Organizers prepare for Keenan Mill Festival
Brown, gold and burgundy leaves, cornucopias, pumpkins and turkeys, may be the things that come to mind when one thinks of November. One local group hopes to add “festival” to that list.
The Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society will hold its annual Kenan’s Mill Festival Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kenan’s Mill. Admission is $5 for ages 13 and up and free for children 12 and under.
Happening the first Saturday in November since 2001, the area’s tradition will this year offer new music venues and an hour more of music, beginning at 10 a.m. Selma folk singer and guitarist Nancy Ziccardi, among others, will make an appearance.
“We have the Angelic Harmonizers, a local gospel group, Highway 280 Band, Caleb Bryant (a fiddler),” said Kenan’s Mill chair Sylvia Smith. “We always had all bluegrass, and because this year in Alabama is called the ‘year of music,’ we’re trying to expand and, diversity is something the crowd likes.”
The area’s Boy Scouts will also put on a Catfish Fry from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Plates are $8 each and $10 for presale tickets, which include admission.
“We think people will like the Catfish Fry,” Smith said. “We’re hoping a lot will come out and enjoy the catfish and music.”
The event will also include children’s activities, demonstrations of corn meal and grits being ground by the 1860s gristmill, arts and crafts vendors, barbecue, hotdogs and Hoppin John (black-eyed peas and rice dish), and all-day wagon hayrides.
“We’re informal,” Smith said. “People can tour the mill, see the “beehive” kiln, and paranormal investigators will be stationed there (at mill) during festival day to let people know what they’ve found … it’s fun and it’s a beautiful place to be.”
Due to cold weather last year, Smith said, attendance was lower than usual — around 300. She expects this year to be a greater turnout.
“We have a new website and we’ve been getting a lot of response,” Smith said. “There are ways people can find out about this … we want to celebrate rural life and traditions … there’s so much history there; we’re hoping for a good time and a pretty day.”
Tickets for the fry can be purchased from any historic society member, the Boy Scouts and Truax & Co.