Saturday, July 5, 2008

Clyde City Picnic

The City of Clyde TX held a 5th of July picnic at the Clyde Lake City Park. The day began with a bass fishing tournament. The winners were anounced about 1pm. The biggest bass caught was 7.875 lbs. The next biggest died before weigh in even though they tried to revive it. The rest were released back into the lake for another fisherman's dream catch.

The cookoff started with judging desserts, then beans, chicken, ribs and brisket, in that order. The food all had to be cooked on grills or smokers. We walked through the campground to see the cook teams setups. Many were almost outdoor kitchens. The man who won first in the dessert competition had an oven in his smoker grill. He cooked a cobbler as the first thing he had ever cooked. His cobbler was gone before we had a chance at trying any but another team gave us a serving of their peach cobbler with gingerbread topping. They also had a blueberry pie they had cooked. The picnic organizer said that next year another catagory of cooking would be added to the cookoff, All Other. People cook salsas, veggies and many other things on a grill so this will be their catagory.

There were about 12 servings of chicken that I tasted, cleansing the palate with dill pickle slices and drinking water between the servings. Since the servings were identified only by numbers I have no idea how my judging contributed to selecting the winners. R's rib-tasting was handled the same way. We stayed around until the points were all tallied & watched the first, second and third place winners receive their plaques and checks.

The wind blew and kept us cooler when we were in the shade but after being out for more than 5 hours, we were ready to head for home. The music was still playing, different bands every two hours, and other events were going on. The fireworks would start about 10pm but we were tired and wanting to put our feet us & have some peace & quiet. Photos found at:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fort Griffin Fandangle, Albany Texas

Every year the last two weeks in June sees Albany decked out as Frontier Texas. Their celebration of the history and settlement of this area of TX is boisterous and colorful. The prairie is filled with music, gunshots and the jingle of horse bridles. There are many events and shows that happen, but I will only tell about the ones we attended. You can learn more about the Fandangle at this website:

We started the fun on Friday afternoon with an organ concert at the Matthews Memorial Presbyterian Church. The church was founded in 1880 and the present stone structure was erected in 1898. The church was remodeled in 1954 and the present organ was installed. The organ was given in memory or Caroline Spears Matthews, by her children. The pipe organ was built by Otto Hoffmann of Austin TX and used some parts from a 1910 organ. This was the first modern tracker organ in the US to be permanently installed in a contemporary case. We heard Sandy Abel play a wonderful mix of classical, patriotic and religious music. Although we felt the concert was over too soon, the audience was invited to get a closer look at the organ and ask questions of Ms Abel. She gave us information such as the organ keys were ivory overlaid with wood.

We then visited the Shackelford County Courthouse where we admired the great woodwork that was restored recently. Then on to the Courthouse grounds to see the history reenactment of an officer’s camp. On display were many articles from a typical camp site, Including two plaques. These were made in China of compressed tea leaves. One for green tea and one for black tea. The wealthy people of the nineteenth century often had these plaques displayed on their walls as artwork. The poorer people could only afford a tiny corner of a plaque to use to make a cup of tea. Also on the Courthouse grounds were some actors ready for a showdown and gunfight. We made a brief stop by the pen where a longhorn was a very disinterested observer.

In a small city park, we saw the old Ledbetter Picket House built near Ft Griffin in the 1870’s. In the dog trot area was a quilt frame with a quilt in progress on it. Behind the house were kettles from the 1860’s Ledbetter Salt Works, a major supplier of salt to the Confederacy. Also in that park is the Georgia Memorial, a beautiful fountain built in 1976 to honor the Georgia Battalion who joined Texas troops at Goliad in March 1836. Eighty three Georgia Volunteers died during that battle. Also in the park is an artwork of Three Avacodos.

Around 8 pm we went to the Prairie Theater to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Fort Griffin Fandangle. This show was first produced by high school students at their football stadium. The city of Albany adopted the show as a theme for the city and began to produce it with all ages in the cast. On this anniversary year two men who were in the original productions participated once again. The show begins with a beautiful flag parade of galloping horses crossing the huge grassy stage. The horses weave in and out at what seemed to me breakneck speed without every colliding or stumbling. Graceful women riding sidesaddle joined the male flag bearers. The narrators are the only spoken voices during the show. The music & dancing is very good. For a small town, Albany has produced many excellent voices. The show is long (about 2 hours) but there are very few slow moments. It carries you along on the magic carpet of music, laughter and pure enjoyment.

Photos are at: