By Josette Keelor
The 12th Annual Redbud Festival this Saturday will combine several successful events the community of Browntown has come to expect each year.
A flower and plant sale with redbud seedlings and heirloom apple trees, a silent auction with donated items like an American Girl doll and a propane smoker, craft demonstrations by area artists and live music will take place throughout the day, with the always popular duck race at noon, the fifth annual antique car show and tricks by Steve Foster's mule Amazing Grace, featured in the 2009 movie "Get Low" with actor Robert Duvall.
Children's activities will entertain the little ones, nearly 50 vendors will be available outside and in Browntown Baptist Church, and a photo contest will award the first of 13 winners $100 and featured placement on the cover of the town's 2015 calendar, said Browntown Community Center Treasurer Jackie Hodgkiss.
"We have about 50, 60 photos and it's voted on," she said. The calendars should be ready for distribution in September.
The eighth annual Gooney Creek Duck Race is the festival's biggest attraction, according to festival Chairman Martha Buracker, who said participants and viewers can expect about 300 plastic ducks to fight their way around obstacles toward waiting children downstream.
"They're our little duck catchers," she said. "Kids love it."
Ducks can be purchased for $5 until about five minutes to noon, when the race will begin. First, second and third place winners will win $100, $50 and $25 respectively.
Live entertainment from 10:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. will include Roger Tomhave and Friends, the Hull family, Charlee Allman, and musical duo Gay Snell and Bill Dykes.
The silent auction will end at 3:30 p.m. when prizes will be announced, and Buracker said the Browntown Museum will be open free that day, on the only day of the year it's open.
Part of the community center, the museum includes "all kinds of different artifacts from Browntown's history," she said. "It's worth going in and seeing."
"It's a nice little small town festival," Buracker said. "It's a good place to bring your family."
But it has a greater purpose too. Money raised from the silent auction and duck race goes back into the community center, and Hodgkiss said it also helps the community.
"A lot of people in Browntown, they're not well off," she said, "... and we've been helping a couple of them that's had very high medical bills."
"That's [why] we're here is to help the community," she said. "That's what we do, we try to help out as much as possible."
The Redbud Festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Browntown. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call 540-635-3736.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org