By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Noon Lions Club is beginning to prepare for its busiest time of the year as the plans for the 71st Annual Peanut Festival are beginning to take shape.

As the meeting got underway, Lions Club President Ben Childress commented, “A few weeks ago, the Grapeland Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) had a plan for a community grant and we (the Lions) had an application. I looked over it, and had mentioned it once before, but thanks to GEDC Board President C.L. McGill and the rest of the board, they have decided to help cover some of the expenses we have incurred with the city.”

GEDC VP Brandon Bridges spoke next and requested Lions’ Club Treasurer Velda Parker to join him at the front of the room. “On behalf of the GEDC, we would like to present the Lions Club with a check for $1,500 as part of the Community Development Block Grant Program for reimbursement of expenses for different projects throughout the city,” he said.

As the meeting continued, discussions about the possible purchase of a water fountain for the Grapeland Senior Center, striping the streets and a 42 tournament were held.

Lion Eddie Childress also provided the club with an update of the recently held Spot Vision screening conducted by club members at the Grapeland Elementary School. “We had 75 kids we scanned Monday morning and we had two who ‘red-lined.’ When they red-line that means they need to go see the eye doctor fairly soon. The earlier they can get to an optometrist the better off they are.”

Following the Spot Vision update, Parker was asked to return to the front of the roobrandon-bridges-and-velda-parkerm. “This is the 100th year of Lions Club International. This is the first pin I have ever seen like this. If you get a new member enrolled you receive one of these. Thank you Velda, we appreciate you and thank you for getting us a new member,” President Childress said.

The next matter addressed concerned the Peanut Festival. “At the last meeting we tabled having a float. Since then, however, we have had a girl who has applied and that’s Elizabeth Thorpe. If you remember correctly, a few years back we sponsored her sister. I talked to Eddie (Childress) and he said go with it so Elizabeth is our contestant. Eddie is in charge of the float,” the president said.

  1. Childress said he was still working on the float design but said he was hoping to construct a ’69 VW bus in sticking with this year’s theme of “Peace, Love and Peanuts.”

On the food booths, Lion Mike Goolsby said the prices on the corn and potatoes appeared to be dropping and added the cooker being built by the Grapeland FFA was still underway.

Tim Howard provided an update on the parking for the Saturday event. “We are only going to have the one entrance. We will not have the two entrances like we did last year. We will not have barricades or any of that stuff this year. It will be that one entrance only and we will send them to the left or the right,” Howard said.

Another event added to a busy weekend for the Grapeland Noon Lions Club in recent years has been the Nucor Employee Picnic. The picnic is held the next day at the Grapeland City Park in order to allow the employees of the steel giant to take advantage of the carnival while, it is still in town. The Lions have been asked for their assistance in preparing the food the last few years.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.