By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – It’s getting to be that time of year once again. The weather has taken a cool turn and the smell of drying peanuts is in the air. It may be hard to believe, but the annual Peanut Festival is just over a month away.

On Thursday, Oct. 12 the 72nd Annual Peanut Festival will kick off and the City of Grapeland will begin the process of welcoming thousands of visitors and former residents back to town for a weekend chock full of fun, food and frivolity.

This year’s theme is “Under the Sea” and the Grapeland Noon Lions Club is ramping up their planning for the yearly event.

“During the Peanut Festival, the Lions have three functions dealing with that event. We build a float for our Peanut Queen contestant (Madelynn Conner). We serve food at a food booth and we also have parking,” Lions Club President Mike Goolsby said. “The parking is done across from the City Park, next to the railroad tracks, and we charge $3 per car.”

“At the next meeting,” he continued, “I will pass around sign-up sheets so you can sign-up for either parking or the food booth. I will also pass around a sheet where you can sign-up for one of the workdays to help build the float.”

The food booth will begin setting up at around 8 a.m. and will tear down around 4 p.m., Goolsby said. Food items will include roasted corn, chicken skewers and tornado potatoes.

As the meeting continued, various ideas for a float theme were discussed but no decision was reached.

Prior to the Peanut Festival discussion, Goolsby announced the club had received a thank you note from the city of Grapeland’s Building and Standards Committee for the Lions’ assistance with the community wide clean-up conducted in August.

The Lions Club president also announced the John W. Pilkington “42” domino tournament sponsored by the Kennard Lions Club was coming up and he encouraged all those interested in participating to be at the Ratcliff Senior Citizens Center on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Registration for the “42” tournament begins at 9 a.m. and the first domino will hit the table at 10 a.m. The entry fee for the tournament is $12 and includes lunch.

Goolsby also announced the Lions would be also be conducting Spot Vision testing at the Grapeland Elementary School on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 9 a.m.

Lions Club member Eddie Childress said he would like to have at least six club members to assist with the testing.

According to the makers of the device, the Welch-Allyn company, Spot Vision screening involves using “… a handheld, portable device designed to help users quickly and easily detect vision issues on patients from 6 months of age through adult. Spot screens both eyes at once from a nonthreatening 3-foot distance. The touch-screen display allows for one-touch activation, simple management of patient data entry, and easy configuration for both vision screening and auto-refraction applications.”

Last year the Lions screened 75 Grapeland Elementary students.

Childress also mentioned the Crockett Early Childhood Center had requested the Grapeland Club to provide screening at their campus on Thursday, Sept. 14. The Crockett Lions Club will assist in the screening process, Childress said. Members are requested to be at the ECC by 8:30 a.m.

In other matters addressed during the Thursday meeting:

  • Members were reminded of the trash pick-up on Saturday morning, Sept. 9 at 8 a.m.
  • Lions Velda Parker and Harry Pridgen were presented with awards for signing up new members to the club.

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