississippi in the spring.
But it won’t stop the tractors. It won’t stop the Pink Ribbon 5K runners. It won’t stop the Band Pancake Breakfast. It won’t stop the vendors from cooking you a funnel cake or handing your a snowcone. It won’t stop the arts and crafts folk from offering you a rain-day deal. It won’t stop the entertainment and it won’t close the new Chickasaw County Heritage Museum.
And last but not least it won’t stop the Ingrams from enjoying another Houston Flywheel Festival.
You see, the real success of the Flywheel Festival is the people who show up every year.
The Flywheel Festival is pure fun, rain or shine. I’ll see you there this weekend.
Floyd Ingram is Managing Editor/News for the Chickasaw Journal. He can be contacted at 456-3771 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.