Young farmer waves to the crowd.
By Nick Nunn
By Nick Nunn staff writer he city of Bostwick could not have asked for a more pleasant day to hold their 24th Annual Cotton Gin Festival this past Saturday, Nov. 2. More visitors made their way to the little town at the north end of Morgan County on the first Saturday in November than ever had before, ready to take in a little sunshine and see some fluffy, white cotton.
Although Angie Howard, Bostwick city council member and head of the Cotton Gin Festival, admitted that it is always hard to measure exactly how many people attend the festival but stated that many people, who have been coming to the Cotton Gin Festival since its inception, said that this one has definitely the biggest. And there are numbers to back up their assertions; the 5K Gin Run drew in 218 runners this year, a record for the race.
The tractor parade, which is touted as the largest tractor parade in Georgia – if not the entire Southeast – allowed 220-plus tractor owners to show off their proudest possessions on Bostwick’s main street. In addition to having local tractors in the hour-long parade, there were also representatives from Anderson, SC, and Birmingham, Al. Sara Ann Speer of Bostwick served as this year’s Cotton Queen, and Dallas McCade from Kicks 101.5 was the Grand Marshall of the parade. Howard also said that there was a float in the parade, which honored local citizens who have served in government.
“They were all very honored,” said Howard of the group, which included Mack Bohlen, Herschel Speer, Troy Dobbs, and John and Earl Nunn. Howard said that there were 60 arts and crafts vendors as well as 10 food venders. “We had very good vendors this year: better vendors in that they had a wide variety of crafts,” said Howard. The city’s Cotton Gin Festival shirts sold out early on the morning of the festival, but Howard said a limited amount of additional shirts are being ordered and will be available for purchase at Bostwick City Hall.
Howard’s goal for the Cotton Gin Festival this year was to raise $15,000 for the Susie Agnes Hotel Fund, but her “best estimate” is that they will come in somewhere closer to $13,500. Next year’s festival will be the 25th Cotton Gin Festival, and Howard is planning on “definitely going all out” for the festival’s quarter-century mark. Preparations are already underway for next year’s festival, which Howard hopes will be a “very solid festival with no errors.”