Melissa Woody reported the International Cowpea Festival and Cook-off is on schedule for Saturday, Sept. 14.
“Our expenses are a couple of thousand dollars more than last year and we have it paid for,” Woody said. “Every one of those sponsorship dollars are not just dollars. They are votes of confidence in this community. They are votes of confidence in what Charleston can offer people.”
Fifty-five craft and food vendors will be present for the event. Woody said her email and phone have been bombarded with those interested in participating. No more vendors will be added at this time. She explained anyone who did not make the deadline this year will have to be an early bird next year.
A couple of thousand people showed up for last year’s event.
“We are ready for 4,000 this year. We are ready to double our crowd,” Woody said. “Even if we fill up the park with stuff, next year we need to do what we are already doing better. It is not that we need to keep on adding and adding and adding.”
The Cowpea Festival will unofficially start at 10 a.m. with the Princess and the Cowpea Pageant. Mayor Walter Goode is set to welcome everyone at 12:25 before the music begins at 12:30.
The mayor, Commissioners Donna McDermott and Frankie McCartney and city personnel received wooden spoons which will allow them to judge the cook-off.
Kim Brown announced the Hiwassee Valley Antique Tractor and Engine Club will be hosting its annual family-focused event on Oct. 12 and 13 in the city park.
She said some members of the community have said the club did not pay for the use of the park last year.
“I think the discrepancy there is there was a car show in the park that was not paid for,” Goode explained. “So somebody has got that and thought we were talking about the tractor show. The tractor show has never been in doubt of whether you have paid or not.”
Parking and admission will be free this year for the event.
“We are just trying to get [families] back together like when they did use tractors,” Brown said. “... This park brings us back to the family values people have.”
Final plans are being made by the recreation board for Octoberfest.
Wilma Brown said the event will take place on Oct. 19 with, “bluegrass, barbecue and a car show.”
She encouraged anyone interested in being a food vendor to call either the city municipal building or the Hiwassee Heritage Center.
Both admission and parking will be free for the event. Brown explained the event will be taking the place of the annual Halloween block party. The board is also working on putting together a co-ed softball game for early November. Players will be alumni of the Charleston Elementary School ages 12 and up.
Goode announced the park construction has been momentarily delayed due to the Cowpea Festival. He said he would like to see a definite difference by the end of September.
The planning commission suggested the City Commission rezone the area between the Heneger House and the old Hiwassee Bank from commercial to residential, the exception being four small lots. The Commission will vote on the matter next meeting set for Tuesday, Oct. 8. The public is invited by the Commission to give its opinion on the suggested change.