HOUSTON – The 38th Annual Spring Flywheel Festival will include time-honored favorites, as well as a litany of new activities and demonstrations, all geared toward a full day of family fun.

Bluegrass music, primitive weaponry demonstrations and old-time cooking are a few of the new offerings slated for the festival on April 27.

“We’re excited to grow the events at the festival and we’re trying to make it an annual destination event,” said Sean Johnson, executive director of the Chickasaw Development Foundation.

Bluegrass picking will start in late morning and last throughout the afternoon. The Highway 36 Bluegrass Band and Mountain Connection, both from Arkansas, will be among the festival’s featured acts, along with The Good Times Express from Calhoun City. Area pickers are also invited to drop in and play their own impromptu, shade tree sessions.

The festival’s first-ever domino tournament, to be held in the air-conditioned civic center, is creating a lot of buzz as well, Johnson said. Folks can register by calling Billy Taylor at 456-6670

Adventurous souls can learn to throw an atlatl at the Flywheel Festival. An atlatl is a primitive spear apparatus. Members of the North Mississippi Atlatl Association will also demonstrate flint-knapping and tomahawk-throwing, and men in Civil war costumes will load muskets.

An homage to contributions of women throughout history will be another new attraction at the Flywheel Festival.

“Inspiring the Next Generation – Exceptional Women of Mississippi,” is an exhibit by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and festival planners anticipate a lot of interest.

“It features women who’ve made a difference in the politics, industry and culture of Mississippi, and will include exceptional women in Chickasaw County,” Johnson said.

Other attractions will include Flywheelers doing old-fashioned things such as rending lard, making soap and making fresh cracklin’s and meat skins (fresh pork rinds) behind the civic center. They’ll also setup a blacksmithing demonstration.

Also returning are the tractor pull and anvil shoots, both happening at approximately noon. The kids’ area will have inflatables, a pony carousel and a petting zoo. Cruizin’ Houston will also have dozens of cars on display in the Houston High School parking lot.

“All the gubernatorial candidates have been invited, and we know that many of the local candidates will be attending,” Johnson said. “If we can get enough of them, they may get to stump on the stage.”

Booth sales and food vendors, including lots of barbecue, will have a strong presence this year, according to Johnson.

“We’ve got more vendors this year than we’ve had in years – over 60 at last count,” Johnson said. “They’re coming from Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and from all over Mississippi.”

Churches and other benevolent souls will be giving out free water and snacks to help festival-goers keep up their energy, Johnson said.

Antiques, antique pocket knives, jewelry, yard art and yard accessories, as well as clothing, candles, gifts, memorabilia and even plants from a nursery, will be among the goodies for sale.

Those wishing to register for the market, or with other questions, may visit Houston’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/houstontrailandtrace.

“As long as the weather cooperates, I think we’ll be looking at a great festival this year,” Johnson said.

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