Music, food and carnival rides were all part of Sulphur's Centennial Celebration on Saturday. (Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, March 17, 2014 12:47 PM
SULPHUR — There was something for everybody Saturday at Sulphur’s Centennial Celebration. Live bands rocked a stage in the middle of Heritage Square while surrounding vendor tents dished out fresh-made funnel cakes, popcorn, crepes and more.
One of the more intriguing parts of the celebration was bustling away from the microphones and dancing spectators. In the Back to Basics event, held in the Former Old Tyme Variety, residents were strolled through the past while learning about how much the city has changed over the last 100 years.
Laura Savoy spearheaded the effort behind the Back to Basics event. As she stood next to a table where some passers-by were learning about milling grains for homemade breads, Savoy said the idea was to show people just what it was like to be a local resident in the early 1900s.
“This is just to show people what life was like in 1914,” Savoy said. “All of these things set up here are practices people used to survive during those times.”
Tables were scattered throughout the room and covered a variety of topics. On one end of the room, people were able to learn about plants that could be used for both food and medicine. At another table, homemade baskets were displayed and sold, showing residents the Tupperware of yesteryear.
“Back then, they grew plants for everything from use as a food source to using those same plants for medicinal purposes. The roots of some of the plants could even be used for teas,” Savoy said. “Those baskets on that table are actually made of native materials.”
A table focused on knitting was beginning to draw a small crowd across the room as Savoy talked about the event. A representative from the booth sat in the middle of the onlookers, feeding locally harvested wool into an antique spinning wheel.
“They spin it, then they knit it,” Savoy said. “Back then, people didn’t have the familiar types of luxuries we have today. They did it the old-fashioned way.”
Other tables displayed things like unique oils, colloidal silver and all-natural honey. Savoy said she was more than happy with the turnout and she hoped the information would interest some of the younger visitors.
On the table next to Savoy were breads, fresh grains and a grain mill. Leslie Nelson was manning the station with her daughter, Rebekah. Using the all-natural approach to providing the ingredients for homemade flour is something Nelson has been practicing for a while. Allergies and dietary restrictions are dealt with daily in her household, and being able to create a healthy alternative to store bought-items is important, she said.
“One of the main questions people have asked me when they come to the table is what exactly the difference is between using fresh grains and using store-bought flour,” Nelson said. “The basic answer I give them is that the store-bought flour has to be re-enriched. Processed and bleached store-bought flour isn’t good for you.”
Nelson said that in her home, the family always has homemade bread and that the pancakes Rebekah eats for breakfast never have to come from premade mixes. For the people stopping by her table, the most popular question was about the taste. To help answer the question, Nelson had samples set up and ready to go. Butter was on a nearby paper plate, but it was just an extra flavoring option.
“Most of the reactions are positive. They’re usually impressed with how fresh it tastes,” Nelson said. “There are some people who don’t like it. But not everybody has to.”
Nelson joked about having to become good at baking her family’s breads in such a natural way. She said some of her early efforts resulted in “weapons” instead of food. The talent she has now must have been passed on to her young daughter because Rebekah was running the grain mill as her mother talked about some of the breads.
“I just like to help my mom when she makes it,” Rebekah said as she tussled with the machine. She slid a wooden square over the top of it as the ground-up grains flowed from the bottom. “It’s actually kind of easy.”
One end of the centennial celebration was filled with all of the familiar amusement rides found at any local fair. From the giant slides to a roller coaster that would rotate the riders upside down, kids could be seen dragging their parents from one line to the next.
Brandon Hall was taking a break from the action. Standing off to the side, he was holding a container of nachos from one of the vendors as his three kids, all under 10 years of age, had the times of their lives.
“We actually got here at noon. The kids have been having a great time,” Hall said.
His son picked at some of the nachos next to him as the fresh ink on his face continued to dry. “They all just got their faces painted,” Hall said as he watched his other daughter run back toward the rides. “He wanted to get Batman. That’s his favorite superhero. No question.”