Golly at the gourds!

Published 12:05 am Saturday, March 10, 2012

Glen Burkhalter, Mayor H.D. Edgar and Terri Camp.

The robins and martins are telling the news that spring will soon be here. But, along with the rain, the Heart of Dixie Gourd Patch’s second annual gourd art competition and show saw “Spring’s A-Coming” a little early on Sat., Feb. 18, in Opp.

Even though thunderstorms were in the forecast, gourd enthusiasts from all around came to see what the patch was doing, said Anita Ellis, club president.

“Patch members and visitors, alike, literally played in the rain to see who won the honors at this year’s competition,” Ellis said.

Loretta Piland and Terri Camp of Opp and Wanda Stump of Andalusia, welcomed visitors and offered information on joining about joining the local group, the Alabama Gourd Society and the American Gourd Society. Visitors were asked to sign a register, get a door prize ticket and take a people’s choice award ballot so they could vote on their favorite gourd entry. Unusual gifts were given away every 30 minutes during the show to a lucky door prize ticket holder.

“We were honored to have Glen Burkhalter of Huntsville, to travel south again this year to bring his twisted gourds and painted martin gourds for interested lookers and buyers to see,” Ellis said. “Several of us gathered around his trailer of gourds and were amazed at the selection. The strawberry gourds seemed to be popular. The martins will be pleased to know that I purchased twelve white painted birdhouse gourds for them to nest in. Gourd sales for all vendors seemed to be up this year in spite of the weather.”

Also attending from the Huntsville area were: Barbra Gilbert, Jim Burkett, Judy Burkett, and Neva Beasley, vice president of ALGS, and, from Cullman, Curtis West and Elizabeth West, president of the ALGS. All came down on Saturday. Jean Mann and Gloria Christian, from the Huntsville area, sent their gourd art entries to be in the competition. Patch officers entertained a group of gourd friends at a Dutch treat dinner at Barr’s Seafood Restaurant on Friday night.

Locally, Pete and Elouise Teel had a wagon full of snake gourds to sell. JoAnne Smith of Andalusia, Gerry Woodard of Enterprise, Terri Camp and Rhonda Boland of Opp, each had crafted gourds to show and marked to sell.

“I displayed a variety of gourds along with luffa/loofa gourds that I grew this past summer, and gourd crafting instructional books, some American Gourd Society Magazines, gourd literature and photo albums were also available for everyone to see,” she said.

Tables dressed with beautifully handcrafted gourds created a sense of awe and delight among the host of visitors that strolled through the rooms of the little white house.

Winners were:

• Best in Show: Gloria Christian of Huntsville, with her beautiful filigree carved gourd.

• People’s Choice: Terri Camp of Opp with her large Zentangle designed bowl of flowers.

Everyone said this year’s judges, Jo Kelley and Tina Shiver from Andalusia, did an awesome job of selecting the right entry for each ribbon.

“But, the limelight fell upon Doris Feathers from Andalusia,” Ellis said. “Her lucky $1 raffle ticket was drawn from a mix of hundreds to be the recipient of the grand prize-the raffle box – a handsome ornate box was filled with lots of different crafting tools and supplies worth well over $500.”

Ellis said the old barn echoed of laughter, as visitors enjoyed fellowship and the bounty of homemade refreshments made by members Mildred Ellis, Jo Ann Hattaway, Loraine Maher, all from Opp; Hilary Ellis of Enterprise, and Mary Pitts of Phenix City, that were served by Barbara Gantt of Gantt and Linda Gorum of Andalusia.

Attendants – Pitts and Camp, along with Julie Glick and Mickey Glisson from Andalusia – each displayed the best of Southern hospitality as each greeted the guests with a smile and shared inspirational tales of gourd lore. Even rain did not spoil the fun, Ellis said.

For more information about the club, email Ellis at aklellis@centurytel.net or visit “Heart of Dixie” Gourd Patch on FaceBook.