Wednesday
Dec012010

18th Annual Milam Settlers Day A Great Success!

It was a dark and stormy night…a few days earlier, but the weather was cool, crisp, and clear for the 18th Annual Milam Settlers Day weekend historical festival held at the El Camino Park in Milam, Texas on Nov. 19th and 20th.   The crowd numbered in the thousands and enjoyed the largest celebration ever with much to see and do.  There were historical re-enactments by the Bevil’s Rangers who were dressed in early Republic of Texas garb.  They demonstrated various chores and handicrafts that would have occupied settlers in the area of Milam, once dubbed “Red Mound” by Stephen F. Austin after he stayed on the Borregas creek his first night in the Mexican territory of Tejas.   The reconstructed 1930’s log cabin commonly known as the “Causey House” was open to tours and furnished with period objects.  This house was the scene for dulcimer and banjo music on the porch and even the location of a wild west shoot-out at the end of the weekend.  A special guest, Hazel Causey, age 91, was on hand to greet guests at noon on Saturday.

Milam Settlers Day 081

Visitors to Milam Settlers Day could stroll through nearly 100 vendor booths set up on two blocks of parkland with mule-drawn wagon rides and barrel train rides encircling the area periodically.  One could even fly over the festival in a helicopter as Performance Helicopters, LLC. was taking off and landing with passengers all weekend from the hillside just north of the park.   For the children, there was a petting zoo, pony rides, a mechanical bucking bull, face painting, the US Forsest Service exhibit with Smokey the Bear, and an inflatable jumping house in addition to cotton candy, caramel apples, and a myriad of delicious treats to eat.  Adults also enjoyed the large variety of food for sale and would have been able to attend the classic car exhibition located nearby at the Bethany Baptist Church along with a vintage quilt show which was a very popular attraction.   The historic C. A. Nethery General Merchandise store was also open for tours.  

There were contests of all kinds including gumbo and chili cook-offs, a dessert contest and auction, Milam’s Little Pioneer contest, and raffles of numerous grand prizes.  Winners of the gumbo cook-off were D. R. Boyett taking first place, with second going to the team of Karrie Jones & Andrea Oden, and Kelly Bolyard placing third.  Judges for this event were Brookshire Brothers #20 manager Jeremy Ells, Sabine County Judge Charles Watson, and Sabine County Treasurer Tricia Jacks.  Chili cook-off winners were Sandy Rose in first place and Tim Mitchell in second.  Winners of the dessert contest were in three categories with “Pies” going to Denise Richey, Donna Jones, and Susie Clark first, second, third respectively, “Cookies” first and second to Denise Richey and Sandy Rose, and “Cakes” won by Sheri Hudspeth followed by second Denise Richey and third Vickie Brucia.  Best of Show award went to Denise Richey for her Coconut Custard Pie.  The desserts were then auctioned off by Gene Nethery with the proceeds going to the Milam Settlers Day Organization.

The highlight of the contests was announced at noon with the crowning of Milam’s Little Pioneer 2010, Avrie J’Lynn Malone, 13 month-old daughter of Chase and Bristol Malone and granddaughter of Jeff and Deborah Arndt, Barry Easley, Todd and Angela “Jojo” Malone, and Jamey “Gee” and Candace Hendrix.  Runner-up was Amelia Grace Gay, 2 year-old daughter of Chad and Mareike Gay and granddaughter of Roger and Belinda Gay and Klaus and Waltraud Werner and sister to Myah Elise Gay.  Kaden Hill, Milam’s Little Pioneer of 2009 and daughter of Ralph and Samantha Hill, was on hand to bestow the crown.

All day long on Saturday, attendees could sit back under the shady pine trees and listen to emcee and returning home town boy, Raymond Mills as he introduced live musical performances, or the audience  could watch demonstrations of tomahawk throwing, hear early Texas History being told, and even enjoy trick roping or a musical comedy routine.  After starting the day with the National Anthem sung by the trio of Lisa McDaniel, Ronnie Greer, and Drew LeRond, opening ceremonies included local veterans organizations conducting a flag ceremony and pledge, Bro. Robert Shaddock of Bethany Baptist Church leading a prayer, and Judge Watson welcoming the crowd.  A recognition of the historical contribution of the Sexton Masonic Lodge to the area of Milam included a presentation of a plaque to members of the lodge.  Next, Weldon McDaniel, Sabine County Historian, outlined some the history of Milam and the surrounding area in a very interesting presentation.  Stage performers included the “Bevils Rangers” led by Gary Allen, “We Three Trio”, Grady Lee, chuck wagon cook and cowboy singer,  Burt Hairgrove trick roping, The McGraw Family Fiddlers, Lacey Johns, “The Pineywoods Pick’rs” duclimer folk/mountain music group, “Miss Betty” Gambrell, and Luke Hendrickson entertaining with country/gospel music as the headliner act. 

A huge crowd pleaser was the final act of the day in a Wild-West Shoot-out performed by the Sabinal Actors Guild with a cast that included Bradley Byley, James Beck, Robert Byley, Johnny Williams, Travis Benefield, Doug Huss, Brandon Retherford, Robert Byley Jr., Eddie Postell, Susan McCoy, and with a guest appearance by Marie Nelson who was also the Causey House Docent for Milam Settlers Day.  The shoot-out depicted some of the bad-old days when Milam was home to numerous saloons and had its share of lawlessness after it was no longer the county seat. 

The celebration ended with the much anticipated drawings for the grand prizes.  Winning the Polaris Trail Blazer 330 four-wheeler was Skipper Werth of Milam.   A Henry Golden Boy .22 Magnum rifle was awarded to Jeanie Cox also of Milam; a deluxe camping package was won by Bob Witherspoon of Geneva; a rustic patio cooler donated by Ritter at Home of Hemphill went to Iris Mitchell of Milam; and a guided fishing trip with professional fisherman Tommy Martin and two-night lake house stay in Frontier Bay was won by Amanda Davis of Pineland.   

A good time was had by all and weary shoppers, performers, vendors, and Milam Settlers Day volunteers left happy and already looking forward to next year’s event which, as always, will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving when the sleepy, old gone-away town of Milam, Texas roars back to life and the population swells back into the thousands as it once was in its heyday.  

 

Special thanks to Milam Settlers Day sponsors:

Boyett’s Nursery of Bronson

Nethery’s Antiques of Milam

First Bank & Trust East Texas of Hemphill

First State Bank of Hemphill

Ashley Furniture Home Store of Hemphill

And radio remote sponsors:  (location provided by East-Tex PC Repair of Milam)

First Bank & Trust East Texas of Hemphill

Sparks Grocery of Milam

Sandra’s Burgers of Milam

Anderson’s AC of Hemphill

Jean’s Construction of Hemphill

Hammock Furniture of Hemphill

Ritter at Home of Hemphill

M & M Insurance of Hemphill

Nethery’s Antiques of Milam

Hemphill Hearing Center of Hemphill

Shelby Savings Bank of Hemphill

Hemphill Care Center

 

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