A Community Tradition

Author Photo
By Leah

One of the things I love most about living in the county is the community.

My community extends farther than just my little 40 acres. In the years I have lived here, I have seen many lovely community events all around me.

Each year there is the annual Bruno Fire Department Fish Fry held to raise money for the volunteer fire department. People from all the surrounding area come for fried catfish, hush puppies, music, and fellowship.

The nearby community of Anderson Flat has a central location of the Old School House and Cemetery. People gather there throughout the year to celebrate the 4th of July with an old fashioned day of games, food and fireworks. They have an old fashioned Christmas celebration, and Decoration Day is held in May as a celebration to reunite family and friends and to honor and remember their loved ones who are buried there.

I go to church in a little community called St. Joe. And there I attended another community event just a couple of weekends ago.

It was the 14th Annual Free Gospel Music Fest held at Edna Lou’s Music Park, which is located right across the road from the church I attend. Edna Lou is a retired music teacher who loves music and seeks to promote music throughout the area.

Edna Lou and her husband always loved to go to music festivals and attended many throughtout the area. In 2003, Edna’s husband EG became ill and was unable to travel, so they decided to build their own music park in their back lot.

EG went to the local saw mill and he and their sons built a pavilion and fixed up a grill. The 2nd Saturday of August in 2004, they had their first Music Fest.

Edna Lou knew of a few local bands that would come, but she wondered if any of the community would show up. To her delight, not only did the community come, they brought their lawn chairs and musical instruments, and everyone enjoyed an evening of old fashioned gospel music and fellowship.

Edna Lou serves free food, but does have a basket for donations for the bands. She also pieces a quilt top and allows attendees to add a stitch to the quilt, then enter their names in a drawing for the quilt.

We went for the first time this year. I saw friends and neighbors from around the area I hadn’t seen in years due to our busy lives. I got to see and listen to my fifth and sixth grade teacher, Jimmy Joe Sasser, as he performed with several other musical friends.

I forgot my camera, so a dear friend I went to school with took the photos for me. And I met people who had traveled from all parts of the state and some from out of state to attend this little community festival.

Among the performers was Edna Lou herself with her group, “The Backwoods Pickers.” Edna Lou has taught herself to play five or six different musical instruments, and she is an accomplished singer as well.

One of the members is a young woman who went to school with my son. Amanda writes her own songs and has a beautiful voice.

There were three local bands this year: The Back Woods Pickers, Jimmy Joe Sasser and Friends, and the group Unashamed. But by the end of the evening, anyone with an instrument was joining in and the crowd was singing along to all the well known beloved hymns.

And that is what community is all about. Coming together to enjoy each other, good food, good music, and celebrate the place we live in.

Published on Aug 21, 2018