Old fashioned Christmas: Parade, contests among fun

Published 4:46 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The weather could not have been better for the celebration of Washington Parish Pioneers in the Mile Branch Settlement on Saturday, Dec. 2, and Sunday, Dec. 3.

The Settlement, a village of 1800s-era log cabins found and brought to the site on the Washington Parish Fairgrounds, couldn’t have looked more beautiful in its natural Christmas finery. The event, which is called Pioneer Christmas, includes all kinds of throwbacks to the slower, simpler times, such as eating contests for the children and a sweet potato pie-baking contest for adults.

Justin Barber is the chairman of entertainment and activities.

“The Pioneer Christmas at Mile Branch Settlement takes place the first weekend in December each year,” he said. “The settlement is in full swing and is decorated for Christmas. We have cracklings, hot apple cider, hoop cheese, hot roasted peanuts, sassafras tea, and much more. This was a great year, the weather was perfect and the crowd was larger this year than in years past.

“We had some great entertainment this year. We really have some great local talent here. Thanks to all that came out to sing and play.

“We also had some contests for the first time this year, and that was a huge success. I was really surprised about the number of participants we had at each contest. We had a cotton candy eating contest and a sack race. The kids really enjoyed the first time ever Christmas cookie decorating contest at Pioneer Christmas And thanks to the adults who participated in the first ever teacake and sweet potato pie contest. We hope to make these annual contests.

“Pioneer Christmas also hosted the first ever Queens Day, where several queens from around the area came and spent the day with our fair queen, toured Mile Branch Settlement, and participated in the activities. We were glad to show them what we had to offer, in hopes that they will spread the word about our great fair and Mile Branch Settlement.”

Ruth Horne agreed.

“We had great weather, large crowds, and great entertainment,” she said. “The young people loved the activities such as sack races, and tea cake decorating, and the cotton candy eating contest. “The sweet potato pie contest was a great success. Everyone that attended had a great time.”

Horne also wanted to make sure the general raffle winners were announced.

The four winners of 25 pounds of sausage, which can be picked up at C and C Smoke House in Franklinton, are Angie Beaham, Sheri Smith, Phyllis Cothern and Connie McGinnis.

The winner of the handmade quilt, which can be picked up at Jackie’s in Franklinton, was Cecilia Ward. Ashley Young, who won the handmade knife, should call 735-1204 to arrange pick up.

Frances Pierce won the table, which can be picked up in Mile Branch Settlement. Brenda Strahan and Bridget Creel won a half wheel of cheese each. They should also call 735-1204 to arrange pick up.

The event started with a parade through Franklinton, which, in keeping with the theme, featured a number of people on horseback and in horse drawn wagons.

The first thing that greeted visitors to the Washington Parish Fairgrounds was somewhat of an update on the horses, in the form of an antique and classic car show. There was also a Christmas Celebration, where visitors could purchase everything from “pioneer” items to fresh, homemade jellies both days in the Commercial Building. Throughout the Settlement there were other items for sale as well.