French Camp

By Sylvia Dickson

Think October: fall settling on the air…temperatures dropping…leaves turning gold, red, yellow and orange…marshmallow roasting and storytelling by the campfire…and French Camp Harvest Festival.

Every year, for more than 60 years, French Camp, has hosted Harvest Festival and the Grand Auction on the second Saturday of October. This year, that date is October 13.

As you approach the Cain-Patterson Gymnasium where activities kick off around 9:30 a.m., you can smell food cooking on the grill and voices of eager shoppers who have arrived early to get a close up view of the auction items. Folks stop to visit while shopping for homemade items in the Country Store: bread, jams, and preserves, sugar cane, and handcrafted items.

The auction bidding is fast and furious as one after another joins the fun. You stand in awe as each item finds a new home, whether it’s a bushel of peanuts, a handcrafted porch swing, or a pieced quilt. All proceeds go to the organizations represented in the French Camp Community Club.

At noon, everyone takes a break for the fabulous dinner-on-the- grounds. You stand in one of the lines and heap your plate full of food. There is plenty to go around, supplied by French Camp Academy, club members and guests. You could have brought your favorite dish to add to the bounty; instead, you make a donation in one of the boxes on the tables.

Activities in the Natchez Trace Historic District are in full swing, so you hop on the shuttle for a short ride from the gym. You saunter through the District, browsing in the Log Cabin Gift Shop and Double Blessings Thrift Shop, touring the restored cabins, homes and museum.

Families watch as delighted children perch atop horses for rides, Everyone you see is enjoying something: musicians playing, craft demonstrators working, and old-fashioned sorghum syrup making. The Council House Café is serving up box lunches for those who missed the dinner-on-the-grounds—or just got hungry again.

Harvest Festival has grown from a local event to a gathering time for friends and families from across the United States and beyond. You are bound to see someone you know—if not this year, next.

Become part of this tradition by joining with the many that will gather for French Camp Harvest Festival the second Saturday in October. Call (662) 547-6482 or visit the website www.frenchcamp.org for more information on the French Camp Harvest Festival, Saturday, October 13th, 2012.